Conservation of biodiversity in the Arabuko Sokoke Forest, Kenya
Muriithi, S.; Kenyon, W.
Biodiversity and Conservation 11(8): 1437-1450
Using an economic approach to provide a rationale for rain forest conservation has been a popular exercise in recent years. This paper uses such an approach to assess the net value of the Arabuko Sokoke Forest in Kenya. The economic benefits associated with the forest derived by local and global populations are estimated by combining evidence from existing studies and the results of a contingent valuation study carried out by the authors. These benefits are set against the cost of preserving the forest to the Kenyan Forest Department. Even when the opportunity cost of the forest land is omitted from the costs of forest preservation, and when the revenues generated from the Global Environment Facility funded project are included, the costs of forest conservation outweigh the benefits. It is only when non-use and existence values are included (which are not realized by the Kenyan population) that the forest benefits exceed the costs. The paper concludes by arguing that, although some projects within the Arabuko Sokoke Forest have been successful in capturing some of the economic value associated with the forest, more needs to be done to design additional capture mechanisms so that a greater proportion of the global benefit of the forest can be realized by local populations and local governments.