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International Journal of Forestry Research
Volume 2016, Article ID 4537354, 10 pages
Research Article

Role of Forest Resources to Local Livelihoods: The Case of East Mau Forest Ecosystem, Kenya

1Kenya Forestry Research Institute, P.O. Box 5199, Kisumu 40108, Kenya
2Department of Natural Resources, Egerton University, P.O. Box 536, Njoro 20115, Kenya
3Kenya Forestry Research Institute, P.O. Box 20412, Nairobi 00200, Kenya

Received 11 November 2015; Accepted 3 February 2016

Academic Editor: Piermaria Corona

Copyright © 2016 D. K. Langat et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Forests in Kenya are threatened by unsustainable uses and conversion to alternative land uses. In spite of the consequences of forest degradation and biodiversity loss and reliance of communities on forests livelihoods, there is little empirical data on the role of forest resources in livelihoods of the local communities. Socioeconomic, demographic, and forest use data were obtained by interviewing 367 households. Forest product market survey was undertaken to determine prices of various forest products for valuation of forest use. Forest income was significant to households contributing 33% of total household income. Fuel wood contributed 50%, food (27%), construction material (18%), and fodder, and thatching material 5% to household forest income. Absolute forest income and relative forest income (%) were not significantly different across study locations and between ethnic groups. However, absolute forest income and relative forest income (%) were significantly different among wealth classes. Poor households were more dependent on forests resources. However, in absolute terms, the rich households derived higher forest income. These results provide valuable information on the role of forest resources to livelihoods and could be applied in developing forest conservation policies for enhanced ecosystem services and livelihoods.