Biodiversity & Conservation

, Volume 11, Issue 8, pp 1437-1450

First online:

Conservation of biodiversity in the Arabuko Sokoke Forest, Kenya

  • Samuel MuriithiAffiliated withForest Department
  • , Wendy KenyonAffiliated withScottish Agricultural College

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Using an economic approach to provide a rationale for rainforestconservation has been a popular exercise in recent years. This paper uses suchan approach to assess the net value of the Arabuko Sokoke Forest in Kenya. Theeconomic benefits associated with the forest derived by local and globalpopulations are estimated by combining evidence from existing studies and theresults of a contingent valuation study carried out by the authors. Thesebenefits are set against the cost of preserving the forest to the Kenyan ForestDepartment. Even when the opportunity cost of the forest land is omitted fromthe costs of forest preservation, and when the revenues generated from theGlobal Environment Facility (GEF) funded project are included, the costs offorest conservation outweigh the benefits. It is only when non-use andexistencevalues are included (which are not realised by the Kenyan population) that theforest benefits exceed the costs. The paper concludes by arguing that, althoughsome projects within the Arabuko Sokoke Forest have been successful incapturingsome of the economic value associated with the forest, more needs to be done todesign additional capture mechanisms so that a greater proportion of the globalbenefit of the forest can be realised by local populations and localgovernments.

Biodiversity Contingent valuation Forests Global benefits