2018 - 2019


Field-level Baseline and Progress Research on IDH Landscape Program in the South West Mau Forest


ISLA Kenya Programme is aimed at restoring and conserving the South West Mau forest block through addressing the drivers of deforestation and improving forest protection and governance, ultimately leading to holistic landscape management through various interventions. Interventions include; alternative income-generation for community livelihoods; improved water governance; sustainable energy for households, institutions and industry; replanting and restoration activities; and improved forest protection and surveillance. In this project, IDH has contracted LTS to:

  • Determine a forest reference level, based on historic (2000 to 2014) trends, to assess the impacts of ISLA interventions;
  • Assess the role of ISLA interventions and other factors in determining recent (2015 to 2018) deforestation and forest degradation trends;
  • Assess expected future (2018 to 2023 and 2050) impacts of ISLA interventions on deforestation and forest degradation; and
  • Provide methodological guidance for future measurement of ISLA impacts.


South West Mau Forest is one of the blocks of the Mau Forest Complex in western Kenya that covers an area of over 400,000 ha and is ecologically and economically critical for Kenya and parts of East Africa. In recent decades, part of the forest has either been cut down or degraded, putting tea production, other sectors and community livelihoods at risk. This is caused by growing populations, unsustainable livestock grazing, charcoal burning and timber extraction from the forest.


Addressing the above issues has been challenging due to limited coordination between stakeholders. In response, IDH built a strong coalition of the Nakuru, Kericho and Bomet national government agencies, tea, energy, telecommunications and timber companies; and civil society made up of NGOs and community groups, implementing partners and knowledge institutions to work together across the landscape. IDH implements an integrated programme that covers the following components; forest conservation; improvement of water flow and access; sustainable energy; and alternative livelihoods for communities

Value and Benefits:

More than 10 million people depend on rivers originating from Mau Forest Complex. The forest also influences the region’s microclimate such as rainfall patterns, creating ideal conditions to produce crops such as tea. Furthermore, the area is one of Kenya’s main water towers and a significant percentage of its hydroelectric power is generated from South West Mau. Conservation efforts to this forest will therefore enable the forest not only to continue supporting local livelihoods, but also contribute to Kenya’s national development and the global community.



Geography: Kenya

Date: 2019


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