Over 100,000 people live in 50 villages adjacent to the Arabuko Sokoke forest. Most are small-scale subsistence farmers who utilize the forest for some of their livelihood requirements. The main food crops are maize, cassava and beans amid stands of cash crops of coconut and cashew nut trees.
In 1993 at the start of Kipepeo the community annual per capita income was US$ 50. Through the Kipepeo supported livelihoods most have doubled this per capita with the earnings ranging from USD 100 to USD 800 per year depending on their individual efforts.
Producer Associations of mainly butterfly farmers and beekeepers participate in the management of nature-based enterprises at Kipepeo through the Market Place Committee that acts as its Board. The groups are also actively involved in forest protection, advocacy and awareness creation of the benefits of the nature based enterprises.