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The impact of “history of play” on rural communities’ participation in forest management: a field study in the Kakamega rainforest, Kenya

By Eric Röhss


The declining of forest covers is increasing over the years and is as high as 1%/year in eastern Africa and some forests like the Kakamega rainforest, Kenya, have lost most of its covers. Therefore many nations have adopted the participatory forest management (PFM) system. The implementation of this system varies between and within the nations and many factors can influence the implementation. This field study investigates the effect of history of play on the participation of the local communities surrounding the forests. Elinor Ostorms’ experiments on the effects of history of play on cooperation were used as basis for the field work. The study may also spread some light to the disagreement on how social capital is created. The fieldwork was done in 4 community based organizations (CBO) next to the Kakamega rainforest, Kenya. Material was collected from the Kenyan national bureau of statistics and interviews of experts from the CBOs, communities and the local university. To study the effects of history of play, 2 CBOs were chosen for comparison due to difference in level of participation but similarity in all controlling variables (education, size, migration, political will, dependency, income and proximity). The results clearly showed that there is a positive relation between the history of play and participation of the communities in the forest management. This field study shows that Elinor Ostroms’ theories about history of play also are valid in a real life setting. It also indicates that history of play seems to help creating social capital

Year: 2012
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