The Strategic Forest Management Plan for Arabuko-Sokoke Forest is the outcome of a planning process lasting almost 18 months during the period 2000–2002. The planning process was supported through the Arabuko-Sokoke Forest Management and Conservation Project, which was financed by the European Union (DG VIII – Development) under its Tropical Forest budget line. The EU financing was administered by BirdLife International, working in partnership with the institutional members of the Arabuko- Sokoke Forest Management Team: the Forest Department, Kenya Wildlife Service, National Museums of Kenya and Kenya Forestry Research Institute. In addition to these institutional partners, there has been widespread consultation with many other organisations and individuals. At the outset, the challenge was to produce a Strategic Forest Management Plan for Arabuko-Sokoke Forest which would meet the needs of all stakeholders in the forest, and provide a useful document for managing the forest over the next 25 years. A plan which looked attractive but did not have the consensus of all stakeholders, or a plan which might be rapidly consigned to bookshelves and libraries, would not meet this challenge, and it is hoped therefore that this plan will provide a useful document for many people in future years. The task has been not only to follow a process, but also to define and test the planning process itself, since this has been a new experience not only in Kenya, but also internationally. Although Participatory Forest Management at grassroots level is now well established in many places, there are few examples available from elsewhere where a participatory planning process has been applied to preparation of a Strategic Forest Management Plan. In many ways, therefore, this Plan is unique and innovative in its development. Whether the plan itself meets this challenge remains to be seen. However, it has taken forest management planning out of the exclusive realms of professional foresters and conservationists, and placed it within the framework of wider civil society. Undoubtedly the product is not perfect, but it does represent a significant step forward, and a starting point for improvement which, it is hoped, will lead to the achievement of the plan’s vision and objectives.