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The Role of Butterfly Farming in Forest Conservation and Community Development In Kenya


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ABSTRACT Butterfly farming is the breeding of butterfly pupae for sale to butterfly houses, exhibitors and natural museums. In Kenya, butterfly farming projects are located adjacent to natural forests where the utilization of the rich butterfly resources in these forests is made possible. The farming of butterflies in Kenya begun in 1993 as a local community initiative to directly generate income to the community so as to enhance conservation of forest resources which were otherwise threatened from over exploitation. Remarkable developments have been recorded by the butterfly farming rural community in Kenya. Over 700 rural households derive their livelihoods from the forest through butterfly farming. Improvements in food security, primary health care and education have been recorded. The average annual per capita income of a dedicated and organized butterfly farmer has risen from US$ 20 to US$ 735.5 between 1993 and 1997. Butterfly farming has improved the local eco-tourism and conservation education, and has led to better involvement of the local community in managing and conserving forest resources. However, despite all these positive developments butterfly farming in Kenya has a number of challenges to meet to develop its full potential. These are mainly those challenges that are related to pupae production such as access to the proper farming facilities and farming technology by all the farmers, and those related to access to regular markets and improved prices of the pupae.
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THESIS No. 16 Philip Manyi OmengePhilip Manyi Omenge
Philip Manyi OmengePhilip Manyi Omenge
Philip Manyi Omenge
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences
Department of Rural Development Studies
Uppsala, 2002 • ISSN 1403-7998
Supervisors: Prof. Kjell Havnevik and Prof. Tekeste Negash
The Department of Rural Development Studies publishes
- a Masters Thesis series
- a Proceedings series
- a Rural Development Studies series, and
- a Working Papers series.
The Masters Thesis series
Theses of exceptional merit are published in this series after being subjected to a review and editing
No. 1 Huber, Bernard (1999), Communicative aspects of participatory videoprojects: an exploratory study.
No. 2 Duveskog, Deborah (1999), The Andean lifeline-irrigation canals: An exploratory study of management
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No. 3 Marquardt, Kristina (2000), Locally developed agriculture- a possibility or obstacle for preventing
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No. 4 Forsberg, Lorentz (2000), Nutcracker culture- An exploratory study of cashew processing women
in South-eastern Tanzania.
No. 5 Legesse, Belaineh (2000), Smallholders' risk perception and coping strategies- The case of Kersa
and Babile, Eastern Ethiopia.
No. 6 Gahiro, Leonidas (2000), Coffee production and export marketing structure- The case of Burundi.
No. 7 O'Hara, Peter (2000), A marriage between trade and aid, a better chance for an effective development
No. 8 Nkongolo, Muela Ngalamulume (2000), Customary tenure and land reform in South Africa- The
Cunu Tribal Authority.
No. 9 Kassa, Habtemariam (2000), Livestock production, household food security and sustainability in
smallholder mixed farms- A case study from Kombolcha Woreda of Eastern Ethiopia.
No. 10 Sodarak, Houmchitsavath (2000), Shifting cultivation practices by Hmong, Khamu and ethnic
categories in the Nam Nane Watershed, Nane District, Luang Prabang Province, Lao PDR.
No. 11 Salih, Mohamed Kamal-Eldin M. (2000), Description of migrant settlement in Greater Khartoum-
With special reference to the Western Sudanese, their expectations and their experiences.
No. 12 Khalid, Zeenath & Quintana, Paula (2001), Livestock and differentiated rural livelihood systems
in Northern Pakistan.
No. 13 Lloyd, Sarah E. (2001), The emergent landscape in Sweden: A case study of relationships between
socio-economic and ecological space in Jokkmokk.
No. 14 Nilsson, P-O. (2002), Local management of natural resources: A case study of local communities
relations to protected areas.
No. 15 Bueschel, Doreen. (2002), Dependency on a woodland resource: Contribution of non-timber forest
products to the livelihood of San Vakwangali Households in western Kavango, Namibia
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences
Department of Rural Development Studies
Box 7005
S-750 07 UPPSALA
Telephone: +46 18 67 26 35
Fax: +46 18 67 34 20
Tryck: SLU/Repro, Uppsala 2002
I extend my sincere gratitude and appreciation to many people who made this masters
thesis possible. Special thanks are due to my supervisors Professor Kjell Havnevik and
Professor Tekeste Negash and my field assistant Mr. Willy Kombe. I am highly indebted
to Mr. Mwangi, Forester at Gede Forest Station and Mr. Mweke, Forester, Kakamega
Forest Station for accepting me to carry out part of the research in their areas of
jurisdiction and for providing accommodation. Many thanks are due to Mr, Washington
Ayiemba, Manager, Kipepeo Butterfly Farm and the entire staff at Kipepeo Butterfly Farm
for accepting me carry out substantial work at the project’s facilities and enabling me
access the project’s data base.
Many thanks go to heads of Government Departments and Projects whose assistance was
vital for the research. These include Mr. John Morangi Omenge, Provincial Geologist
Coast Province, Mr Moses, Provincial Geologist Western Province, Mr. Kivuitu, District
Forest Officer Malindi, Mr. Mbuvi, Officer-in-Charge KEFRI Station Gede and Mr.
Muteru; Warden Kakamega. Thanks are also due to the Management of African Butterfly
Research Institute and their Butterfly Farm at Isecheno, the staff of the District
Documentation and Record Centre Mombasa, staff of Karura Forest Station Library, the
Mombasa Polytechnic Library, staff of Department of Mines and Geology Library,
Arabuko-Sokoke Library and Educational and Research Centre at Kakamega Forest for
enabling me access their library data bases.
I would also like to acknowledge with much appreciation the crucial role of the butterfly
farming community adjacent to Arabuko-Sokoke Forest, Kakamega Forest and Shimba
Hills Forest for the research. Many thanks go to the group representatives who spared
some time of their tight schedules and took me round to their group members.
Special thanks too go to Kakamega Educational Environment Programme (KEEP)
members for their support during my stay in Kakamega and more specifically to Leonard
Likhotio and Festus Ihwagi who braved with me throughout the chilly weather of
Kakamega Tropical Rain Forest. Many more persons participated in various ways to
ensure my research succeeded than those and I am thankful to them all.
Philip Manyi Omenge,
P.O.Box 42837 Mombasa,
P.O. Box 7 Mosocho via Kisii
Tel. (fixed) 254 11 493107
Mobile 254 72319097
Butterfly farming is the breeding of butterfly pupae for sale to butterfly houses, exhibitors
and natural museums. In Kenya, butterfly farming projects are located adjacent to natural
forests where the utilization of the rich butterfly resources in these forests is made
possible. The farming of butterflies in Kenya begun in 1993 as a local community
initiative to directly generate income to the community so as to enhance conservation of
forest resources which were otherwise threatened from over exploitation.
Remarkable developments have been recorded by the butterfly farming rural community in
Kenya. Over 700 rural households derive their livelihoods from the forest through
butterfly farming. Improvements in food security, primary health care and education have
been recorded. The average annual per capita income of a dedicated and organized
butterfly farmer has risen from US$ 20 to US$ 735.5 between 1993 and 1997. Butterfly
farming has improved the local eco-tourism and conservation education, and has led to
better involvement of the local community in managing and conserving forest resources.
However, despite all these positive developments butterfly farming in Kenya has a number
of challenges to meet to develop its full potential. These are mainly those challenges that
are related to pupae production such as access to the proper farming facilities and farming
technology by all the farmers, and those related to access to regular markets and improved
prices of the pupae.
This Thesis is dedicated to all the members of Mzee Omenge’s family
for the continuous support in my academic carrier.
Acknowledgements ………………………………………………. i
Abstract ............................................................................................. iii
INTRODUCTION............................................................................ 1
BACKGROUND............................................................................... 2
Forest Conservation and Management .............................. 2
Kenyan forests, management and conservation ..................... 3
Butterflies and Butterfly Collection, Farming and Trading 5
Life cycle ………………………………………………………......... 5
Diversity and distribution of Kenyan butterflies ………………... 6
Importance and usefulness of butterflies ………………………… 7
Collection and trading of Butterflies …………………………….. 9
Butterfly farming ……………………………………………………. 10
How a butterfly farm works …………………………………… 11
Butterfly farming in Kenya ……………………………………. 12
Development of Rural Areas ………………………………… 12
Challenges of rural development ………………………………….. 15
Rural development in Kenya ………………………………………... 16
STUDY RATIONALE, AIMS AND OBJECTIVES …….................... 18
Study Rationale ………………………………………………… 18
Aims and Objectives …………………………………………… 19
Specific Objectives ……………………………………………………… 19
LOCATION OF THE STUDY ……………………………... ……… 20
Study Area ……………………………………………………. 20
Accessibility ………………………………………………………….. 20
Climate ……………………………………………………………. 20
Social Economy and Welfare Situation of the Community … 21
METHODOLOGY …………………………………………... ………. 22
Matrix Scoring …………………………………………………. 24
Time line and Chronologies …………………………………… 24
Interviewing …………………………………………………….. 24
Stakeholder Analysis …………………………………………… 27
Transect walks ………………………………………………….. 27
Data Analysis ……………………………………………………. 27
RESULTS ………………………………………………………………. 28
Contribution of Butterfly Farming to Rural Development …. 28
Source of employment and income to the community ……… 28
Promotion and development of area eco-tourism …………….. 30
Improvement of local community welfare situation …………….. 32
Challenges of Butterfly Farming in Kenya …………………… 33
Marketing of the produce …………………………………….............. 33
Pupae prices ………………………………………………….............… 33
Diseases and pests …………………………………………................... 34
Species seasonality …………………………………………..............… 35
Impact of Butterfly Farming on Forest Development and
Conservation……………………………………………………… 37
DISCUSSION ……………………………………………………………. 38
How the butterfly farming rural community has developed …. 38
The livelihood of the people …………………………………………… 38
Development of local conservation education ………………………… 41
Development of local eco-tourism ……………………………………… 42
Involvement of the local community in managing the forest ………... 44
Challenges of butterfly farming in Kenya ……………………….. 45
Production Challenges …………………………………………………… 45
Market challenges ………………………………………………………… 47
Impact of butterfly farming on forest conservation ……………. 47
CONCLUSION …………………………………………………………… 49
REFERENCES ……………………………………………………………. 51
Figure 1 Income sources of the rural people in the study area ……. 28
Figure 2 Trend in registration of small scale butterfly farmers …… 29
Figure 3 Exports of pupae and their respective yearly earnings ….. 30
Figure 4 The monthly trend of eco-tourists visiting the butterfly….
exhibitions……………………………………………….. 31
Figure 5a. Comparison of year round earnings from gate ………..
collections and donations from ecotourism…………… 31
Figure 5b Year round earnings from donations ………………….. 32
Figure 6 How the people in the study area spent their income …… 33
Figure 7 Comparison between international and local pupae prices. 34
Figure 8 Disease and pest occurrence ……………………………... 35
Figure 9 The relationship between species availability and utilization 37
Appendix 1 Natural forests jointly managed by Kenya Wildlife Service and Forest
Appendix 2 An idealised model of a butterfly farm
Appendix 3 Butterfly species commonly farmed, their market prices and
Maps Map 1 Distribution of Kenyan Butterflies
Map 2 Gazetted Forest areas of Kenya showing locations of Arabuko-Sokoke,
Kakamega and Shimba Hills Forests
Map 3 Arabuko-Sokoke Forest
Map 4 Kakamega Forest
This masters thesis was carried out from the first of September to the thirtieth of
November 2001 in Kenya’s Coastal and Western Provinces. The study area covered
communities living adjacent to Arabuko-Sokoke Forest at a radius of three kilometres
from the edge of the forest, the Kipepeo Butterfly Farm and Shimba Hills communities
(who sell their pupae through the Kipepeo Butterfly Farm at the Coast) and Isecheno
community (living) at the periphery of Kakamega Forest in Western Province. For a long
time, these communities have been depending greatly on the forests for their livelihoods.
These forests are rich in flora, fauna, and mineral deposits. They are ranked as priority
areas for conservation in Kenya by the International Union for the Conservation of
Endangered Species because they are important habitats for endemic, threatened and rear
species of birds, mammals, insects and plants. However with the increase in the human
population adjacent to these forests, the demand for materials from the forest to satisfy
the population’s needs has been higher than the rate at which natural replenishment takes
place thus threatening the survival of the forests.
To enhance conservation of the forests while at the same time enabling the adjacent
communities to derive their livelihoods from the forests, a butterfly farming enterprise
was started which makes use of the rich butterfly resources found in the forests. Initial
funding of the enterprise came from the United Nations Development Programme
(UNDP) Global Environment Facility (GEF) through the Non Governmental
Organisation Small Grants Programme. The rural community adjacent to these forests are
licensed to collect butterflies from the forest and rear them to produce pupae which they
sell to butterfly houses, exhibitors, and museums in Europe and America. By so doing,
they have been actively involved in conservation of the forests while at the same time
directly generating an income out of it.
