What Unmanaged Shamba System is doing to the Forest Cover in Kenya

Shamba system is a form of agroforestry that encourages farmers to plant trees alongside their crops. Instead of cutting trees while planting, they are to maintain them and even plant more.

Shamba System
Shamba System

This initiative was introduced by the Kenya Forest Service. Its partially funded by the International Development – USAID.
The targeted groups included the local communities who live within the forest area, serving and retired forest workers, squatters, and anyone with a piece of land near a forest area.

Negative effects of the unmanaged Shamba System?

  • The farmers started to clear the indigenous tree species. They no longer replanted trees.
  • The politicization of the shamba system.
  • Rise of the human-wildlife conflicts. The farmers moved deep into the forests.
  • Farmers started to use heavy machinery. The tools promoted the destruction of soil structure and vegetation cover.
  • Introduction of invasive and exotic species. The introduced trees species caused negative impacts on the native species.
  • Illegal logging. More trees were cut and sold illegally.
  • Reduced biodiversity in the forests.
  • Land encroachment.
  • Reduced water catchment areas and their quality.
Clearing of Land
Clearing of Land

Cutting of trees
Cutting of trees

The most affected forest areas in Kenya

The program was initiated to improve forest cover but instead, it contributed to forest degradation. The affected areas included:

  1. Mount Kenya
  2. Maji Mazuri
  3. Kabaru, Kibiri
  4. South Nandi
  5. Mt Elgon
  6. Cherangany
  7. Sabatia
  8. Mau forest
  9. Koibatek.

Possible ways of curbing the negative consequences of Shamba System

  • Ban of shamba system.
  • Strict monitoring of activities with the allocated land.
  • Promotion of conservation education and awareness.
  • The involved parties to enlighten on how the shamba system should run.
  • Curbing of land encroachment.

15 thoughts on “What Unmanaged Shamba System is doing to the Forest Cover in Kenya”

  1. Good work you are doing Winnie, it is awesome. I love your topics on environment. I am an environmentalist and an agriculturalist. Your topics are awesome. Keep it. Thanks for liking my kasmall blog. Regards.

  2. Unfortunately there are many stories of environmental programs that had negative, unintended consequences – like this one. I suppose that’s how we learn though: trial and error.

  3. The most effective solution would be liberal applications of humanicide. The species is an absolute pest and needs eradication.
    Banning probably won’t help. The other four solutions, applied all together, might.


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