The Southern Mount Kenya forest since independence: A social analysis of resource competition

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10 Scopus citations


Large forest reserves represent a long-standing state response to tropical forest destruction. There are, however, growing doubts about their effectiveness as sustainable resource management regimes. This case study uses a social and historical perspective to examine conflicts about the use and management of the Mount Kenya Reserve in Kirinyaga District, Kenya since independence in 1963. Official policies and practices have treated local households and small-scale forest enterprises as the most serious threat to the reserve. In contrast, the paper argues that forest degradation has long been associated with official mismanagement and government-sanctioned development activities. In addition, it suggests that planned and spontaneous conversion of woodlands accelerated in the mid-1980s largely because of the implementation of government plans to establish extensive forest plantations. The paper also discusses proposals by the local and national government to convert forest reserves into tea revenue farms.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1695-1704
Number of pages10
JournalWorld Development
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 1991

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Development
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Economics and Econometrics


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