The purpose of this study was to investigate how the rural (butterfly) farming community
has developed on the basis of butterfly farming, the challenges facing butterfly farming in
Kenya and to some extent, how butterfly farming has impacted on forest conservation in
Kenya. The thesis consists of a main body organised in nine sections and appendices at
the end. The first section is an introduction. Section two provides the background
information which comprises a detailed review of literature in forest conservation and
management; butterflies, their collection, farming and trading; and development of rural
areas. Section three outlines the study rationale, aims and objectives while the fourth
section describes the location of the study area. The fifth part presents the methods of
data collection and analysis while section six gives the analysis of the research findings.
Sections seven and eight discuss the results and draws conclusions respectively while
section nine lists the literature cited.
Forest conservation and management
All over the globe, forests are being degraded and lost at a rate unprecedented in human
history (ITTO, 2000). Large parts of formerly untouched boreal forests have become the
object of timber exploitation. Old-growth forests in temperate zones, most of them in
industrialised countries, continue to disappear or are being degraded. Tropical rainforests
are diminishing at a rate of around 15 million hectares a year of which, estimates show
that, 100 acres of the global rain forest cover is destroyed per minute (ITTO 2000, Hurst
1990). For example, the Guineo-Congolian rainforest that once spanned West, East and
Central Africa now exists as relatively small islands of habitat surrounded by savannah
and human settlement (Brend 1999). This high loss of natural forests is as a result of the
ever-increasing human demand for land, food, timber, energy and minerals.
Forest destruction inevitably means the loss of a large part of the earth’s terrestrial
biodiversity and is a major contributor to the current growth and concentration of
atmospheric greenhouse gases. It also endangers the livelihoods of many people, since
forests provide shelter, employment, and health services, especially for the poorer
segment of the world’s population. This is especially so because, of the one billion people
living in or near forested areas in developing countries, thirty to fifty percent are
estimated to be poor and highly dependent on forest products (ITTO, 2000). Conservation
of the natural forests involves the use of the resources in these forests in such a way that
it provides the greatest benefit for the highest number of people for the longest period of
time. This ensures resource utilisation by all on a sustainable basis.
Natural forests are important as they provide multiple goods, values and environmental
services (Young and Giese, 1990). At the global scale, they play a significant role in the
functioning of the atmosphere and biosphere through photosynthesis, evapotranspiration,
decomposition, succession and other natural processes (Houghton et al, 1990). At local
and regional scales, the ecological processes and biological diversity of natural forests
provide the foundations for stable human communities and opportunities for sustainable
development (Salati and Vose, 1984, Houghton, 1990, Young and Giese, 1990).
Local and global climate patterns are influenced by the interaction of forests and the
atmosphere. Forests are thought to influence the convection of currents, wind,
precipitation patterns and rainfall regime because of their ability to reflect solar heat back
into space and to receive and release large volumes of water (Houghton, 1990, Salati
and Vose, 1984). With this realisation of the increased forest loss coupled with the crucial
role natural forests play in supporting human life, there is a need to develop and adapt a
holistic approach to natural forest conservation and utilisation of the forest resources
locally, nationally and globally. Natural forests should not be conserved per se but
because those living adjacent to these forests are able to derive their source of livelihood
from them in a sustainable way (Simeox and Calvert, 1982).
Kenyan Forests, Management and Conservation
In Kenya forests (cover) comprise two percent of the total land area (Wass, 1995)
categorised as, Coastal forests (82,500 ha), Dry forest (210,000 ha), Montane forest
(748,500 ha), and Western rainforest (49,000 ha). Plantation forests are estimated to
cover 160,000 ha1 appendix1 gives details of the individual forests. Wass (1995) observes
that these forests are a habitat to forty percent of Kenya’s large mammals, thirty-five
percent of butterfly species, thirty percent of bird species including twenty seven forest
dependent and twenty six forest generalised and seventy percent of all threatened bird
species (occur in these forests). Further, these forests contribute fifty percent of all the
woody plant species found in the country.
Kenya’s natural forests are jointly managed by the Forest Department (FD) and the
Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) under protection status of either County Council Trust
land (CC) or Forest Reserve (FR) as outlined in a memorandum of understanding
between the two institutions that became operational from 5 December 1991 and valid for
twenty-five years (KIFCON, 1994). The management is aimed at conservation of
Kenya’s biological diversity by preserving selected examples of the different forest
communities including forest woodlands, mangroves, population of endemic and
threatened species of plants and animals and important areas for maintaining the genetic
diversity of plants and animals. These forests include Arabuko-Sokoke, Shimba Hills, Mt.
Kenya, Kakamega, Aberdares, Mangrove forests at Malindi/Watamu area, the Chylu
Hills among others. Wass (1995) observes that some forests are of top priority for
biodiversity conservation. These include, Mau Forest Complex, Mathews Range, Tana
River, Marsabit, Mount Kenya, Aberdares, Taita Hills, Shimba Hills, Kakamega, and
Of these, Arabuko-Soke was ranked top most priority area for biodiversity conservation
in Kenya by the International Union of Convention on Endangered Species. This forest
contains the greatest area of natural complete forest cover at the Kenyan Coast
(Stattlerfield et al, 1998, Larsen, 1996, Fanshawe, 1992). It has an amazing (large) wealth
of biodiversity ranging from microscopic plants such as algae to woody plants, insects,
birds and mammals (among others) thus making it a world class reserve (Fanshawe 1992,
Bibby 1992, Bennum, 1993). Twenty percent of Kenya’s bird species and about three
hundred and five of the butterfly species have been recorded in this forest. Four of the
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butterfly species are endemic2 to this forest (Stattlerfield et al, 1998, KIFCON 1995).
Fifteen rare and endemic bird species are restricted to the Kenyan coast; six of them,
considered globally threatened,3 have their habitat restricted to the Arabuko-Sokoke
Forest. The forest is also a home for three rare and endemic mammals4 (Larsen, 1996,
Fanshawe, 1992).
Butterflies and Butterfly Collection, Farming and Trading
Butterflies are insects belonging to the class insector and order lepidoptera, they are
further subdivided into five families namely, Papilionidae, Pieridae, Lycaenidae,
Nymphalidae and Hesperidae (Larsen, 1991, Larsen, 1996). Larsen (1991) further
classifies them into twenty subfamilies and hundred and eighty genera. Butterflies are
generally very colorful winged insects with an overlay of tiny scales which are arranged
much as the tiles of a roof with each scale having a single colour pattern (Morris et al
1991, Ayiemba 1995, Emmel and Carraway 1990, Emmel and Emmel 1990, Larsen
1996). The aesthetic nature and positive appeal of butterflies are almost universal
amongst humans (Parsons, 1992). New (1991) advances that the positive attitude
towards butterflies is due to the fact that they are relatively large, often very pretty and
rarely harmful. Perhaps this could explain the increasing enthusiasm in butterfly studies
and associated research. According to Larsen (1993), butterfly communities are specific
to ecological zones and as such less than one percent of them are ubiquitous. Most of
them have their habitats restricted to the lowland forest zone while the less specialized
savannah species thrive in agricultural lands and disturbed forest zones.
Life cycle
In general, butterflies have a short life span averaging four weeks (Larsen 1996, Larsen
1993, Courtney, 1984, Singer 1984). Their life cycle consists of four stages, each stage
lasting between one to four weeks (Larsen 1996). Like other living creatures, the life of a
butterfly begins when gametes of mature male and female get fertilized after a mating
2 Acrae matuapa, Charaxes blanda kangae, Balliechila latrimagnata and Baliochila stygia.
3 Otus ireneae, Turdus fischari, Anthus sokokensis, Anthroptes pallidigaster, Sheppardia gunning and
Ploceus golandi.
4 Cephalophus adersi, Bhynchocyon chysopygus and Deogale omnivora crassicauda.
process. Larsen (1996) observes that there is often competition for females and as such
the most fit male gets the chance to mate with the available females. The other males are
eliminated in a fight which determines the fit male to serve the females in that territory.
The fertilized female gamete (the egg) is then laid on the right food plant which must be
in the correct growth condition. Such a plant must have young shoots. This is vital
because it determines the survival of the larvae once the egg hatches.
The larva is essentially a feeding stage. Thus an abundant supply of fresh and tender
leaves of the correct food plant is essential as preferences differ among species and
habitats (Larsen, 1996, Courtney, 1984, Singer, 1984). In its preparation to pupate, the
larva wanders searching for the right position of the plant to pupate. This is important as
the pupa stage is essentially an immobile stage and hence needs to be camouflaged for
protection against enemies in order to survive to adulthood. For some species, the pupa
stage is the stage of diapause characterised by a season of environmental stress and
hostility (Larsen, 1996, Larsen, 1993, Emmel and Garraway, 1990, Emmel and Emmel,
1990). As opposed to the larva which is essentially an eating machine, the pupa is a
biological factory where the simple tissues of a larva are rearranged to form an adult
butterfly (Larsen, 1996). Larsen states that just before the pupa hatch; all features of an
adult butterfly are clearly visible. At this point the pupa case splits at the head and the
thorax to release the adult butterfly which crawls out often perching on the empty pupa
case with the tiny wings hanging out limpingly. After a slight pause, the adult butterfly
begins to pump its wings ready to brave the still lie wait, to mate and to restart the
lifecycle once again.
Diversity and Distribution of Kenyan Butterflies
Worldwide, there are approximately 18,000 species of butterflies of which 3,600 occur in
the African continent, further 870 of these species are said to occur in Kenya (Larsen,
1991, Larsen, 1993). In Kenya, these species thrive in different ecological conditions.
Coastal forests contain a large proportion of species that are endemic and most species
hardly penetrate inland. Few species are able to survive outside the forest. The forests
include Tana River, Arabuko-Sokoke, and Shimba Hills. In these forests the dry seasons
are not pronounced as they are twenty kilometers further inland (Larsen, 1996). A large
number of Savannah species are common in the Eastern and Northern Savannah regions
while in the extreme North and parts of the Rift Valley the desert and sub-desert species
thrive (Map 1). The area East of Lake Turkana supports the Sudan Savannah species
while towards the southern end of the Rift Valley the Masaai Savannah species thrives.
Butterflies in these zones contain some endemic species. The Rift Valley creates a barrier
between the butterflies of the Western and Central forests. This area is also highly
elevated to support the species from the Sudan and the Masaai Savannahs, and neither
does it evolve species of its own (Larsen, 1993). Larsen observes that the semi-montane
central highlands’ forest vegetation, strongly limit the number of equatorial forest species
that can occur in the forest. In the isolated Eastern and Northern forests, there is a degree
of endemicity in the species of butterflies while in the Western Forest, which is the
remnant of the equatorial rain forest, butterflies are mainly characteristic of the forest and
Savannah vegetation areas5. South of Kavirondo, forest butterflies can be found in the
small forest relics and some savannah species from the Zambesi have their ranges
stretching into the zone.
Importance and usefulness of butterflies
Butterflies for a long time have been the subject of interest to both amateurs and
professionals (Brinckerhoff and Sabido, 2000, Santiapillai, 1999, Larsen, 1996, Morris et
al 1991). According to Brinckerhoff and Sabido (2000), interest in lepidoptera became a
serious vocation for many people in western countries during the Victorian era roughly
between 1860 and 1910. This period was characterised by collection, identification and
cataloguing of lepidoptera from all over the world by members of the English aristocracy.
As such, the Victorian era formed a foundation for the evolution of interest and studies in
lepidoptera and more specifically in butterflies. Studies have shown that butterflies have
continued to play a major role in many areas of scientific research (Persons, 1992, Larsen
1996, Morris et al, 1999). Larsen (1996) points out five areas of scientific discoveries
that have resulted from butterfly research. These are; (1) the discovery of the heredity
characteristic of the Rhesus factor in human blood. This was based on information gained
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from the genetic study of polymorphic Swallow Tails. (2) Much of the early information
on chemical communication among insects came from studies on butterflies and moths
and some of the data proved valuable in devising pest control strategies based on trapping
of the male insects using synthesised pheromones.
