Environmental conservation and human development are intertwined. The success of one aspect affects and is affected by the state of the other.
The intensifying controversy surrounding the Mau Forest Complex is one of the many issues arising from human activities damaging the environment. It is evident the local community has not been empowered and mandated in the conserving the forest.
I feel it is time the community is given the power to watch over the forests and other protected areas close to their homes and farms.
The county and state governments and other key relevant agencies should now focus on investing in these communities because they are the first people to know when an unlawful act is taking place in our forests.
Related Evict and Resettle
Capacity building on the significance of conserving the forests is paramount. Without knowledge and understanding, it would be useless asking people to be your gatekeepers. Educate young people about nature and allow the community to participate in natural resource management.
Besides, the said communities should have an idea of the map and legal boundaries. Buffer zones should also be created, and the local community made aware as well as be educated on the importance of such a zone.
When the local communities learn to value environmental resources, they will not allow any intruder to encroach no matter their political, social, or economic status.
In this era where technology rules, instant reporting mechanisms should also be invested in. Considering most of the forests are in remote areas, you would expect most of the people to be less conversant with the digitized ways of reporting. However, toll-free emergency numbers dedicated to the particular activity is almost mandatory. Similarly, instant messaging would also play a key role.
Identification and contracting a few individuals of both genders, young and old to be key pointers in their communities would go a long way in building a great relationship and getting the actual real-time situation on the ground.
Environmental conservation is not cheap. Nonetheless, if all stakeholders take responsibility and play their roles, then it can be cheaper and more manageable.
We need to increase the density of our forests. To achieve this, prioritize on investing in and empowering the local communities living close to the forests.