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  • Print publication year: 2006
  • Online publication date: August 2009

8 - Land Tenure, Land Use, and Sustainability in Kenya: Toward Innovative Use of Property Rights in Wildlife Management



The sustainable management of biological diversity is a major concern of the international community, which now realizes that this diversity is being eroded at an alarming rate due to consumptive uses of species as well as the excessive alteration of habitats through human activities such as cultivation, pastoralism, and urbanization. The increase in human population around the world also accelerates species extinction as such population exerts more pressure on available resources.

Private property right regimes are believed to create incentives for the management of resources. They could, however, also encourage the erosion of the resources. In evaluating the role of property rights in wildlife management, it is imperative to examine critically the laws that have been put in place for the protection of biodiversity and the rights impacting on management activities. Our argument here is that private property rights and current wildlife conservation and management laws and policies in Kenya fail to provide the solution to wildlife biodiversity erosion partly because of their preoccupation with a monolithic system of property ownership favoring the state and individuals and neglecting communities and/or groups.


Kenya has great faunal and floral diversity, including forests, woodlands, swamps, and grasslands of many different varieties as well as 7,800 plant and animal species. Of all the varieties of plants, 25 percent are shrubs and trees, of which 5 percent are considered endangered while about 8 percent are rare.