(3) Butterflies have been used in population dynamics. They have yielded some of the
most interesting results including the fact that local population are often not permanent
but regularly go extinct followed by spontaneous re-introduction. (4) Butterflies have
been used in studying evolution of plants by co-evolution of insects. As such plants have
evolved new and more toxic deterrents and butterfly larvae have become increasingly
adopted at overcoming them. (5) Butterflies have been found to be vital geographical and
ecological indicators; they form communities which are specific to each of the
geographical sub-regions and to different types of ecological conditions. Further studies
have shown that butterflies are a valuable resource in the lepidoptera trading industry
(Parsons 1992, Morris et al, 1991). This trade deals with both live and dead stock of
butterflies. According to Pyle and Hughes (1978) and Pyle (1981), the trade in butterfly
dead stock consists of low quantity/high value also termed as the specialist trade and the
high quantity/low value also known as the decorative trade. Parsons (1992) estimates the
annual trade in butterfly stock to be in the range of US$ 100 million. Butterflies are also
vital in plant pollination, monitoring environmental effects when using chemicals to
control pests, and in identifying key areas for conservation (Morris et al, 1991). On the
other hand butterflies have extensively been used in the social life such as weddings and
fundraising. Brinckerhoff and Sabido (2000) observe that people of means have been
purchasing butterflies for release at weddings and other special occasions such as raising
funds for street children. In the handcraft industry, butterfly wings have over a long time
been used in decorations (Parsons, 1992). Butterflies have also been instrumental in the
conservation of tropical forests, development and promotion of rural economies through
eco-tourism and butterfly farming (Young, 1986, BOSTID, 1983, Parsons, 1992,
Santiapillai, 1999).
Collection and Trading of Butterflies
The origin of the butterfly collection and trading can be traced to the maritime
exploratory expeditions from Europe to various parts of the world. As early as the
seventeenth century, impressive butterfly specimens had reached Europe from the Dutch
colonies (Parsons, 1992). Parsons notes that this period was the beginning of collection of
more spectacular butterfly species such as the swallow tails from what has now become
one of the leading regions in the butterfly farming and trading industry in the world, the
Indo-Australian Region. Historical events like exploration coupled with the spread of
Christianity, colonialism, discovery and improvement of communication by sea and
postal services played a significant role in the development of the Lepidotera industry.
For example the settlement of Europeans in countries such as Papua New Guinea was
crucial to some home based Lepidopterists. Persons (1992) observes that missionary Rev.
Diamond Jenness based at Bwaidogo Mission on Goodenough Island in Papua New
Guinea in the period 1911-1912, was asked to collect butterflies and other insects for
Professor, E. B. Poylton of Oxford University. Other world events like the first and
second world wars contributed to the development, collection and sale of butterflies. For
example, Wyatt (1955) points out that during the period of world war two, Ornithoptera
become highly priced for their market value resulting from increasing demand from
Australian and American servicemen who were fighting in New Guinea. In Taiwan,
butterfly collection began in 1880 while in Malaysia, demand for butterflies emerged in
the 1950s (Unno, 1974, Jackman and Regan, 1987).
With the increase in interest and demand for butterflies across the world, more and more
people have been involved in the collection and exhibition of butterflies. The trade in
butterfly has developed from the collection and sale of dried butterfly specimen (dead
stock) to including sale of live butterflies (livestock) as explained by Pyle and Hughes
(1978), Pyle (1981), Collins and Morris (1985), and Morris (1986). The increase in
demand of livestock has resulted in the development of techniques in raising the butterfly
pupa under a controlled environment to boost production for sale. This production in a
controlled environment has come to be known as butterfly farming (BOSTID, 1983,
Parsons, 1992).
Butterfly farming
Butterfly farming is the breeding of butterfly pupae for sale. The practice capitalises on
the life cycle of the butterflies which is relatively short. The length of the life cycle from
time of oviposition of the egg to emergence of the adult varies according to the species.
In some species, it can be between 22 to 81 days while in others, it can be 63 to 78 days
like the Homerus Swallowtail (Emmel and Garraway, 1990). The end product for sale is
pupa, which is immobile thus making it possible to transport it over long distances. The
farming of butterflies is dependent on the native vegetation, which the butterflies feed on
in their various stages of their life cycle. In order to attain good results, a butterfly farmer
has to maintain a garden of native plants in and around the farm that constantly supply
food to the larvae. This new practice of utilising undomesticated insects is not expensive
nor does it involve any sophisticated technology. All a butterfly farmer needs is a means
of transport to go to the forest to collect the butterflies for breeding and perhaps an
irrigation mechanism in cases where there is insufficient rain to sustain the vegetation.
If properly implemented, butterfly farming can be beneficial for conserving tropical
forests. With an appropriate legislative framework that cut out middle men, butterfly
farming can be effective in utilising this highly sustainable resource and the funds can be
directed back into habitat protection (Parsons, 1992). Further, Parsons continues to argue
that the practice can provide rural economies with much needed income which in turn
reduces the needs of people living in or adjacent to tropical forests to exploit them in
unsustainable ways. The farming of butterflies is being done in a number of countries
globally and notable examples include Costa Rica, Papua New Guinea, Kenya, Thailand,
Taiwan, Central and South America among others (Young, 1986). The current world’s
leading producers of butterfly pupae are; Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand, Taiwan,
Kenya, Madagascar, United States, El Salvador and Costa Rica.6
6 (12/15/00 1:14 pm)
How a Butterfly farm works.
The daily operation of any one given butterfly farm has many components. They can be
broadly divided into three major ones, notably, the entomological facets of breeding the
butterflies, the horticultural duties of propagating the appropriate food plants and the
accounting and the other paper work (ibid). The entomological and horticultural
components further depend on a number of factors such as the species type being bred,
the number of species, and the location of the farm and the level of establishment of the
farm. For example, Gagne and Gressitt (1982) cited by Parsons (1992:21-22) state that,
“some species in the genus Ornithoptera which have more specialised ecological
requirements can only be effectively farmed if the farm is located in close proximity to
areas of prime habitat containing healthy world populations”. The number of species
being cultivated is important when it comes to organisation of the farm and this
(organisation) too depicts how established a farm is. For example, Parsons (1992)
observes that in order to locate all the early stages of the butterfly, the farmer needs to
adopt the “idealised” model (appendix 2) of organising a butterfly farm as outlined by
Pyle and Hughes (1978) cited by Parsons (1992). The model makes it easier for the
farmer to accurately assess the amount of stock present within the farm area. For less
established farms, the food plants are treated in a way similar to planting normal food
crops and often in a rather randomised fashion. Such farmers utilise small areas adjacent
to the village buildings. In such a set up, the farmers do not concern themselves with the
overall appearance of the butterfly gardens nor do they see the necessity of maintaining
them in any form of neatness. In such cases, farmers maintain colonies of different
butterfly species by varying the food plant species with a combination of flowering and
leafy plants (BOSTID, 1983). Such a combination generates an enriched butterfly habitat
garden that is capable of supporting breeding populations that if well managed can be
self-reproducing. The farmer must do routine collection of the ova and secure them in
locations where predators such as ants, spiders, wasps, parasitic wasps and lizards can not
get to them. In a case where the butterfly garden is a caged flight area, the ova can be
secured in small plastic and predator free boxes. The ova is checked on a daily basis to
ensure that the larvae are removed placed in potted food plants and returned in the cage.
On the other hand, if the farmer adopts the “idealised” model, then the wider spacing of
the food plants will ensure that there is less concentration of predators and parasitoids of
the ova. High standards of cleanliness must be maintained in flight caged enclosures to
ensure high survival rates of the pupae.
Butterfly Farming in Kenya
The history of butterfly farming in Kenya can be traced back to 1993 when the Arabuko-
Sokoke Kipepeo Project was established (Ashley, 1999). This project was and still is
organised as community based conservation as well as an income generating endeavour.
The initial funding source was the United Nations Development Programme Global
Environmental Facility (GEF) through the Non Governmental Organisation Small Grants
Programme (Maundu, 1993). The project whose aims were to raise the economic status of
the people living adjacent to the Arabuko-Sokoke Forest and enable them realise the
benefits of conservation has also led to the starting of other butterfly farming initiatives at
Shimba Hills and Kakamega Forest.
Currently there are four butterfly farming projects in Kenya namely, Kipepeo Butterfly
Farm, The Mida Butterfly Farm, Shimba Hills Butterfly Community Development and
Kakamega Butterfly Community Development. Butterfly farming is one of the ways rural
people are getting empowered to secure sustainable livelihoods. In this way they are at
the same time able to conserve the environment and actively involved in the development
of rural areas (KIFCON, 1992).
Development of Rural Areas
To day, there are over 1.3 billion people who are compelled to live on less than a dollar a
day (World Bank, 1996, FAO/WHO, 1992). The World Bank has noted that more and
more people go hungry and at risk of micro-nutrient deficiency, and the number of
underweight children below five years is on the increase. Further, studies have shown
that, poverty is more prevalent in rural areas than in cities and that the deep poverty in
rural areas is a major contributor to urban poverty (Narayan et al, 1999, World Bank,
1996, FAO/WHO, 1992). Rural people make up about seventy percent of the population
in South Asia, Africa and East Asia and the Pacific, about fifty percent in Middle East
and about thirty percent in Europe and Central Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean.
On many continents, rural poverty is pervasive and persistent; access to basic human
needs such as food, shelter; education, potable water; health care and sanitation are far
less available in rural areas compared to cities. The problems of malnutrition, low life
expectancies and high infant-mortality are more severe in rural areas (World Bank,
Rural development is that development which meets the needs of the present without
compromising the future generation’s ability to meet their own needs (World
Commission of Environment and Development, cited by KIFCON, 1992). Such
development lies in the hands of many actors who collectively struggle to contribute
positively and significantly to the social, economic, political, spiritual and cultural well
being of rural inhabitants and rural areas as a whole. Havnevik and Malmer (1999)
advance that “important actors influencing the process of rural development are the rural
farmers and entrepreneurs and their families, local and central government, interested
organisations and researchers”. Rural development differs from place to place depending
on the local needs. The goal of development is not growth but the well being of poor
people (Chambers, 1993). Chambers further observes that poor people define their well
being in different ways. Many are likely to want good livelihoods rather than simply
employment where livelihoods mean adequate assets, food and cash for physical and
social well-being, and security against impoverishment. In the developed world,
development of rural area needs has over time moved through different phases. In the
nineteenth century, the shift was from subsistence to commercial-based house holding.
This was characterised by the agrarian revolution with new technologies and farming
systems. This resulted in self-food sufficiency at household and national levels. This was
followed by industrialisation and production of cheap food which resulted in massive
rural-urban migration of agricultural labour force. The result is a change in the
demographic profile of the rural population. This development is as well evident in the
Nordic countries (Havnevik and Malmer, 1999).
In the developing world, rural development involves access and provision of the basic
human needs. This is being hampered by poor institutional set ups which seem to be
gender discriminative and lack of empowerment especially to the socially marginalised
groups like the women and the girl child. For example most African cultures do not have
room for property ownership and/or inheritance by the females, yet it’s the females
(household mother and the girls) who do most of the domestic work including farming
(Hilhorst, 2000, Jiggins, 1998, Mellor, 1995). Studies have shown that females contribute
significantly to the total agriculture production in developing countries (Jiggins, 1998,
Boserup, 1998, Bryceson, 1995) and that “women’s work sustains man’s power” (Jiggins,
1998) yet they do not own any land nor do they have access to credit facilities. Further,
women and girls spend long hours of the day fetching fuel wood, water and food.
Furthermore the education of the girl child is not taken seriously. Instead girls are
encouraged and sometimes forcefully married at very young ages. In such cases girls are
seen as a source of wealth (bride price) to the family and as such little attention is paid to
their education needs compared to the boy child. However, Jiggins (1998) observes that
social investments in females like in education can lead to reduced family size, higher
family income, better family nutrition, and improved quality of life thus leading to
development. HIV/AIDS is another important problem when it comes to rural
development in developing countries. This epidemic which is heavily affecting the young
and productive labour force is now turning out to be the most important threat to
development of rural areas.
Globalisation7 coupled with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank
imposed structural adjustment programmes in the developing nations too have their
impact on the rural dwellers and rural areas as a whole. The impact of globalisation is not
uniform (Narula and Dunning, 1999 and Long, 1996). A vast number of developing
countries continue to experience divergences in their income levels and consumption
patterns away from their counterparts in the industrialised countries. Further,
7Globalisation refers to the increasing integration of the world economy and to the decreasing capacity of
national state governments to follow policies which diverge from the interests of international capital”
(Raikes and Gibbon, 2000:51).
globalisation has so far brought relatively few economic gains to the least developed
countries such as those of Sub-Saharan Africa. It has been characterised by restructuring
of firms and states, an increase in global competition for markets for goods, closure or
sale of locally owned factories to multinationals and the disintegrating of the welfare state
(Mingione, 1991). The net result is lack of and/or reduction in employment opportunities
for many people (both rural and urban dwellers), diminishing in the provision of state
funded welfare services such as clean potable water, medicare, education among others.
This is most felt in the rural areas.
