Spatial and Political Factors in Forest Resource Conflicts: The Eastern Mau Forest Case 1992–2014

Kweyu, R., Kiemo, K., Thenya, T., Emborg, J., & Gamborg, C.

This paper examines conflicts and forest resource politics in Eastern Mau, which is part of the Mau forest complex in Kenya. Conflict hotspots are mapped based on geo-coded transect walks, observation points derived from a combination of qualitative interviews, and informal conversations with local residents. Conflicts are categorized in terms of their temporal, spatial and substantial dimensions; and connections between conflict hotspots and forest resource politics are discussed. The study documents drivers of conflict such as forest and land resources access, political patronage and competition among ethnic groupings. Political patronage related to the voter sourcing seems to be a key underlying driver of forest and land use conflict. There is need to improve forest resources governance in order to water down patronage and reduce conflicts.