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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Njukiine Forest: transformation of a common-property resource
Author:Castro, A.P.
Periodical:Forest & Conservation History
Geographic term:Kenya
customary law
land law
land use
agricultural land
Abstract:Njukiine Forest is situated on the lower slopes of Mount Kenya (Kenya). The present-day cultural landscape greatly contrasts with the area's social and ecological setting at the turn of the century. Then Njukiine consisted of indigenous closed-canopy and open forest spreading over a wider area than the roughly one thousand hectares now covered by plantations. For the Kikuyu and Embu peoples surrounding Njukiine, the forest was not an open-access resource without well-defined property rights, but rather a communal forest with rules and norms regulating land use. This analysis, based on archival data and information collected during anthropological fieldwork in Kirinyaga District in 1982 and 1983, considers the changing institutional arrangements and management regimes that have governed the Njukiine Forest from 1900 to the early 1980s. Colonialism altered the communal bonds, traditional authority, and land use dynamics that maintained forest cover at Njukiine, leading to conflict, negotiations about protecting the forest, and eventually accommodation between the indigenous population and the colonial State. This history has continued to influence the forest's management since independence in 1963. Comparisons with the fates of other wooded common property resources in Kirinyaga, particularly the sacred groves and the vast southern Mount Kenya forest, are made to set Njukiine's history in perspective. Ref.