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Protected Area Management in Kenya

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Protected areas owned and managed by the state have been the foundation of modern environmental conservation, but in recent decades environmental conservation objectives are also explicitly being applied to areas under other forms of tenure and governance. These can be divided into areas under private and community ownership and/or management. Besides the conservation of biodiversity, the management objectives of PAs also increasingly recognise their role in maintaining the supply of ecosystem services which benefit people and reduce environmental vulnerability.

In Kenya, there is an extensive network of state managed protected areas (PAs) as well as growing networks of privately and community managed PAs. In assessing environmental benefits of PAs, we expect there to be various kinds of complementarities between these different types of PA, including direct ecological complementarities resulting from expansion of ecologically connected land areas, and other types of complementarity that directly influence environmental effectiveness, such as operating, financial, political and social synergies. The extent to which these complementarities exist and are realized in an area will depend on PA characteristics including their size, location, governance arrangements, level of connectivity, management objectives, management effectiveness, nature of partnerships, legal status and relationships with stakeholders.

This study will develop a framework for assessing complementarity among different types of protected areas, assessing both the implications for biodiversity and for wider provision of environmental services. This framework will be tested in target areas in Kenya, with a view to using the framework to guide future PA policy and resource allocation decisions to achieve optimal environmental outcomes.