The establishment of the Centre for Kakamega Tropical Forest Studies (CEKATFOS) at Masinde Muliro University of Science and Technology (MMUST) was necessitated by the importance of local, national, regional and global roles of the Kakamega Tropical Forest. The Kakamega Tropical Rain Forest plays an array of vital ecological roles that include alternative agricultural land-use, an agent of landscape change, a wildlife habitat, an environment for recreation, a moderator of climate change, a carbon sink, rain water trap, and, not least, the source of raw materials for a range of timber and non-timber products. These important ecosystem services provided by the forest have led to immense conservation efforts of this important non-renewable bio-resource.
Key to this effort is coordinated research that must provide the requisite data for long term planning and foresight to management strategy because decisions made today will impact on future delivery of ecosystem services and socio-economics of the surrounding dependent communities.
The policy upon which the centre operates is derived from the overall vision and mission of the MMUST whose primary facet is Excellence in Research in Science and Technology, Kenya’s Vision 2030 and the Millennium Development Goals. CEKATFOS is designed to be a one-stop shop for research and linkages in to Kakamega Tropical Forest Ecosystem both at local, national and global levels.
The functions of the centre are dependent on partial funding by the Masinde Muliro University of Science and Technology and conservation initiatives/stakeholders. Research grants from participating scientists, institutional memoranda of understanding (MOUs) in particular Kenya Forestry Research Institute (KEFRI), Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) and the Kenya Forest Service (KFS), and linkages that will facilitate research in the KFE that aims to alleviate poverty and conserve its rich biodiversity.
The vision of CEKATFOS is excellence in research and technology in the Kakamega Forest Ecosystem with capacity to be a linkage Centre between Masinde Muliro University of Science and Technology, the Kakamega Forest and the rest of the world.
To be a centre of linkage for local, regional and international research, training and policy on Kakamega Forest Ecosystem in the areas of effects of climate change on the forest, carbon sequestration and trade, biodiversity and habitat conservation, forest restoration, water catchment management and participatory forest management involving local communities and other stakeholders.