Kaya Forests

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Credit: Victor Ochieng

Location: Kenya

Official Listing: UNESCO World Heritage Site, 2008

Who Considers it Sacred? The Mijikenda tribe of Kenya

Significance: The site was considered to contain sacred objects “essential to the well-being of the community.” For the last forty years they Kaya Forest land, traditionally communally owned, has undergone a “land grab” by private individuals.

The Threat: Housing Development and Roads/Urbanization

Preservation Status: The Coastal Forest Conservation Unit of the National Museums of Kenya has been struggling to have the Kenyan government give the forests legal status as national monuments. Lax local regulation, however, means that development may destroy the sacred forests entirely.

For More Information: Sacred Groves Threatened by Development: The Kaya Forests of Kenya; Site Saver Newsletter, Volume IX, Number 2, Winter 1999; www.sacredland.org/kaya-forests/

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