Project Title: Evaluating land sharing schemes between communal and private ranches, and grazing intensity effects on biodiversity and livestock in Laikipia, Kenya
Host Organisation: Egerton University, Kenya
Implementing appropriate grazing management practices in the world's grazing lands is vital for ensuring biodiversity conservation, sustainable livestock production and human well-being. In many parts of Africa's grazing lands, private ranchers often lease part of their land to neighbouring pastoral communities with a view to helping cushion the pastoralists from livestock losses during dry periods. Such land sharing schemes are also intended to reduce grazing pressure and trigger recovery of degraded communal grazing lands. However, little is known on how these schemes operate and their impacts on pastoralists and the environment. In addition, influx of pastoralists' livestock into private ranches, which also serve as refuge areas for wildlife, effectively increases grazing pressure in these areas. However, the effects of altered grazing intensity on wildlife and livestock have rarely been quantified in these landscapes. The proposed study seeks to analyse how the land sharing schemes between pastoralists and private ranchers work, their ecological and social impacts, and challenges faced in their implementation in Laikipa landscape, Kenya. In addition, the proposed study seeks to assess biodiversity and livestock responses to changing grazing intensity, with a view to determining optimal grazing intensity levels for biodiversity conservation and livestock production in such landscapes. The findings of the proposed research could contribute towards enhanced coexistence of wildlife, livestock and people, with desirable implications for Africa and its people. At the global scale, the findings of the proposed study will contribute towards ensuring sustainable economies and societies.