Forest ecosystems are important for ecological and socio-economic wellbeing, particularly for diversification of the livelihoods of adjacent communities. The forest management approach applied in an ecosystem influences availability, access and utilisation of forest products, and community participation in conservation. This study examined the effect of forest management approach on households’ economy and participation in forest management. A random sample of 202 households adjacent to Aberdare forest ecosystem was selected for characterisation and interviews using semi-structured questionnaires. Data collected were analysed using Chi-square test, Spearman’s rho correlation and multinomial logistic regression. Although the benefits varied with management approach, the majority of the households indicated the forest was beneficial as only 6% reported no benefits. There was a significant association between forest management approach and households’ sources of food (χ² = 27.704, p < 0.001), socio-economic status (χ² = 20.194, p < 0.001) importance of forest (χ² = 11.863, p < 0.001), forest dependence (χ² = 53.580, p < 0.001) and participation in forest management (χ² = 17.551, p < 0.001) at α = 0.05. The factors that significantly influenced the regression model included households’ dependence on the forest, socio-economic status and participation in forest management where R2 was 0.797. These findings depicted that when ecosystems made no substantial contributions to livelihoods, their value and the level of community participation in conservation was lower.
Key words: Conservation management approach, economic importance, forest dependence, household economy, participatory forest management, protection management approach.
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