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Evoking an integrated community environmental education heuristic for the sustainable management of nandi hills forests

Author: 
Julius Gordon Tanui and Paul Webb
Subject Area: 
Social Sciences and Humanities
Abstract: 

The involvement of the community in sustainable forest management needs to be anchored on sound knowledge and vast understanding of forests, forest resources and their sustainable exploitation mechanisms. Humans encroachment into the Nandi Hills Forests, compounded by urban expansion, unsustainable timber harvesting and agricultural practices have over the years threatened to annihilate this catchment area. The study was undertaken in three districts; Nandi South, Nandi Hills and Nandi North Districts. A mixed methodological approach was used in this study, where concurrent triangulation and nested/embedded designs prevailed. The study reveals that environmental education has been institutionalized in the Nandi County and is yielding sustainable forest management. However, some institutional and capacity gaps do exist. Government agencies, international organizations and community-based organizations have been profiled as the predominant institutions that are involved in building the capacities of the locals through environmental education and forest conservation. Change detection, undertaken by way of GIS and remote sensing, has corroborated the perceptions and undertakings of the locals and institutions on forest management; exemplified by the level of awareness on the state of forest cover, and the ensuing consequences. The study proposes a heuristic for community environmental education centered on institutional arrangements, policy frameworks, formal and informal education approaches, GIS and remote sensing. Integrated community environmental education, epitomized in the heuristic, could be a robust tool for sustainable forest management once it is rolled out.

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