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People and Livestock in the
Changing Landscape and Climate
of the East African Savannas
Jennifer Olson1, David Campbell1, Mario Herrero2, Stanley Karanja2,
Joseph Maitima2, Simon Mugatha2, Claude Mong’ong’o3, Simon
Mwansasu3, Joseph Ogutu4, Mohammed Said2, Thomas Smucker5,
Edna Wangui5 ,Ben Wisner6 and Pius Yanda3
1Michigan
State University; 2International Livestock Research Institute, Kenya
3University of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania; 4 University of Hohenheim, Germany
5 Ohio University, 6 Oberlin College
Biocomplexity in the Environment Award 0709671
2010 AAG Washington, D.C.
The EACLIPSE Loop
Savanna
Vegetation
Local level
•Ecosystem structure (spp.,
composition, ratio woody/
herbaceous)
•Forage quant & quality
(palatability)
Climate Change
•Temperature
•Precipitation
•Droughts
•Floods
Regional level
•Length of growing period
•Ecosystem structure
•Productivity
Temporal & spatial lag
effects, non-linear response.
Resilience to droughts
Livelihood Systems
- Non-farm
Land Management
Grazing
• Intensity
• Mobility
• Length of Orbit
Fire Frequency
Land Use
Scale:
- Household
- Community
- Regional
- Crops
- Livestock
Income diversification strategies within
dynamic socio-economic system.
Household Level decisions on: herd size
and composition, grazing strategy, drought
response
Landscape Level: fire frequency, land use
conversion
2010 AAG Washington, D.C.
Goals
How are livelihood systems of pastoralists and agropastoralists responding to climate and vegetation change in
the context of the evolving socioeconomic system?
– What is the role of societal differentiation on resilience and response
to drought and to climate change?
– How do vulnerability and coping strategies to drought evolve?
– How does the role of livestock change?
– How does land management change, and what effects does that
have on vegetation?
How does savanna vegetation respond to a changing climate?
What are the combinatory effects of human land management
and climatic change impacts on savanna vegetation?
2010 AAG Washington, D.C.
The context
• Communities consist predominantly of Maasai, the
majority of whom are pastoralists and agro-pastoralists
dependent almost entirely on livestock.
• They are therefore vulnerable when faced by drought or
disease.
• Over the past few decades, changes such as communal
land sub-division, reduction in rainfall, increased
cultivation, and delineation of protected areas for wildlife
have reduced grazing areas.
• These changes have aggravated the effects of drought
and reduced effectiveness of former drought coping
strategies; the systems are rapidly changing.
4
2010 AAG Washington, D.C.
Field sites in southern box
7 transects crossing
land use intensity
gradients.
Kajiado District, Kenya:
Risa, Mbirikani,
Empiron villages,
Amboseli Park
Simanjiro District,
Tanzania: Kitwai,
Namalulu, Terat
Villages, Tarangire
Park
2010 AAG Washington, D.C.
Approach
• Multi-scale data collection and analysis, from the
individual person and plant to communities.
• Socioeconomic and ecological information collected
along transects crossing land use intensity gradients
(from within a park, to grazing only, to mixed grazing/
crops) and representing different livelihood types
Ecological (60 main plots):
– Plant species composition, counts, cover etc. conducted in dry
and wet seasons (3 times)
– Soil sampling
– Survey of mangers/ users of the plot on their perception of
changes in vegetation, land management changes, etc.(40, of
which 20 repeated).
2010 AAG Washington, D.C.
Transects, Kajiado Kenya
2010 AAG Washington, D.C.
Vegetation plots
• 10 plots/LU type. Plots are 50 x 100m.
• 8 25x25m quadrats/plot; 16 1x1 m quadats/plot
• GPS pts, photos on transects.
50 m
N
1mx
1m
25mx25
m
E
100 m
2010 AAG Washington, D.C.
Variables recorded
Plot size (m) Herbaceous
25x25 (8/plot) Ranked five dominant sp
(grass & herbs
1x1m (16/plot) •% cover
•% bare ground
•Sp count
•Ht (m)
•% litter
•% greenness
•Burn
•Grazing levl
•Types & no. animals in site
2010 AAG Washington, D.C.
Shrub
•Ranked five dominant sp
Tree
•Ranked five dominant sp
•Sp count
•% cover
•Greenness
•Leafyness
•Burn & age of burn
•Sp count
•% cover
•DBH
•Greenness
•Leafyness
•Burn & age of burn
•Damage, agent & degree,
age of damage
“Wet” & dry season
2010 AAG Washington, D.C.
Plant spp area curves by LU type
Herbs
Grasses
Species area curve for grasses in 3 land use types
Species area curve for herbs in 3 land use types
45
crop/livestock
40
w ildlife/livestock
120
crop/livestock
w ildlife/livestock
w ildlife
100
30
Cumulative herb sp
Cumulative grass sp
35
25
20
15
w ildlife
80
60
40
10
20
5
0
5
10
15
20
25
30
35
40
45
0
50
5
10
15
20
Area (m2) thousands
Species area curve for shrubs in 3 land use types
45
crop/livestock
40
w ildlife/livestock
w ildlife
25
30
35
40
45
50
Area (m2) thousands
Species area curve for trees in 3 land use types
70
Shrubs
Trees
crop/livestock
w ildlife/livestock
60
w ildlife
Green=crop/
livestock
Red=livestock/
wildlife
Purple=wildlife
Cumulative tree sp
35
Cumulative shrub sp
Mid-level
disturbance has
greatest
diversity of
shrubs, trees.
Fewer grass &
herb spp in
park, but more
rare/ declining.
30
25
20
15
50
40
30
20
10
10
5
0
0
5
10
15
20
25
30
35
2010 AAG Washington,Area
D.C.
