The main reasons for deforestation are multiple and complex: from unregulated charcoal production, logging of indigenous trees, marijuana cultivation, and cultivated fields in the indigenous forest to shamba-system practices, livestock grazing, quarry landslides and human settlements. Fuel wood and charcoal represent the most important energy source for the population, at 75 per cent, and the forestry sector creates both formal and informal job opportunities, especially in rural areas.
As a result, deforestation has largely been driven by private consumption, as the demand of households has doubled within the last ten years. This number is also underestimated as it does not incorporate the informal sector, which has been expanding, particularly in rural areas where firewood is collected for free or exchanged for other goods.
While forest products bring in one-off cash to the national economy, they encourage illegal deforestation activities and create huge economic damage through the loss of regulating services. The report was developed in the framework of the United Nations Collaborative Programme for Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (UN-REDD Programme). The UN-REDD Programme supports Kenya and 45 other developing countries to conserve, sustainably manage and restore their forest resources.