Kinale Forest Conservation Volunteers (KIFOKOV) was formed in 2004, uniting 10 community groups from the entire Kinale area. We are local residents and active members in all activities of KIFOKOV.
Our objectives are:
- To raise community awareness on the value and importance of the local forests, animals, birds and other natural resources through environmental education and campaign awareness
- To promote and initiate environment friendly income generating activities that link community survival to biodiversity conservation
- To supplement government conservation efforts through policing and monitoring forest activities
Massive destruction has taken place at the Kinale block of the Kikuyu Escarpment Forests threatening its very existence. The importance of indigenous forests to the community living adjacent to them is immense. They provide sources of water, contain an abundance of medicinal plants, essential fuel wood, grazing grounds, wild fruits, and places for traditional practices among other uses. These forests, as part of the Aberdare ecosystem, make-up a vital water catchment area for the country probably second only to Mt Kenya. It is through the realization of the role played by the forest and the threats facing Kinale forests that KIFOKOV started rehabilitation work.
Kikuyu Escarpment Forest Reserves are found in Central Kenya about 38-km northwest of Nairobi. The forests are historically known to be of rich biodiversity with species of international significance both in flora and fauna. The forests are designated as Important Bird Areas and listed by Nature Kenya in the highest priority (‘critical’) for conservation. The forest is also designated as of global significance for birds’ conservation (BirdLife International, Nature Kenya 2000). It hosts spectacular bird life among them the globally threatened Abbott’s starling.
Other threatened or endemic wildlife also occurs. Three near-endemic butterflies are found namely Charaxes nandina, Neptis kikuyuensis and N. katama. The forest contains a rich biodiversity of plant species typical of sub-montane central Kenyan forests, but little is known about other biodiversity values of the forest. Over 50 species of the plants from the forest are important for medicinal purposes.
Though being an important conservation site, the forests face major conservation crisis as a result of unsustainable human uses. Poverty and low level of conservation awareness among the local residents are some of the major factors contributing to the forest degradation. Therefore, in our efforts to conserve the flora and fauna we are addressing the vital element of providing means of empowering the residents to increase their income through sustainable methods.
For example, currently in partnership with our Kinale Forester and government agencies, the local communities prune Cypress and Pine trees, thus providing a service to the government of ensuring optimum growth of plantation forests. In return, the people are given the resulting branches which they use as fuel wood and the surplus sold for income. Selling the wood from a days pruning has resulted in more cash in their pockets than an average days salary. It is important to recognize that a poor community is unlikely to be concerned with a habitat or a species however important it is.
We are currently involved in 10 initiatives, namely to:
- Educate and support participation of the local community in conservation issues
- Establish and maintain an indigenous tree nursery
- Establish and maintain an Agro-forestry nursery
- Rehabilitate degraded areas in Kinale region with indigenous tree seedlings
- Provide training to local farmers and other stakeholders on tree planting and nursery management
- Promote on-farm planting of agro-forestry tree species
- Conduct patrols in conjunction with forest rangers to apprehend and discourage illegal felling of trees
- Conduct patrols in conjunction with forest rangers to apprehend and eliminate illegal charcoal production in the forests
- Conduct bee-keeping activities within the forest area as an income generating activity for the community
- Use plantation and indigenous trees in a sustainable manner as an income generating activity to reduce poverty among the local community.
Please contact us for more details on what we do, we’d love to hear from you. If you’re interested in donating, any amount would be appreciated and 100 percent of it will go directly to conservation and community development. We will provide a report in how your monies were used.
If you’re staying with us at Kinale House we will be happy to organize a complimentary tour to our nurseries and sites that we have rehabilitated in conjunction with the local community. Join us in conserving Africa's natural heritage.