Household Energy Demand and its Challenges for Forest Management in the Kakamega Area, Western Kenya

Stefan Kiefer, Rainer W Bussmann


The presented study investigated the energy demand of a sample of 201 households adjacent to Kakamega Forest. The aim of the study focused on the evaluation of possible threats to the forest under the scenario that the local population continues to heavily use Kakamega Forest, disregarding the restrictions posed by national law. The data collected serves as a base for an estimate of the potential demand on forest resources and as a resource for developing management strategies. Sooner or later the demand for energy and plant material by an ever increasing population needs to be satisfied, and the only easily available resource is Kakamega Forest, in particular in an environment without industrial and commercial benefits.

This study showed that the demand for energy is still very high, and that legal restrictions do not protect forests from over-use and destruction. The current restrictions prevent the population from understanding the need to protect the forest. This results in disinterest in protection efforts, even though there is high interest and efforts in protection of common goods. The early awareness of these conditions could protect natural forests from being destroyed, and help to sustainably manage them.

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