Challenges of Rural Development
The World Bank projects world population to increase to eight billion by the 2025 much
of which is expected to occur in developing countries (World Bank, 1996) and with a
significant rise in the rural sector. Thus given moderate income growth, food needs in
developing countries will nearly double. This poses a great challenge to the agricultural
sector. Considering the fact that land and water are increasingly becoming scarce,
environmentalists predict that future increase in food supply will only be realised from an
increase in biological yields rather than area expansion and increased cultivation and
irrigation of marginal and fragile environments. The World Bank predicts that this will
only be achieved if “international and domestic policies, institutional frameworks, and
public expenditure patterns are conducive to cost-effective and sustainable agricultural
production; otherwise the required technologies will not be developed and adopted, the
supportive infrastructure will not be built and maintained, land and water will not be
located to their highest-valued uses and farmers will not have the incentives to maintain
and improve the natural resources on which their livelihood depend” (World Bank,
With the continuous population increase comes an increase in demand and utilisation of
natural resources. Proper management utilisation and conservation of natural resources to
minimise degrading the environment is another challenging task in development. Most
natural resources ranging from terrestrial to aquatic occur in the rural areas. Considering
the rise in poverty levels in these areas, there is danger of environmental degradation as
the rural people struggle to survive on these resources. This may result in destruction of
the ecological system which plays a fundamental role in supporting life on earth.
Ecosystems produce renewable resources (such as food, fibre and timber) and ecological
services such as carbon and water cycles. Further ecosystem disturbance will interfere
with species interaction in a food web and their relations to water flow and
biogeochemical cycling which is complex, non-linear, and contain lags and
discontinuities, thresholds and limits (Folke et a,l 1997). To be able to raise agricultural
productivity while at the same time minimising environmental damage, society needs to
identify and make proper and productive use of untapped opportunities. This may include
improving household health and nutrition by working with women, tapping unused local
knowledge, giving smallholders access to services, knowledge and technology, better
management of common-property resources and giving rural people a voice through
empowerment (Agarwal, 1992, Batliwala, 1994, Dollar et a,l 1995, Leach, 1997). This is
yet another challenge if meaningful rural economic growth and development is to occur
(World Bank, 1996).
Rural Development in Kenya
Rural Kenya is a home for eighty percent of the Kenyan population while at the same
time providing employment opportunities (directly and indirectly) for seventy percent of
the population, (Republic of Kenya, 1995). Because of this, the Kenyan Government in
1983 started a strategy aimed at development of the rural areas. The strategy which came
to be known as District Focus for Rural Development (DFRD) harnesses and mobilises
resources to ensure their maximum utilisation for the development of rural areas
(Republic of Kenya, 1995). This involved directing and increasing the share of the total
resources available in the nation towards the rural areas by, improving agriculture
production through activities such as livestock development, water and minor irrigation
projects, afforestation, credit and marketing services; development of cottage and small
scale industries; development of the social service programmes especially education,
health services, sanitation and family planning; development of training programmes at
the Youth Polytechnics and Youth Development Centres. Development of minor roads
and housing and development and provision of extension services and utilising and
assisting voluntary agencies engaged in development work were also prioritised
(Republic of Kenya, 1974, 1979, 1984). Development of the rural areas is aimed at
improving the welfare of the rural communities because the bulk of the poor people in
Kenya reside in the rural areas and average incomes are much lower in the rural areas
than in the urban areas.
To enhance development of rural areas in Kenya, the performance of key sectors of the
economy in rural areas needs to be strengthened. This includes agricultural sector,
education and health. In Kenya the agricultural sector is the major sources of
employment. Estimates show that the sector is a means of livelihood to six million people
(Levin, 1994). Strengthening the agricultural sector involves a number of issues such as
empowering the farmers by improving their access to information on issues like timely
acquisition of required farm inputs at affordable prices, timely planting, management and
control of agricultural pests and diseases, timely harvesting and improved storage
capacity to minimise losses. Price stabilisation of farm produce is important for
strengthening the farmers’ market power. In the past years there has been a decline in
prices of major agricultural crops such as coffee, tea, and maize thus significantly
affecting their production in subsequent seasons (Republic of Kenya, 1997 and Levin,
1994). Development of rural infrastructure will significantly contribute to agricultural
development. Access to good roads and other communication facilities will improve the
efficiency and delivery of agricultural produce to markets thus reducing losses especially
of perishable products.
Agricultural development can further be enhanced by increasing the total arable land.
This will involve increase in total land under crop cultivation (both permanent and
seasonal crops) and pastures by increasing land under irrigation. 1993 estimates showed
that only 1% of Kenya’s arable land is under permanent crop, 37% under permanent
pastures and 660 km square was under irrigation8. Improvement of land under crop and
pastures will cater for the agricultural needs of the rural nomadic communities. This
8 (12/14/00 4:23 pm).
could result in increase in production of beef and dairy products from the rural nomadic
The forest adjacent dwellers in Kenya are resource constrained and are therefore most
often poor communities (KIFCON, 1992). To meet their needs sustainably would be to
achieve rural development. But as in other parts of the world a common pattern to rural
areas is the crisis of livelihoods generated by increasing rural populations and by weak
rights and access to natural resources. Sustainable rural development for forest adjacent
dwellers calls for strategies which will reinforce the need to off-set the pressures posed
on the forest resource both from the commercial, rich and poor people within and around
the forests. More important is the potential within the scope of this study to recognise the
ability of resource poor forest adjacent dwellers in utilising the forest resources (in this
case butterflies) to improve their welfare.
Study Rationale
The livelihood of communities living in and around conservation areas such as forests,
have for a long time been sustainably supported by extraction of resources from the forest
to meet their daily requirements. Items like thatching grass and building poles, medicinal
plants, fruits and vegetables, fish and game meat have been sourced from the forest.
However with the increasing human population the capacity of the forests to support the
requirements of the population is diminishing (ITTO, 2000). Consequently, forests are
increasingly becoming protected areas prohibiting any human activities. However barring
local people from using the resources in their environment in the name of conservation
will even make the conservation efforts of the government and other agencies even more
difficult (KIFCON, 1995). This is because people have evolved over time as custodians
of these resources and thus they command a capacity to conserve them in an enabling
environment. Therefore in the new situation there is a need by the state to cultivate an
enabling environment where the local people are able to directly benefit from these
resources while at the same time cooperate with the state in conserving them (Simeox and
Calvert, 1982).
This can be attempted for example by initiating community-based income generating
projects that will provide for the local community a chance to sustainably utilise the
forest based resources while at the same time ensuring their existence for future
generation (Lecup and Nicholson, 2000). Activities like bee keeping, production of silk
from silk warm and butterfly farming constitute some examples. To ensure the relevance
of such activities to the requirements and needs of the local people and conservation,
information is needed on how much income is generated on yearly basis, how the local
people use the income, and the impacts on the forest resources. In Kenya, butterfly
farming as a forest-community based activity has been started at Arabuko-Sokoke,
Shimba Hills and Kakamega Forests as a way to make rural people living adjacent to
these forests benefit from them in a sustainable way (Maundu and Sojah, 1997).
Aims and Objectives
This study aimed at finding out the various income sources of the rural people in the
butterfly farming areas, trends in involvement in butterfly farming by the rural people in
Kenya living around natural forest areas, the income they earn from butterfly farming and
how they use it, any developments activities that have resulted from farming of
butterflies, the challenges facing butterfly farming in Kenya and the impact of butterfly
farming on forest conservation.
Specific objectives
. How has the rural butterfly farming community in Kenya developed?
. What are the challenges facing butterfly farming in Kenya?
. What is the contribution of butterfly farming to forest conservation in Kenya?
Study area
This study was carried out in Kenya, Coast province, Kilifi/Malindi districts and
Kakamega district in Western province. The study area covered communities living
adjacent to Arabuko-Sokoke Forest at a radius of three kilometres from the edge of the
forest where butterfly farming is currently taking place, the Kipepeo Butterfly Farm and
Shimba Hills communities who sell their pupae through the Kipepeo Butterfly Farm at
the Coast (map 2) and Isecheno community at Kakamega Forest. Arabuko-Sokoke Forest
is situated 80 km north of Mombasa, Kenya’s second largest city and lies 35 km North of
Kilifi town and 17 km South West of Malindi town (Maundu, 1993). Kipepeo Butterfly
Farm is situated at the Gede Ruins approximately 1.5 km from the Arabuko-Sokoke
Forest at the Gede Village in Malindi District (map 3). Isecheno is located at Kakamega
Forest approximately 15 km from Kakamega town (map 4).
Arabuko-Sokoke Forest and the Kipepeo Butterfly Farm are both accessible by air, road
and sea while Isecheno is accessible by road and air. The principal means of reaching the
study area at the Coast is by the Mombasa-Malindi highway. Access by air is via Malindi
airport while by sea is via Chanoni and Leopard points at Malindi beach and through the
turtle bay at Watamu beach. The access to Isecheno by road is from Kakamega town
through Shinyaru while by air it is via chartered flights from Nairobi to Kakamega air
The study area at Arabuko-Sokoke falls into a zone whose average annual rainfall ranges
from slightly below 600 to just above 1000 mm (Moomaw, 1960, Mogaka, 1991). The
rainfall pattern is bimodal with a period of long rains from April to June and short rains
from October to December. The area experiences a dry spell from July to September and
January to March. The rainfall pattern is closely associated with the inter-tropical
convergence zone. The average annual temperatures are 25 degrees Celsius (Mogaka,
1991). At Isecheno, the area is wet with an average annual rainfall of 2080 mm, the
temperatures are fairly constant through out the year with a mean daily minimum of
11degrees Celsius and mean daily maximum of 26 degrees Celsius9.
Socio-economy and the welfare situation of the community
The welfare of the rural community in Kenya is determined by employment levels,
income earnings and distribution, morbidity rates, nutrition status, disease incidences,
food availability and nutrition levels (Republic of Kenya, 1997b). Despite that rural areas
in Kenya are reported to be providing employment opportunities to seventy percent of the
Kenyan population, the 1997/2001 National Development Plan indicates a limitation in
employment opportunities, low income levels, and a high incidence of poverty (Republic
of Kenya, 1997a). This is attributed to the increase in rural population from 19.43 million
in 1990 to 24.36 million in the year 2000 as opposed to urban population of 4.09 million
in 1990 and 7.44 million in the year 2000, decline in agricultural production as a result of
poor weather conditions (such as the recent el-nino rains), expensive agricultural inputs,
high losses of perishable produce resulting from inability to deliver them to the market on
time due to poor road conditions, lack of proper and adequate storage facilities and low
market prices (Republic of Kenya, 2000a).
The 1997-2001 Development Plans of Malindi/Kilifi and Kakamega Districts projected
the population in the districts to be 865,562 persons by the year 2001 with the area
around Arabuko-Sokoke Forest having a population density of 268 persons per square km
and a mean household size of 13 persons (Maundu et al, 1997). The main income sources
in the district were agriculture, livestock keeping, tourism, fisheries, wage employment
and informal sector activities (Republic of Kenya 1997b) and sale of butterfly pupae from
1993 (Mogaka,1991, Maundu, 1993, Maundu et al, 1997). The spatial distribution of
income in the districts depended on urbanisation and the resource profile and distribution
in the area. There were more income generating activities in the urban areas as compared
to the rural areas where people depended mainly on small scale farming activities. The
mean annual per capita income of the community adjacent to the Arabuko-Sokoke Forest
9 http:// (12/18/00 1:01 p.m).
was 1,470 Kenya shillings (US$ 20) (Mogaka, 1991). The infant mortality rate (IMR) in
the said period was at 100/1000. There was an improvement compared to the period
1992-1996 which recorded 147/1000 (Republic of Kenya, 1994). However this infant
mortality rate was considered high and was due to the high levels of malnutrition, lack of
awareness about infant care among the mothers and traditional and cultural beliefs. There
was a high disease incidence especially in the rural areas prompting people to spend most
of their income on medical bills. This significantly reduced the income available for food
and other basic needs especially in rural households. Chronic malnutrition was consistent
in the districts. Nutrition surveys conducted in 1982 showed that fifty-three percent of
school going children were malnourished; forty-nine percent had stunted growth, while
6.8 percent were wasted children.
In research endeavours, external agents are often assumed to have access to resources of
some kind or even at times represent some threat to people’s internal organisation and
system of operation upon which the research is done. As such, if the researcher has to get
access to non biased data he/she should “behave appropriately” and hand over control to
the people (Scoones and Thompson, 1994:108). To achieve this, the researcher has to
view the respondents as equal partners and not view them as objects to be researched on.
Participatory approach in data collection could be of help in meeting this objective. In
such a research set up, research is done “with the people” and not “on the people”. In
consideration of the above, Participatory Rural Appraisal (PRA) methodology was used
in primary data collection. Advocates of the PRA approach argue that the production of
knowledge and the generation of potential solutions in order for them to be realistic and
sustainable should be carried out by those whose livelihood strategies form the subject for
research. The methodology combines research with action, offering opportunities for
mobilising local people for collective action (op. cit, 108).
