Environmental conservation in Kenya is key to its development. While enforcing conservation is challenging due to population pressures, raising public awareness of environmental issues could also raise support for such measures.
As smallholder farmers seek arable land, they encroach on Kenya’s indigenous forests. Because of Kenya’s richness in non-timber forest products such as medicinal plants, essential oils and beeswax, the destruction of its forests harms both its wildlife and its economy. Conserving the forests is pivotal to protecting both Kenya’s resources and its 50 endangered species.
The beautiful mangrove forests and coral reefs that line Kenya’s Indian Ocean border are also a substantial form of revenue for the country, providing both ecotourism destinations and ecosystem services.
Communities Work Together for Sustainable Conservation
To further promote the ecological perspective of Kenya’s government, the Nature Conservancy and the Northern Rangelands Trust have collaborated to develop community conservancies in the northern semi-arid grasslands. These conservancies cover three million hectares, within which over 200,000 people from 17 different ethnic tribes reside. They strive to help Kenyan communities engage in environmental conservation.
The conservancies protect communal land for livestock and wildlife, teach grazing management techniques and provide opportunities for alternative income sources such as tourist lodges and campsites. The Northern Rangelands Trust also helps connect pastoralists to their markets, helping them access fair prices for their sustainably raised livestock.
Environmental conservation in Kenya greatly benefits its economic and social development. Sustainable development can help Kenya achieve the Kenya Vision for 2030, transforming the country into a clean, secure, middle-income nation.