Suter C. C, Cheserek Grace, Kiptui Mark
Abstract: There are a number of serious conservation problems associated with the Cherangany forest degradation due to human settlements. The communities are highly dependent on the natural resources available within their vicinity and thus cause the greatest sustained forest disturbance. The purpose of this study was to analyze the drivers of forest degradation. This study adopted a descriptive survey research design and the sampling frame comprised of respondents drawn from household heads living adjacent to the forest, members of Community Based Organizations (CBOs), community forest associations (CFA), and Kenya Forest Service (KFS) personnel in the area. The study area was divided into three strata, Kapcherop, Embobut and Cheptongei. In order to ensure that representative samples were derived from each stratum, the 282 households were obtained by simple random sampling technique as per the population of each strata. The instruments used for collection of data were questionnaires interview schedules and focus group discussions. The study used frequencies and percentages to analyze quantitative data while qualitative data were data summarized and interpreted in line with the research objectives. Results were presented in form of figures and tables. The study found out that majority of the respondents were not employed and therefore depended on activities such as logging, charcoal burning, crop production and livestock rearing which have a negative effect on forest degradation. The study recommended that there is need for conservation of Cherangany forest through re-afforestation in places were agricultural activities such as crop production has taken place. This will increase the forest cover and thus reduce the socio-economic impacts associated with forest degradation. The research findings could influence policy makers and development agencies in the conservation of water catchment areas and will generate vital information on the socio-economic impact of the degradation of the forest on the household income.
Keywords: Drivers, Forest, Degradation