PRA offers a creative approach to information sharing and a challenge to prevailing
biases and preconceptions about rural people’s knowledge, and further it recognises that
rural people should have control over its use (ibid, 109). The methodology gives the local
people a chance to present their ideas in a form they can discuss, modify and extend.
They become creative analysts and performers, rather than reactive respondents. The
PRA tools were used with their limitations in mind. Some of the limitations included;
language barrier, manipulation of respondents, respondents’ degree of participation,
cultural and religious beliefs which rebar certain members of the society from free
associating with outsiders and gender discrimination implying that men and women can
not freely discuss issues in an open forum. In a case where a researcher is carrying out
research in an area where she/he is not familiar with the local language of the people
there can be a barrier to free communication exchange of ideas and free flow of
information this can be a source of errors in the data. In the present study, a research
assistant coming from the local tribe and who could fluently speak and understand the
local native language aided in translations in some cases were respondents could not
speak Kiswahili or English. The respondents were given ample time to discuss and
analyse the issues being researched and the use of leading questions by the researcher
was avoided. Instead free discussions were encouraged. The respondents freely used
familiar objects of their choice like sticks, small stones and leaves to draw and present
information on the ground rather than using paper and pen to increase their participation.
In cases were cultural and religious beliefs barred some members from participation,
possible alternatives were sorted out. For example, during the research at the Coast I
came across a butterfly farming household with a believed women of the Muslim culture
who was not allowed to see or even talk to any male during her period of moaning yet she
was the one who could provide the information needed. In this case I tried to find out
from her daughters when she would be allowed to talk to men. I then came back and
discussed with her. In cases where men and women were traditionally not allowed to mix,
exchange ideas and discuss issues in open fora, different sessions of men and women
were held separately. The following PRA tools were used:
Matrix scoring
This tool shows different perceptions about advantages and disadvantages of a particular
issue among different social groups in a community (Pretty et al, 1995:251). In this study,
the rural people identified their income sources, their uses and allocated scores on a
matrix where the maximum and minimum scores where set to be 8 and 1 respectively.
Time line and chronologies
This is a tool that helps one to look at activities over time. In this study, the tool was used
to investigate the trend of involvement of the rural people in butterfly farming over time.
Information was obtained from the Kipepeo Butterfly Farming project records from the
beginning of the project up to the period of the current research.
The key informants during the interviews were the butterfly farmers, representatives of
Kipepeo Butterfly Farm, representatives of the Forest Department and the representative
of Kenya Forest Research Institute (KEFRI). A list of all the butterfly farmers was
obtained from Kipepeo Butterfly Farm. Systematic sampling was done where the group
representatives were selected for interviewing first. Later, random sampling was done to
select the other farmers who were not group representatives to be interviewed from each
of the 25 groups. Five farmers were then randomly selected from each group. Care was
taken to ensure that all the 25 groups were fairly represented. The interview was semi-
structured and aimed at gathering data on the following nine key variables.
Number of butterfly species grown
Each farmer interviewed provided data on the total number of butterfly species he/she
farms. This also included the commonly grown species, how available the species are in
the forest and the location of their habitats in the forest. Also the farmer was asked to
give reasons why he/she preferred farming particular species to others. This information
showed the farmers’ knowledge about butterfly diversity, how they utilized the butterfly
diversity in the forest, and if the regular collection of preferred species had any impact on
the availability of these preferred species in the forest.
Number of species sold so far
From the sales records of the farmers, the total number of each species sold was obtained.
This helped to find out market supply of each species, the preferred butterfly species in
the market, and how the farmers responded to the market requirements of these species.
Employment opportunity
The farmers discussed their opinions as to how they so far view butterfly farming as a
new and alternative source of employment in the rural areas. The farmers identified the
common economic activities that they are involved in and compared the income they earn
from the economic activity with that earned from butterfly farming. A ranking exercise
was then done to determine which of the economic activities provided more income to
them. The information obtained could show whether or not butterfly farming was taken
as a new and alternative employment opportunity in the rural areas.
Market incentives
The farmers discussed how they market the pupae. The standards required for pupae to be
marketed were brought out. The prices offered to different pupae species locally and
internationally were discussed. Terms of payment for pupae delivered were discussed. A
separate interview session was held with representatives of the management of Kipepeo
Butterfly Farm to cross-check the information obtained from the farmers.
Sustainable livelihoods
Based on the financial returns they got, the farmers gave their views whether or not
butterfly farming could sustain their livelihoods. Discussions were done comparing with
the other economic activities the farmers were involved in.
Disease and pest occurrence
The farmers identified the diseases and pests common in the different stages of the life
cycle of a butterfly. They explained how they tried to handle disease and pest problems.
The farmers discussed their different opinions regarding the extent and losses of pupae
resulting from diseases and pests. The most frequently affected species were identified.
The economic loss resulting from the loss of different species was explained. The farmers
also explained how the diseases and pest problems challenged the development of
butterfly farming in the rural areas. Information on any farmers who might have dropped
butterfly farming or reduced the number of species farmed or even reduced stocks of a
specific species due to disease and pest problem was also obtained.
Forest encroachment
Discussions with representatives from the Forest Department and Kenya Forestry
Research Institute were done to establish incidences of the butterfly farming and non
butterfly farming rural community living at the periphery of the forest extending their
agricultural land into the forest land. Past cases of forest encroachment before butterfly
farming was introduced in the area were discussed. Any cases of forest encroachment in
the nine years of butterfly farming in the area were also discussed.
Conservation of biological diversity
The current status of threatened, endemic and rare species of animals and plants in the
forest was discussed with the representatives of the Forest Department. Information was
obtained as to whether the conservation status of these species was improving and
whether there was any link between conservation and butterfly farming.
Habitat conservation
Discussions were done with the farmers, representatives of the Forest Department and the
management of Kipepeo Butterfly Farm on the impacts of collection of butterflies and
their food plants on the conservation of the habits that support the butterflies and their
food plants. The farmers expressed their views regarding the effects to different forest
habitats resulting from their (farmers) regular presence in the forest.
Stakeholder analysis
Stakeholder analysis is a holistic approach or procedure for gaining an understanding of a
system, and assessing the impact of changes to the system, by means of identifying the
key actors or stakeholders and assessing their respective interests in the system (Grimble
and Wellard, 1996:175). The approach has potential where interventions are likely to
involve conflicts and trade-offs, such as the cases of common property resources
(Farrington, 1996:2). In this study, the stakeholders in the butterfly farming and trading
industry were identified and described based on their different roles and interaction
modes. To identify who had a stake in butterfly farming and trading, a number of group
sessions were held in which discussions were done between the researcher and the
members of the different groups. The following groups were represented: the local
community, the Forest Department and Kenya Wildlife services, local environment
conservation groups, and Kipepeo Butterfly Farm. The analysis was then done by
interviewing the stakeholders who had been identified.
Transect and group walks.
Transects refer to systematic walks through an area. This allows one to associate a set of
natural conditions such as climate and soils and agricultural activities such as farming and
other activities used to exploit the natural resource base. This tool is used alongside with
other tools such as aerial photographs, survey maps and Geographical Information
Systems (GIS) maps. In this study, transect walks were mainly conducted through the
forest to establish any incidences of forest destruction such as logging and charcoal
Data Analysis
The data collected was computed and analyzed by help of Excel. Charts were developed
by the help of Excel Chart Wizard where comparisons, patterns and trends in the data
were analyzed.
Contribution of Butterfly farming to rural development
Source of employment and income to the community
The community in the study area had five different income sources namely; butterfly
farming, bee keeping, subsistence crop farming (agriculture) wage labor and others
(income from the informal sector, and financial gifts from relatives working in the urban
areas). Butterfly farming was found to be the major income source (figure1).
Bee keep
Wage Lab.
Butterfly Farming (70%)
Others (2%)
Wage Labour (3%)
Agriculture (15%)
Bee Keeping (10%)
Figure 1, Income sources of the rural people in the study area
Source: this thesis
During the study period, there were a total of 700 registered and unregistered small scale
butterfly farmers at Arabuko-Sokoke and Shimba Hills and two independent large scale
farmers at Mida and Kakamega areas. The small scale farmers were all indigenous
Africans people natives of the study area while the two independent large scale farmers
were settlers of European origin. The unregistered farmers sold their butterfly pupae
using the names of the registered ones. The small scale farmers sold their butterfly pupae
through the Kipepeo Butterfly Farm. This was because each individual farmer produced a
small number of pupae on weekly basis and since orders from the international markets
and shipment of the pupae was done on weekly basis; each individual small scale farmer
could not afford to meet the shipment costs for each of them to sell the pupae they
produced directly to international market. The large scale farmers exported their pupae
directly to buyers abroad. This was because their pupae production on weekly basis was
of a big scale to meet the coasts of direct shipment. More females than males were
involved in butterfly farming at the small scale level.
1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000
Number of Registered Farmers
Figure 2, Trend in registration of small scale butterfly farmers
Source: This thesis
Figure 2 shows the annual trend in registration and involvement in butterfly farming since
1993 when butterfly farming begun (data source Kipepeo Butterfly Farm). Statistics
obtained from Kipepeo Butterfly Farm showed that by 1997, a total of US$ 98,837 had
been earned from the export of 64,949 pupae to overseas market by the small scale
butterfly farmers. Pupae production and sales statistics of the independent large scale
producers were not available. Figure 3 gives the yearly number of pupa sold and the
corresponding income earned by the small scale farmer.
Promotion and Development of area eco-tourism
By 1997, a total of US$ 2518.0776 (KShs 143,820) had been earned from ecotourists
visiting the butterfly exhibits at the Kipepeo Butterfly Farm from gate collection and
197.49628 (KSh 11,280) was donated. A total of 383 Kenyan adult resident ecotourists
and 142 children, 1300 non Kenyan resident adults and 95 children had visited the
butterfly exhibits at the Kipepeo Butterfly Farm (data source Kipepeo Butterfly Farm).
Figures 4, 5a and 5b give the average monthly breakdown.
1994 1995 1996 1997
Pupae production and Earnings
Figure 3, Exports of pupae and their respective yearly earnings
Source: This thesis
Months of the Year
Number of Ecotourists
Res. Adult
Res. Child
NonRes A
NonRes C
Figure 4, The monthly trend of ecotourists visiting the Butterfly Exhibitions
Source: This thesis
25000 J
Gate collections KShs
Donations KShs
Figure 5 a, Comparison of year round earnings from gate collections and donations from
Source: This thesis
3000 J
Donations Kshs
Figure 5 b, Year round earnings from donations
Source: This thesis
Improvement of the local community welfare situation
On how the income earned was spent by the people in the study area, eight different
income expenditures (uses) were identified for the income from butterfly farming and
other sources (figure 6) with food, medicare and school fees being the highest expenses
across all the income sources. The use of income from butterfly farming was spread over
all the uses while uses from the income accrued from subsistence crop farming
(agriculture) was food, medicare, school fees and other incidental expenditures. Income
from bee keeping was used in medicare, the bulk of it in food and the remaining in other
uses like traveling and leisure. Other sources of income to the families interviewed were
identified as money received from family members mainly children working in cities and
that got from fishing and small wage labor within their villages. Figure 6 gives the
percentages of individual uses from each source.
Medicare Fees Food Clothing Traveling Leisure Others
Butt. Farm
Bee keep
Butt. Farm
Bee keep
Income Sources
Figure 6, How the people in the study area spent their income
Source: This thesis
Challenges of Butterfly farming in Kenya
The study revealed that the main challenges faced by butterfly farmers in Kenya are;
marketing of produce, very low prices of some species of butterflies, diseases and pests
attacking the larvae before it pupates and the seasonality of species of high value.
Marketing of their produce
There was seasonality of the international markets where some buyers could not buy the
pupae on a regular basis. A total of twelve markets were available with only 50% being
regular. The regular markets were, Stratford-upon-Avon Butterfly Farm (UK), Butterfly
Pavilion and Insect Centre (USA), The Academy of Natural Sciences Philadelphia
(USA), Day Butterfly Centre (USA), Florida Cypress Gardens (USA) and Cockerell
Butterfly Centre (USA).
Pupae prices
There came out a big price difference between the pupae prices at the international
markets and the prices given by the local buying agency. At the international market, the
buyers gave a quotation of the most expensive pupa at US$2.5 while the same species
went at US$0.87 at the buying agency level. The lowest pupa price internationally was
quoted to be US$ 1.00 with a local agency price of US$ 0.13. According to the local
buying agency, the differences between the local and international prices meet the costs
of packaging and shipment to overseas markets. The local prices according to the farmers
were low in comparison with the international prices. The farmers therefore wished
increase of the local prices. However most of the farmers interviewed seemed not to be
aware of the costs involved in shipment of the pupae to overseas market. Figure 7 shows
comparison between the two price levels.