(m2) thousands
40
45
50
5
10
15
20
25
30
35
Area (m2) thousands
40
45
50
Socioeconomic data collection
Village level (6 representing 3 livelihood types):
– Community mapping (single gender groups),
– Wealth ranking,
– Time line of livelihood/ climate/ movements,
Household surveys stratified by livelihood type
(180+).
2010 AAG Washington, D.C.
Wealth Ranking
Wealth Ranking Criteria Identified by Discussion Participants
Wealth Class
Wealthy
Empiron
>5 acres, not leased
out; > 100 cattle; has
employees; takes
children to ‘academies’
Mbirikani
> 100 cattle and
employment
Risa
> 100 cattle and
At least 30 acres
Over six wives
Educated children
Poor
Landless; No livestock;
Casual worker
Less than 10 cattle;
No employment
Less than 10 cattle;
No wife or children
Distribution of Households by Wealth Rank
Wealthy
Middle
Poor
2010 AAG Washington, D.C.
Empiron
Mbirikani
Risa
18 (12%)
68 (45%)
64 (43%)
39 (37%)
36 (34%)
30 (39%)
14 (44%)
7 (22%)
11 (34%)
Mbirikani Timeline
• 1976-77: rainfall decreased;
leaves, not grasses; People begin
businesses, buying/selling lstock,
bush clearing/ burning for
agriculture;
• 1984 – major drought, lstock to
Tsavo; further ag expansion;
improved breeds become
common by ‘86;
• 1990 – sedentarization proceeds;
GR cttee and community meet
seasonally to decide on grazing
pattern;
• 2003 – breakdown in seasonal
grazing system; people settle in
Olopololi (drivers: anticipation of
subdivision; opposition politics;
scarcity of building materials);
2010 AAG Washington, D.C.
Community Mapping
Temporary river
mentioned by
men as well
3
1
4
2
5
Road within Impiron
Curio shop
6
2010 AAG Washington, D.C.
Trends (1)
• Progressive declines in rainfall as evidenced by longer
dry spells, shorter rainy seasons and/ or complete
failure of a rainy season.
• Livestock forage has reduced (due to lower rainfall,
higher livestock densities).
• Bush encroachment has increased (e.g., Kitwai in
Tanzania and Kuku/Lenkiporoi in Kenya) perhaps due
to fewer fires (less biomass to burn, govt policy).
• Unpalatable bush spp increasing.
• Grass is declining, especially preferred forage grass
sp. (e.g Erikaru, enkarmalasiai).
2010 AAG Washington, D.C.
Trends (2)
• Grazing pressure has increased in some areas as
forage declines, due to:
– Less rainfall (unpredictable)
– Subdivision of land
– Population pressure (human & animals)
– More wildlife in some areas (increased awareness
and surveillance amid declined food resource
base).
2010 AAG Washington, D.C.
Trends (3)
• Daily movements are longer because settled & need to
return home at night (if nomadic stay nearer forage). Often
need to go further for grass and water.
• Land tenure & land use changing
– From group ranches to individual parcels
– Cropping in previously grazing areas
– Some abandonment of fields due to failure of short rains
2010 AAG Washington, D.C.
The field, 2007-2009
2010 AAG Washington, D.C.
Impact of drought on wildlife,
livestock
2010 AAG Washington, D.C.
Bare ground, and shrubs
2010 AAG Washington, D.C.
Drought coping /adaptation (1)
• Fewer animals generally, some people abandoning
livestock keeping
• Long distance movements, much competition over
grass & water (privatization, conflict)
• Sheep & goats survive better, herd composition
shifting
• Trying different livestock breeds
– More camels, new goat and cattle breeds from Somalia
• More Maasai cultivating to cope
with frequent drought.
2010 AAG Washington, D.C.
Drought coping /adaptation (2)
- Traditionally the Arkasis (rich) split their herds into
smaller units and loaned them to the middle
income or poor. In return the keepers drank the
milk and kept some heifers.
- Today the Arkasis sell a few bulls and hire
someone to care for their animals. The Arkasis
are diversifying into business, especially by selling
livestock and investing in enterprises such as
mining, trading.
- As pasture declines, not only is livestock keeping
threatened but also traditional institutions &
mutual cooperation.
2010 AAG Washington, D.C.
Potential paths of diversification
• Decline in livestock as a dependable resource?
• Cropping receding at the frontier of rainfed
cultivation?
• Future of tourism?
• Changing urban remittances?
How will these affect diversification at the
extremes of the wealth spectrum?
2010 AAG Washington, D.C.
Research issues, questions
• Unknown reasons for woody bush
encroachment. Hypotheses —fire suppression,
grazing intensity, CO2 enhancement.... Or
because plant types recover differently following
more frequent/ longer dry periods?
• Changing rainy seasons, plant phenologies
affecting plant spp, types, biomes differently.
• How will livelihood systems change as drought
coping evolves to climate change adaptation?
2010 AAG Washington, D.C.
Thank you.
2010 AAG Washington, D.C.
• General observations/ Tanzania
– More species varieties in the unprotected area
than the protected area.
– Some spp are disappearing/decreasing in the
unprotected area. Such as:
•
•
•
•
•
-Brachiaria brizantha
-Chloris wodii
-Setaria verticillata
-Themeda triandra
-Dactyloctenium aegyptium
2010 AAG Washington, D.C.
–Some spp are emerging/increasing in the
unprotected area. Such as:
• -Aristida adoensis
• -Accacia melifera
• -commiphora africana
• -Crotalaria steudneri
• -Euphobia cuneata
• -Euphobia candelabrum
• -Maytenus senegalensis
• -Accacia nilotica, etc.
2010 AAG Washington, D.C.