Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Legacy Department

Parks, Recreation, and Tourism Management

Committee Chair/Advisor

Elizabeth Baldwin

Committee Member

Kenneth Backman

Committee Member

Brett Wright

Committee Member

Robert Baldwin


Community managed forests constitute a significant proportion of the world's forests, however, little is known regarding their condition or the details of how they are managed. Documented benefits of community managed forest include poverty alleviation and in some places a decrease in the rate of deforestation. Although some community based forests do not satisfy the IUCN definition of a protected areas, they provide valuable long term sustainability of forest products and many are also rich in biodiversity and support landscape conservation strategies. Forests are also home to many cultures including the indigenous people. Indigenous communities surrounding forest areas and other protected areas have developed patterns of resource use and management that reflect their intimate knowledge of local environments and ecosystems. However, indigenous knowledge is rarely documented or incorporated into science based or government run conservation planning. It is therefore the aim of this research to examine the contribution of indigenous ecological knowledge in the conservation of Enguserosambu Community Forest and surrounding rangelands. Specifically, the research aimed to; understand social mechanisms supporting indigenous ecological knowledge generation, accumulation and transmission, to examine the role of local indigenous institutions in supporting conservation of Enguserosambu Community Forest, and to assess if time-series aerial imagery support historical forest management practices shared as oral histories about land-use change by the communities. Case study design was used to explore the phenomenon in detail. Purposeful sampling was used to recruit research participants that could provide information rich in detail about indigenous forest management practices in the study area. Four villages were surveyed. Individual and group semi-structured interviews were conducted with customary elders, village leaders, forest user groups, NGO's, and forest officers. One focus group discussion was conducted with a community conservation trust. A total of 57 individuals were interviewed, of which 19 were females. Interviews session lasted between 30 minutes and 2 hours. Most of the interviews were audio recorded. Interviews were conducted in either Swahili or Maa language. In case of the latter, translator was used during the interview process. Field noted were also recorded each time the researcher visited the villages. Thematic analysis was carried out for qualitative information using NVivo 10. To compare oral history with land cover change, satellite images with 30m spatial resolution were acquired from Landsat 7 and 8 for land cover change analysis. Satellite Imagery from February 2000 and February 2015 were selected for analysis. ArcGIS 10.2 was used to analyze satellite images for forest cover change.



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