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Pastoralism and ecosystem‐based adaptation in Kenyan Masailand

Philip M. Osano (Geography Department, McGill University, Montreal, Canada)
Mohammed Y. Said (People, Livestock and Environment (PLE), International Livestock Research Institute, Nairobi, Kenya)
Jan de Leeuw (East Africa Sub‐Regional Office, World Agro‐forestry Center (ICRAF), Nairobi, Kenya)
Stephen S. Moiko (Anthropology Department, McGill University, Montreal, Canada)
Dickson Ole Kaelo (Center for Sustainable Dryland Ecosystems and Society, University of Nairobi, Nairobi, Kenya)
Sarah Schomers (Leibniz Center for Agricultural Landscape Research (ZALF), Muencheberg, Germany)
Regina Birner (Institute of Agricultural Economics and Social Sciences in the Tropics and Sub‐tropics, University of Hohenheim, Stuttgart, Germany)
Joseph O. Ogutu (Institute of Crop Science, University of Hohenheim, Stuttgart, Germany)

International Journal of Climate Change Strategies and Management

ISSN: 1756-8692

Article publication date: 10 May 2013

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to assess the potential for pastoral communities inhabiting Kenyan Masailand to adapt to climate change using conservancies and payments for ecosystem services.

Design/methodology/approach

Multiple methods and data sources were used, comprising: a socio‐economic survey of 295 households; informal interviews with pastoralists, conservancy managers, and tourism investors; focus group discussions; a stakeholder workshop. Monthly rainfall data was used to analyse drought frequency and intensity. A framework of the interactions between pastoralists' drought coping and risk mitigation strategies and the conservancy effects was developed, and used to qualitatively assess some interactions across the three study sites. Changes in household livestock holdings and sources of cash income are calculated in relation to the 2008‐09 drought.

Findings

The frequency and intensity of droughts are increasing but are localised across the three study sites. The proportion of households with per capita livestock holdings below the 4.5 TLU poverty vulnerability threshold increased by 34 per cent in Kitengela and 5 per cent in the Mara site, mainly due to the drought in 2008‐2009. Payment for ecosystem services was found to buffer households from fluctuating livestock income, but also generates synergies and/or trade‐offs depending on land use restrictions.

Originality/value

The contribution of conservancies to drought coping and risk mitigation strategies of pastoralists is analyzed as a basis for evaluating the potential for ecosystem‐based adaptation.

Keywords

Citation

Osano, P.M., Said, M.Y., de Leeuw, J., Moiko, S.S., Ole Kaelo, D., Schomers, S., Birner, R. and Ogutu, J.O. (2013), "Pastoralism and ecosystem‐based adaptation in Kenyan Masailand", International Journal of Climate Change Strategies and Management, Vol. 5 No. 2, pp. 198-214. https://doi.org/10.1108/17568691311327596

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2013, Emerald Group Publishing Limited