To conserve or not to conserve: a case study of forest valuation in Kenya

Fri, 07/16/2010 - 21:07

Tindiret natural forest is one of the scattered forests which form the extensive Mau forest complex in Kenya. It is an important hydrological system for Lake Victoria. To provide strong arguments for more government investment in indigenous forest conservation, quality information and data on forest values need to be available for decision makers. There is, however, little information on economic values of most forests in Kenya. This study was aimed at estimating the total economic value of Tindiret forest. To estimate direct use values by the communities adjacent to the forest, household surveys were conducted with 109 households sampled from three villages within 5 km of the forest. Further information was obtained from discussions with key informants. The methods employed were market-based valuation techniques, market valuation of physical effects (MVPE) and use of secondary data and benefit transfer approach. The study established that the annual direct use value by local forest-adjacent households was approximately Kshs45 mil. The non-use values were estimated at Kshs113 mil per year and the opportunity cost of conserving the Tindiret natural forest was estimated at Kshs237 mil. Current benefits from Tindiret forest are inadequate to offset the opportunity cost of leaving the forest in its present state. The government and the local communities are subsidising the retention of the forest and this subsidy was estimated at Kshs78.5 mil per year through lost opportunity in agricultural settlement and income.

Responsible party
Kenya Forestry Research Institute
Attachment Size
conserve.pdf 250.15 KB