Highest High Medium Low Lowest
Price Range Category
US Dollars
Inter Price
Local Price
Figure 7, Comparison between international and local pupae prices
Source: This thesis
Diseases and Pests
The farmers expressed concern about some pests that attacked the larvae, these mainly
being ants, spiders, wasps, parasitic wasps and lizards. There seemed to be a relationship
between the degree of occurrence of the pests and diseases to the total number of species
a farmer bred at a time and whether or not the farmer had proper breeding facilities.
Those farmers who had good butterfly flight cages made from nets of good quality and
planted the food plants the butterflies fed on at the different stages of their life cycle in
these cages experienced less problems of predation. This was because the cages kept
away predators like lizards, birds and parasitic wasps. The farmers who made their
butterfly cages from improvised materials like old manila sacks suffered more losses
from predation. This was because with time, the manila sacks could develop large holes
as a result of heat from the sun. These holes could let in predators more easily. Secondly,
it was more difficult to plant the butterfly food plants in cages made from sacks as the
sacks did not allow in sufficient light to enable normal growth of plants.
0 2 4 6 8 10 12
Total Number of Butterfly pupae species being produced
Percentage of facilities farmer has in the farm
Disease & Pests high
Disease & Pests medium
Diseases & Pests low
Disease & Pests V-low
Figure 8, Disease and pest occurrence
Source: This thesis
Species Seasonality
The farmers rear a total of 45 different species of butterflies from 23 different Genera
(appendix 3). However the farmers expressed concern over the increasing scarcity of
some species in the forest especially those which fetched good international prices.
During the study, the farmers grouped the availability of the butterfly species that were of
commercial value to them in six different groups (figure 9). The first group was that of
those species which are now not found at all in the forest. This group comprised of
species of very high value in the international market. According to the farmers these
group of species were available in the forest in large numbers when they begun to farm
them. But as they continued to catch them in large numbers from the forest, their numbers
have since then been reducing until they are now not found at all in the forest. The second
group was of those butterfly species which are now rare to come by in the forest. This
group comprise of butterfly species which command a high commercial value in the
market. According to the farmers, the current rate of utilisation of this group of butterfly
species has greatly reduced their numbers in the forest until now they can rarely find
them in the forest. The third group comprised of those butterfly species which are not
easily found. This category comprised of those species whose market price is medium.
Their current utilisation has increased due to the unavailability of species of the first two
groups. This has made them to increasingly become not easily available in the forest.
The fourth group comprised of those butterfly species whose numbers in the forest are
reducing. This group comprised of those butterfly species of medium price in the market.
According to the farmers interviewed, the availability of this group of species in the
forest is slowly reducing. The fifth group consists of those butterfly species which are
half year seasonal. Species in this group are found in the forest in large numbers from
April to September the other months they are out of season. This group of butterflies are
those of low market value. The sixth group comprise of those which are found in the
forest in large numbers the whole year. This group comprise of species of the lowest
price in the market. Their breeding for sale in the past has been rarely done because of
their low price. However this is now changing as species in other categories are becoming
scarce in the forest. Breeding of butterfly species in the sixth group is now increasing
despite their low value in the market.
not found at all rear to come by not easy found reducing 1/2yearseasonal Plenty year round
Availability of different species in their habitats
Number of species farmers farm based on their availability
Occurence of butterfly species
Number of species utilised by farmers
Figure 9, The relationship between species availability and utilization
Source: This thesis
Impact of Butterfly Farming to Forest Development and Conservation
100 percent of all the farmers confidently confirmed that there has been increased
improvement in conserving the forest in the last nine years of butterfly farming. The
improvement has been in these areas; hunting and collection of animal trophies is very
low, pit sawing has been eradicated completely, mining of sand glass has been totally
stopped, the local people have established wood lots as an alternative source of building
materials. The Forest Department (FD) also expressed similar views concerning the
impact of butterfly farming on forest conservation. The management of FD said that in
addition to the government deploying forest guards, the butterfly farmers are an
additional force thus boosting the forest severance. During the transect walks in the
forest, no incidents of illegal logging and charcoal burning was noticed.
How the butterfly farming rural community has developed.
Although butterfly farming is still a young and upcoming way of utilizing non-tree forest
products for the conservation of the natural forests and the development of the rural
communities adjacent to these forests in Kenya, remarkable developments have been
recorded by the currently participating communities. From the study, a discussion of the
development so far achieved by the rural people involved in butterfly farming is done in
the light of:
. The livelihoods of the people
. Conservation education
. Development of area eco-tourism
. Involvement of local community in management of the forest
The livelihood of the people
According to Chambers (1993), peoples´ livelihoods mean accessibility to adequate
assets, food and cash for physical and social well-being and security against
impoverishment. The livelihoods have to be sustainable in a way for the people to realize
the benefits that is to say; a way of thinking about the objectives, scope and priorities for
development has to be developed, in order to enhance progress in poverty elimination. In
this way, the poor people will be helped to achieve lasting improvements against the
indicators of poverty that they define. “The premise is that the effectiveness of
development activity can be improved through: systematic – but manageable – analysis
of poverty and its causes; taking a wider and better informed view of the opportunities for
development activity, their likely impact and ‘fit’ with livelihood priorities and placing
people and the priorities they define firmly at the centre of analysis and objective-setting”
(Ashley and Carney, 1999:6).
The livelihood of the butterfly farming community in Kenya has for the last eight years
shown remarkable achievements. The people have an assured and steady income from the
export of pupa (figure 3) and from the commission from the gate collection at the
exhibition of butterflies at the visitors´ centre (figure 5a and 5b). By 1997 an average
farmer earned an annual income of US$ 737.510 which is far above the mean annual per
capital income of the residents of the area which was US$ 20 (KSh 1470) as observed by
Mogaka (1991) before butterfly farming was introduced. This is in line with studies
carried out on other similar butterfly farming enterprises in the world. For example, in
Papua New Guinea in 1981, it was estimated that a “diligent butterfly farmer could earn
an annual income of about US$ 1200 in a rural set-up where the mean annual per capita
income is US$ 50” (BOSTID, 1983:3).
The improved income level for the butterfly farmers has helped them meet the financial
requirements of their basic necessities namely; food, shelter, medicare and school fees.
Improvement in food situation is in two dimensions; firstly the money earned is directly
used to purchase industrially produced food stuffs such as sugar, salt and cooking fat.
Secondly, some farmers have used part of the income from butterfly farming to hire
and/or purchase suitable land elsewhere and purchase farm inputs such as fertilizers,
seeds and pesticides for improved agricultural production. This they do because crop
raiding by wild animals on farms adjacent to the forest is rampant and significantly
reduces the annual agricultural production of the households with farms adjacent to the
forest (Muoria, 2001). In some cases farmers have abandoned their farms near the forest
edge (Maundu, 1993). This has led to greatly improved subsistence agriculture
production among the butterfly farmers placing agricultural production as their third
income source (figure 1). This has also improved the nutrition status of the farming
community justifying the use of butterflies as a forest resource also for developing and
improving subsistence agricultural food production. The World Bank notes that “the
overwhelming challenge in Africa is to increase agricultural growth. Far more than in any
other region, a prosperous agriculture is the engine without which poverty cannot be
reduced, natural resources cannot be managed sustainably and food security cannot be
assured” (World, 1992:20).
10 Computed from total export of pupae by 1997 which was US$ 98,837 divided by the total number of
butterfly farmers by 1997 which was 134.
Closely related to improved food availability is school attendance and education of the
children. This is because a well fed child is in a fit state to learn. Improvement in school
attendance among the children (of the butterfly farming households) especially the girls is
another remarkable achievement. The farmers spent a substantial amount of their income
in paying school fees and purchasing other school related items like; uniforms, books and
writing materials (figure 6). This is vital in ensuring that the children especially the girls
get basic education at an early stage in life to improve on their literacy status considering
the fact that “two out of every three children not attending primary school are girls, and
that half of all women in developing countries are unable to read or write” (World Food
Programme, 2000:14). Investment in education, especially of the girls, “is one of the
wisest and most profitable investments a country can make, it is the key to empowerment
and gives the girl the knowledge and tools she needs to improve her own life and that of
her family and society as a whole. Girls´ education contributes significantly to improving
the income, health and nutrition of families and can bring reductions in infant and
maternal mortality rates” (ibid, 13).
The improvement of primary health care services to the farming households is also
another key issue. A major difference in primary health care status was noted between the
farming and non-farming households with farming households showing a better
understanding of the importance of good primary health care. This is in line with the goal
of the World Health Organisation (WHO) in achieving universal primary health care by
all by the twenty first century. WHO outlines the basic principles in primary health care
as “education in methods of preventing illness, promotion of healthy nutrition,
availability of safe water and sanitation, access to maternal and child health and family
planning services, immunization against major infectious diseases, prevention and control
of local endemic diseases, appropriate treatment of common diseases and injuries and
provision of essential medication” (McMurray and Smith, 2001:35, Staudt, 1991:246).
The study revealed that the farmers were organised into twenty five different groups and
that these groups formed a good platform for several other functions. One of these other
functions was that farmers time and again were able to get lectures from resource persons
on primary health care especially on the importance of good nutrition for good health,
timely and proper immunization of children, proper and timely treatment of local
endemic diseases especially malaria, and the ways to and implications of contracting
HIV/AIDS. Part of the money they earned was used in improving the household primary
health care situation especially in the treatment of malaria. Alongside the financial
benefits accruing from butterfly farming, the local people are now slowly realising their
various potentials. A number of income generating activities have been started by
different butterfly farming groups including, bee keeping, goat farming, zero grazing
units for dairy cattle, poultry farming and small village kiosks and shops.
Development of local Conservation Education
“Since most conservation objectives and decisions will have to be realised through the
political or democratic process, a major educational exercise will be needed to help those
charged with carrying out more specific conservation practices” (Newbound, 1974:437)
Conservation is “the process through which natural resources are managed to allow
partial or total exploitation, for individual, community or commercial use, without in any
way jeopardising the long-term viability of the resource base or inflicting undue or
excessive environmental damage. It is held to encompass full consideration of the varying
requirements of the local human population, together with those of wildlife species or
habitat to be conserved, including an appreciation of the ability of each to adapt to any
change” (Andy, 1991:60-61). For the local community to be able to conserve a given
resource they need to have access to information and knowledge in conservation and
about the resource to be conserved. Acquisition of such information may involve training
and education which can take different approaches. Gaining local support to involve the
local community to utilize forest products like butterflies in order to conserve the forest
resource can be termed as a metadisciplinary approach in conservation. This approach
involves training a trainee to become an expert with a solid grounding in a given area of
expertise and with a general knowledge of a problem area. The trainee thus becomes a
specialist in terms of his/her expert knowledge and a generalist in terms of a set of
problems to which he/she becomes committed (Westoby, 1987).
Butterfly farmers can be termed as trained specialists in butterfly farming as they have a
solid grounding in this subject. They have general knowledge in broad issues of the forest
including flora and faunal composition and they have thus become more enlightened on
the issues involving conserving the forest which they now depend on. Bearing in mind
that butterfly farmers are ordinary people drawn from rural communities adjacent to
forests, and have managed to acquire this training and education, it can be argued that
introduction of butterfly farming in these areas has helped local community dwellers to
improve their conservation knowledge. The economic utilization of butterflies is a tactic
being used by forest planners, administrators, and natural scientists operating within
voluntary or governmental frameworks to impart conservation education to the local
people adjacent to the forests (Warren and Goldsmith, 1974). Apart from the farmers,
exhibitions at the Butterfly Centre have contributed greatly in developing local
conservation education. At this centre, domestic and foreign tourists access information
on how local people can directly benefit from forests resources by for example involving
themselves in projects like butterfly farming and bee keeping, how they (the tourists) can
be involved in conservation work and how their visit to the exhibitions is vital to
conserving the forest.
Development in local Eco-tourism
Eco-tourism is a concept which aims at utilising the desire for man to be closer to nature
and at the same time enhance conservation, development and control over the negative
impacts of visitors to the ecology, culture and aesthetics of a place. According to Oteket
(1995), eco-tourism involves “responsible travel to natural areas which covers the
environment and improves the welfare of the local people” (Oteket, 1995:5). However, it
is worth mentioning that eco-tourism is not a new phenomenon. Young (1986) observes
that it has been in practice for a considerable time as exemplified by safari tours of
Africa, mountain climbing in the Rockies, and hiking to the top of the Peruvian Andes.
