The Contribution of Forest Products to Dryland Household Economy: The case of Kiang’ombe hill forest, Kenya

Grace Wambui Ngugi, Leonard E. Newton, A. Muthama Muasya


An integrated approach of participatory rural appraisal (PRA), participatory environmental valuation (PEV), household survey, group discussions and forest walks with knowledgeable people was used in an ethnobotanical survey of Kiang’ombe hill forest in Mbeere District of Kenya. Ten forest uses were identified with the highest dependence being in the supply of building materials and medicine, the latter having the highest average annual household value of KSh. 2953 (US$47). The average annual household forest value was calculated at KSh. 16,175.6 (US$256.80), accounting for 55.4% of household income. Use of PEV in Kiang’ombe, where there were no formal records of forest use, was important in assigning monetary value to biodiversity elements essential for survival that were assumed to be free for the taking. The assigned monetary value gives weight to otherwise non-monetary values recognized by local communities but ignored because they do not enter formal markets. PEV is one of the recommended methods for estimation of forest resources’ value in a non-cash economy.

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Ethnobotany Research and Applications (ISSN 1547-3465) is published online by the Department of Ethnobotany, Institute of Botany, Ilia State University.
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