“But what is new is the heightened awareness of host governments of a new industry
capable in some way of generating millions of dollars in annual revenue” (Young,
1986:362). Eco-tourism can take different dimensions, for example European exploration
and adventures to new places in steamships in the last century. More recently, is the mass
media appeal to natural wonders as exemplified by the recent wave of digital and print
medial appeal to go and see tropical wonders vast lands. This has resulted in substantial
investments in off beat destination sports for the naturalists visiting natural attraction sites
especially in the tropics. The investments include fully equipped research stations for
university and natural museums conducting field research studies and county hotels and
lodges for holiday makers. The most current dimension of eco-tourism, especially in the
tropical countries, is the generation, exhibition and export of plants and animals to
foreign markets. This involves establishment of snake parks close to or within natural
environments, bee farming, butterfly farming and exhibitions, silculture, and
establishment of tree houses (observation points) within rainforests (BOSTID, 1983,
Young, 1986, Parsons, 1992, Santiapillai, 1999).
Within the present study, eco-tourism activities in the study area included butterfly
farming and exhibitions at the visitors centre. The visitors’ centre had a display of live
butterfly species in flight cages complete with their respective food plants. It also had a
laboratory facility where entomological work related to butterfly pests and diseases is
being conducted, and a section where packaging and dispatch of pupae to foreign markets
is done. There are also separate displays of well labelled and mounted butterflies, and the
life cycle of a butterfly. Included here was also the whole process of butterfly farming
where the visitors were systematically taken through all the stages to produce desirable
butterfly pupae for the international market. Other eco-tourism activities included forest
walks and bird watching. This involved taking the visitors through guided walks in the
forest to appreciate the forest environment. To facilitate the appreciation, ‘tree houses’
have been constructed at strategic points. They serves as platforms where tourists are able
to view the different tropical rain forest canopy layers, a more secure place to observe
certain animals especially those difficult to come cross by in a thick forest.
The immediate gain associated with eco-tourism for tropical nations is creation of new
employment opportunities for local naturalists, teachers and tour operators, revenue
accruing to state from gate charges for use of national parks, game reserves, and other
natural attraction sites and increased use of local hotels and lodges (Oteket, 1995,
Gordon, 1995 Parsons, 1992 and Young, 1986). Within the present study, butterfly
farming has directly contributed to development of the local eco-tourism and the rural
community in a number of ways. The revenue generated from gate collections and
donations (figure 5a and 5b) is channelled to the local community for use in areas as
maintenance and/or upgrading of rural access roads and supporting genuinely needy
students in local primary and secondary schools village and/or youth polytechnics to meet
their fee requirements. Job opportunities have also been created to the rural community
through involving local tour guides who may serve tourists or as field assistants to
students and researchers conducting research and other studies in these forests. Research
work in these places has also lead to an increase in the use of local hotel and lodging
Involvement of the local community in managing forests
In the past, the community adjacent to these forests was mainly barred from extracting
any resources from the forest by the then Forest Department (KIFCON, 1994). The move
to bar people came as a result of increased human encroachment on forest land, too much
extraction of timber, firewood and animal trophies from the forest at a rate incompatible
to natural replenishment. This resulted in the establishment of nature reserves within
these forests thus totally banning cutting, grazing, and removal of forest produce or
disturbance of flora, hunting, fishing and disturbance of fauna. This prohibition was
thought to protect the forest biodiversity for future use. This for a long time created big
enmity between the locals and the FD thus making conservation work more difficult.
Despite this move, illegal extraction of forest products continued and slowly the forests
were diminishing. This prompted the FD to look for ways to incorporate the local
community in managing the forests. This resulted in the birth of projects like butterfly
farming among others.
The farming of butterflies is one of the ways the local community is being involved in
utilising and conserving the forest resource. The economic benefits locals get from the
project have made them feel to some extent that the forest belongs to them and not to the
FD. Thus they are now actively involved in conservation work. The farming of butterflies
has helped to link development and conservation and led to the winning of local support
for the conservation of the forests. This has helped to demonstrate that the forests can
provide new and unexpected income sources and that it is of greater value as intact
wildlife than as land cleared for agriculture.
Challenges of Butterfly farming in Kenya
Just like any other upcoming economic activity, butterfly farming being at an embryo
stage in Kenya has challenges to meet to develop its full potential. Discussion of the
challenges is done in two dimensions namely; production and marketing.
Production challenges
In any economic production venture, the realisation of the goals of production will
depend on the degree of efficiency in the production. The level of efficiency will depend
on different factors, such as the technology in use, the environmental conditions under
which production work is being done and the inputs. The technology in use will also be
affected by the availability of the right instrumentation to facilitate its use, the timing and
the technological know how of the personnel involved in production. The timing depends
on the availability of the inputs while environmental conditions are determined by the
physical location of the production work.
Efficiency in butterfly farming requires the right combination and set up of all these
factors. To be able to produce pupae which meet the market standards, the farmer needs
to fully understand the concept of the life cycle of a butterfly, the environmental
conditions favourable for the metamorphosis of larvae to pupae and finally to an adult
butterfly. Further, the farmer will need to have the right instruments to be able to achieve
this also; there should be a good supply of adult butterflies from their natural habitat to
lay the required eggs to start the life cycle. As indicated by the results, the farmers
seemed to be challenged by the diseases and pests attacking the butterflies before
reaching the pupae stage. An analysis of the relationship between availability of proper
farming facilities and the number of species type farmed on a scatter graph showed a
positive correlation (figure 8). Farmers who had all the required facilities were able to
farm many different species at a time with very low incidences of diseases and pests (see
figure 8). The production level for this category of farmers was very high. Like wise
farmers who had minimal facilities experienced frequent incidences of diseases and pests
and thus recorded low production turn out. This is in line with observations made by
Parsons (1992) who argues that adopting the idealized model of a butterfly farm which
has all the required facilities and set in the proper environment will contribute greatly to
the reduction of the concentration of parasitoids and predators of pupae, and will give the
farmer an enabling environment to regularly assess the stocks in the farm. This in the
long run increases production. The production level was also affected by the proximity of
the farm relative to the forest. Farmers who had access to most of the facilities and had
their farms located close to the forest, produced more pupae of species of high value than
those whose farms were farther away from the forest edge. For example, Shimba Hill
farmers had their production right on the forest. These farmers produced more valuable
species than those located far away. This is in line with findings put forward by Gagne
and Gressitt (1982) that proximity of habitats containing healthy wild populations will be
necessary for the success of butterfly farming. Parsons (1992) also argues that successful
farming of butterfly species which have more specialised ecological conditions will not
be achieved in absence of adjacent areas of prime habitats.
The seasonality of some butterfly species also affected the production levels. One species
Amauris niavius was reported not to be found by most farmers interviewed, while seven
species were reported to have become rare in the forest including Charaxes cithaeron,
Charaxes protoclea, Charaxes varanes, Charaxes violetta, Charaxes jahlusa, Euxanthe
wakefieldi, Euphaedra nephron. This was a challenge to the farmers as it could imply that
continuous extraction of species from the forest without returning any back may lead to
depletion of the wild stocks. This will beat the very conservation purpose the farmers are
committed to. Those species reported being reducing in number commanded higher
prices than those which are still in plenty. Perhaps this could be one reason why their
extraction was much higher than others. The reduction of some species could also depend
on other factors like the climate, habitat condition and not necessarily the extraction
levels. However more detailed research and continuous monitoring are needed to be able
to come to concrete conclusions.
Market challenges
The availability of markets for goods produced in any enterprise is crucial to the
realisation of the long term goals of the enterprise. Market availability in turn depends on
how well the product being marketed is advertised, the quality of the product, the price of
that product relative to the prices of similar products in the market and the tests of the
targeted consumer. The long term goal of butterfly farming is to conserve the forests
while at the same time enabling the local community to earn a living directly from the
forest. For this to be achieved, the farmers should be in a position to sell the pupae they
produce at the right time at a reasonable price. For this to be achieved proper marketing
of Kenyan butterflies to the targeted consumers should be done. Low local market price
was one of the factors affecting production (see figure7). This represents a challenge to
the local buying agency to try to cut down on overhead costs so that higher prices can be
paid to the farmers. Also a problem of seasonality in markets was reported. This also
challenges the local buying agency to find alternative markets so that all year markets for
pupae of all species are available.
Impact of Butterfly Farming to Forest Conservation
Though still at its embryo stage, butterfly farming has so far shown a positive indication
towards the conservation of the forest biodiversity. If properly carried out and the
challenges facing it are handled carefully, tangible result will be seen in the long run.
Conservation of the forest resource can be seen in three dimensions of which two are
inter-twined namely conservation of the different forest habitats and flora and fauna
species within these habitats and reduction in forest encroachment. The major aim of
conservation is to enhance, perpetuate and improve the survival of what is being
conserved (Morris et al, 1991). In any conservation effort, habitat loss is crucial. If the
habitat is destroyed or altered in any way so that it no longer favours the ecological
requirements of the fauna species therein, the fauna species must either change in order to
adapt to the new habitat conditions migrate to new habitats with similar ecological
conditions as the mother habitat or simply go extinct.
Butterfly farming seems to be on the right track in conserving forest habitats. The farmers
through their involvement, are now more familiar with the ecological requirements of
different animal species, the different forest habits that support their survival and thus any
form of utilisation of these habitats be it leisure or in physical material forms. This
includes careful collection of butterflies to stock their farms or butterfly food plants so
that minimum negative impacts to the flora and flora occur. Also through commercial
utilisation of butterflies the local community is increasingly getting informed about those
forest habits that are supporting endemic, rear or endangered species. This has helped in
the protection of these species by avoiding any form of human activity in or around these
habitats. Also it is important to mention that through their continuous involvement in
collection of stocks from the wild, the farmers are able to detect reduction in numbers of
a given species. Such information will enable close monitoring of the said species to find
out what factors that are causing the diminishing in numbers so that the right action can
be taken in time.
Forest encroachment has been a big threat to the survival of the whole forest ecosystem in
Kenya. Communities living at the forest edge have slowly been expanding their farms to
the forest land. This in the past has resulted in conversion of large tracts of forested areas
to agricultural farmlands. The result is continuous shrinking of the entire forest ecosystem
and reduction in species diversity. More species become threatened while others are in
danger of becoming extinct. Butterfly farming has so far provided to the rural community
a means of harnessing the forest resource while at the same time ensuring that the forest
remains intact. If maintained, this will contribute greatly to the conservation of the entire
forest ecosystem.
The aim of this study was to find out how butterfly farming has contributed to the
development of rural communities in Kenya, challenges facing butterfly farming and to
some extent how butterfly farming has impacted on forest conservation. To a large extent
positive results have been achieved. Community development in terms of creation of
employment opportunities and a source of income are central. Income from peasant
farming is now being supplemented by income from butterfly farming. It has also
contributed to the development of peasant farming in the area. The living standards of the
farming community have been improved. Central to this is improved food security,
primary health care and basic education to the children.
The need to have these forests retaining wildlife intact is now becoming clear to the
community as its value is being realised. The community has thus joined in conserving
the forest rather than destroying it as in the past. Butterfly farming is increasingly
promoting conservation education to surrounding schools. It provides an opportunity for
one to learn more about insects and specific butterflies.
Also it’s worth mentioning that it is a big step in popularising Kenyan butterflies, through
research and scientific work, educational tours, ecotourism, and the sale of pupae abroad.
To the country, it is a source of foreign exchange. Butterfly farming is now a living
example and has created a challenge to the stakeholders in the forestry sector to initiate
similar forest based income generating projects in other local communities. The
management charged with running this enterprise is also challenged to see to it that it is
sustained by improving the production conditions, ensuring availability of markets and
through diseases and pest control.
The utilisation of butterflies is a constructive way of saving threatened tropical forests
and at the same time providing a form of livelihood to the people living adjacent to these
forests. To achieve this long term goal, the following should be taken into consideration;
before commencement of production, the local people should be carefully trained on the
specific issues central to butterfly farming such as design and installation of the proper
facilities including flight cages. This will minimise losses from predation. Well
constructed cages should be in a position to keep predators like lizards and birds out.
Farmers should be taught when to collect eggs, and how to properly keep them in order to
generate the required pupae. Acquisition of proper farming facilities is vital to realise
these objectives. To ensure that the conservation goal is achieved, the collection of
butterflies should be designed so that it first conserves the butterfly population in the
wild. This can be achieved by regular releases of unsold pupae to the wild to become
adult butterflies and controlled collections of or banning of species occurring in low
numbers in the wild. Also continuous research and monitoring should be done in order to
detect those species whose numbers are declining and to establish the facts behind the
decline. For the rural people to get substantial economic benefits, the production of pupae
must be raised. Farmers should be able to sell all their produce at reasonable prices. To
achieve this, proper marketing of Kenyan butterflies should be done. The local people
should also be trained as to how they directly can sell their pupae to the international
markets. To achieve this, the community should be organised into some form of
cooperative led by sound management. This will also give them better opportunities to
acquire grants and loan facilities from local and international institutions to improve on
their farms. The locals should also be encouraged to diversify their income sources by
investing wisely the money they get from butterfly farming into other income generating
Detailed research is recommended to be undertaken in the following areas; on forest
habitat conservation in order to establish the impact of butterfly farming on the
conservation of the forest resource; on butterfly species diversity which will help to
establish the impact of collection of butterflies on the abundance of the butterfly resource
in the forest; on other possible ways of generating income from the forest without in any
way destroying it; and possible alternative markets of butterfly pupae which will reduce
overdependence on current markets and thus enhance the possibility for increased sales.
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Natural Forests Jointly Managed by Kenya Wildlife Service and Forest Department
Area in Hectares Protection
status Forest
Name Indigenous
forest reserve
Adjacent Nat.
Park or RSV
Mt. Kenya
Namanga Hill
Nguruma Escarpment
Ngong Hills
Mau Forest Complex
Mathew Range
Mt. Nyiro
Arabuko-Sokoke **
Shimba Hills
Mangrove Forests at
Tana River Delta
159, 638
11, 780
366, 2248
93, 765.5
45, 931.7
24, 980
41, 763
19, 242.8
76, 619
71, 759
4, 470
19, 251
35, 444
8, 674
FR –Forest Reserve
CC – County Council Trust Land
* - Protection Status refers to the forest area identified for joint management
** - A small portion of Kilifi County Council Forest adjacent to gazetted Arabuko-
Sokoke Forest covering 6sq km was gazetted as a national park vide legal notice No. 426
of 5/9/1990
Area in Hectares Protection
StatusName of Forest
Forest RSV
Adjacent Park
or NAT. Park
Mt. Elgon
Mt. Kulai
Bojoge Forest
Chylu Hills
Loita Hills
Ngare Ndere
Ngayaa Forest
Mkogondo Foresst
Cherangani Forest
Tindereti Forest
Leroghi Range
Lembus Forest
73, 355
45, 729
15, 280.9
2, 150
10, 000
4, 722.3
8, 701.3
4, 139.9
30, 189.5
128, 575
81, 944.4
16, 211.3
16, 923
47, 100
4, 500
5, 513
Source: Forest Department, Gede Forest Station
Butterfly species commonly farmed, their market prices and availability
Genus Species
market Price
Species availability
in the forest
Papilio constantinus
Papilio dardanus
Papilio demodocus
Papilio nireus
Graphium antheus
Graphium porthaon
Graphium colonna
Graphium philonoe
Charaxes brutus
Charaxes castor
Charaxes cithaeron
Charaxes protoclea
Charaxes varanes
Charaxes violetta
Charaxes jahlusa
Euxanthe wakefieldi
Euphaedra nephron
Euryphuras achyls
Euryphuras dryope
Not found easily
Half year seasonal
Half year seasonal
Reducing drastically
Heavy reduced
Salamis anacordii
Hypolimnas misspus
Junonia oenone
Junonia natalica
Junonia orithya
Pharanta pharantha
Bebearia chiremhilda
Byblia illithya
Melanitis leda
Pseudacraea lucretia
Tilumula petriverana
Danaus chrysippus
Amauris niavius
Acraea rabbaie
Acraea eponina
Acraea anemosa
Acraea egina
Colotis euippe
High in 6 months
Constantly high
Not found at all
Plenty year round
Plenty year round
Plenty year round
Plenty year round
Plenty year round
Colotis ione
Colotis danae
Belenois creone
Belenois thysa
Appias lasti
Catopsilia florella
Mylothris agathina
Coeliades forestans
Plenty year round
Plenty year round
Plenty year round
Plenty year round
Plenty year round
Plenty year round
Plenty year round
Plenty year round
Source: Kipepeo Butterfly Farm and Author’s field notes
... From a conservation perspective, this sector is very intriguing. As stated by Omenge (2002), butterfly farming operations in developing nations are contributing to local awareness and conservation of biodiversity, which is a very positive result. Although butterfly farms are typically regarded as positive influences in the environment on a macro-scale, one must not overlook the fact that they may influence their environment on a more local scale. ...
... Parasitism and predation at butterfly farms have also been investigated in previous studies. Omenge (2002) reported that in small-scale butterfly farms in Kenya, most farmers experienced noticeable predation and parasitism from ants, spiders, wasps, and lizards (Omenge 2002). Not surprisingly, Omenge (2002) found that farmers with more sophisticated butterfly flight cages experienced fewer incidences of parasitism and predation than farmers with makeshift, more rudimentary cages. ...
... Omenge (2002) reported that in small-scale butterfly farms in Kenya, most farmers experienced noticeable predation and parasitism from ants, spiders, wasps, and lizards (Omenge 2002). Not surprisingly, Omenge (2002) found that farmers with more sophisticated butterfly flight cages experienced fewer incidences of parasitism and predation than farmers with makeshift, more rudimentary cages. He reasoned that this was due to the disintegration of the screening on the poorly made and maintained flight cages, allowing parasites and predators to have direct access to their host or prey (Omenge 2002). ...
... Commercial rearing of these insects serves as alternative livelihood for rural folks (Baltazar 2007). Butterfly farming improves eco-tourism and conservation education (Sarian 2000) and caters involvement of community in managing and conserving local forest resources (Omenge 2002). ...
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To establish a local data base on butterfly composition and richness, biodiversity of species were determined at the Agriculture Garden, Balambangan Area, Hydro II Mini-forest and Malingon Mini-forest sites of Mountain View College using 40 m line transect sampling. BIOPRO software version 2 was used in the analyses. Survey showed 49 species, 33 genera, and 5 families of butterflies. One species (2.0%) was very common, 22 species (44.9%) were common, 10 species (20.4%) were rare, and 16 species (32.7%) were undetermined. From highest to lowest, diversity indices were Malingon Mini-forest (H=1.519), Hydro 2 Mini-forest (H=1.415), Agriculture Garden (H=1.176), and Balambangan Area (H=1.146). Bray-Curtis analysis revealed 2 clusters of habitats. Cluster 1 (81% similarity) at Malingon and Hydro II Mini-forests had dense trees, river systems, and nectar sources which probably favoured the presence of rare and endemic species. Cluster II (73% similarity) at Agriculture Garden and Balambangan Area had human settlements, sparse tree distribution and inhabited by the common species. These results suggest that the highest diversity which includes rare and endemic 142
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This book, originally published in 2000 in hard copy only is an edited collection of articles that emerged from presentations of a landmark conference on land rights and land reforms in sub-Saharan Africa organised by DFID with NRI, IIED and Oxfam. That event brought together policy makers, researchers and practitioners working on land from across Africa and from international organisations directly engaged with land tenure policy in African countries. The various chapters explore the multiple challenges, as understood at the time, of securing tenure rights and reforming land policies in a context marked by the colonial legacy of parallel formal and customary land tenure systems , in which the vast majority of people, notably but not only in rural areas, continue to access and hold land rights through evolving customary land rules and negotiations with family heads and local customary leaders. Although debates on land, poverty & economic growth, land law land administration, the place of common property, women's land rights and the options for documenting and managing customary land rights have all developed considerably over the last 20 years, and new actors have emerged, notably in the private sector, the book remains of continuing relevance in understanding the evolution of land policy perspectives and land tenure systems in Africa. As such it may help to provide important background and something of a starting point for scholars interested in charting the continuing evolution and challenges of securing people's land rights and establishing inclusive and effective arrangements for land governance as a foundation for sustainable development across the sub-Saharan African region. Editor's note: Various ResearchGate users have asked to see the full text and I am pleased as a main author co-editor and lead organiser of the original conference finally to upload a publicly available PDF of the entire book, kindly created by colleagues at University of Greenwich who scanned it page by page. Sincere apologies to for the delay in getting this uploaded to all of those who asked to see it earlier. Professor Julian Quan, Natural Resources Institute (NRI), University of Greenwich.
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Part 1 Theoretical reflections on knowledge, power and practice: introduction knowledge, power and agriculture - towards a theoretical understanding, I. Scoones and J. Thompson knowledge, consciousness and prejudice - adaptive agricultural research in Zambia, M. Drinkwater the interweaving of knowledge and power in development interfaces, N. Long and M. Villareal indigenous management and the management of indigenous knowledge, D. Marsden "the technicians only believe in science and cannot read the sky" - the cultural dimension of the knowledge conflict in the Andes, M.A. Salas trees, people and communities in Zimbabwe's communal lands, F. Matose and B. Mukamuri declarations of difference, J. Fairhead and M. Leach indigenous soil characterization in Northern Zambia, P. Sikana agricultural discourses - farmer experimentation and agricultural extension in Rwanda, J. Pottier composing rural livelihoods - from farming systems to food systems, A.J. Bebbington. Part 2 Methodological innovations, applications and challenges: introduction acknowledging process - challenges for agricultural research and extension methodology, A. Cornwall et al participatory watershed management in India - the experience of the Aga Khan Rural Support Programme, P. Shah challenges in the collection and use of information on livelihood strategies and natural resource management, K. Schoonmaker Freudenberger developing interaction and understanding - RRA and farmer research groups in Zambia, M. Drinkwater quality control, method transfer and training, J. Jiggins the ethics of documenting rural people's knowledge - investigating milk marketing among Fulani women in Nigeria, A. Waters-Bayer stimulating farmer experiments in non-chemical pest control in Central America, J. Bentley encouraging knowledge exchange - integrated pest management in Indonesia, Y. Winarto learning by improvization - farmers' experimentation in Mali, A. Stolzenbach experimenting farmers in Northern Ghana, D. Millar local knowledge formation and validation - the case of rice production in Central Sierra Leone, P. Richards participatory methods and political processes - linking grassroots actions and policy-making for sustainable development in Latin America, L.A. Thrupp et al. Part 3 Transforming institutions and changing policies: introduction tiwards a learning paradigm - new professionalism and institutions for agriculture, J.N. Pretty and R. Chambers from research to innovation - getting the most from interaction with NGOs, J. Farrington and A.J. Bebbington. (Part contents).
This comprehensive text shows forestry as a complex applied science combining aspects of economics, political science, botany, chemistry and engineering. It begins with forest biology and continues through forest management and forest products, involving resources policy, and emphasising the impact of computers and genetic engineering. Part 1 introduces the development of forest policy in the USA and studies the forest regions of the world. Part 2 covers forest biology: structure and function of trees and soils; genetics and tree breeding; ecology and the ecosystem; interactions of insects and trees; and diseases of trees. Part 3 concerns forest management: national level and private forests; measurement, remote sensing and geographic information systems; silviculture, timber management and recreation management, etc. Finally, part 4 gives an introduction to forest products. -after Publisher
With particular reference to Costa Rica's Braulio Carillo National Park, demonstrates how tourism in natural tropical forest areas can generate income. Another source of income available to tropical nations lies in exporting plants and animals to foreign markets; the example is given of butterfly farming in Papua New Guinea. -P.J.Jarvis
'Boserup's contribution to our thinking on women's role in development cannot be underestimated. Her keen observations, her use of empirical data and her commitment to greater gender equality are still an inspiration to students, researchers and activists who are interested in a better and more equal world.' From the new Introduction by Nazneen Kanji, Su Fei Tan and Camilla Toulmin 'Women's Role in Economic Development has become a key reference book for anyone - student, scholar, or practitioner - interested in gender and development analyses. This book is important not only because it provided the intellectual underpinning of the Women in Development (WID) analysis, but also because of the lasting influence it had on the development of theoretical, conceptual, and policy thinking in the fields of women, gender, and development. The re-editing of Women's Role in Economic Development, with its new introduction, ensures students, academics, and practitioners continued access to an essential reference for those interested in the women and development literature.' Gender and Development This classic text by Ester Boserup was the first investigation ever undertaken into what happens to women in the process of economic and social growth throughout the developing world, thereby serving as an international benchmark. In the context of the ongoing struggle for women's rights, massive urbanization and international efforts to reduce poverty, this book continues to be a vital text for economists, sociologists, development workers, activists and all those who take an active interest in women's social and economic circumstances and problems throughout the world. A substantial new Introduction by Nazneen Kanji, Su Fei Tan and Camilla Toulmin reflects on Boserup's legacy as a scholar and activist, and the continuing relevance of her work. This highlights the key issue of how the role of women in economic development has or has not changed over the past four decades in developing countries, and covers crucial current topics including: women and inequality, international and national migration, conflict, HIV and AIDS, markets and employment, urbanization, leadership, property rights, global processes, including the Millennium Development Goals, and barriers to change.