Pastoralists in the wildlife-rich East African rangelands use diversification into conservation and tourism as a strategy to supplement livestock-based livelihoods and to spread risk. Tourism incomes are an important alternative source during drought, when livestock incomes decline. However, tourism may also reduce access to rangeland resources, and an abundant wildlife may destroy crops and injure, kill or transmit disease to livestock or people. This paper investigates the ability of wildlife conservancies in the Mara, Kenya, to act as an alternative for pastoralists that mitigates risks and maintains resilience in a changing climate. It analyses data to examine how conservancies contribute to and integrate with pastoral livelihoods, and to understand how pastoralists are managing their livestock herds in response to conservancies. It finds conservancy payments can provide an important, reliable, all-year-round source of income and prevent households from selling their animals during stress and for cash needs. Conservancies also retain grass banks during the dry season and provide opportunities for pastoralists to access good-quality forage. However, they reduce access to large areas of former grazing land and impose restrictions on livestock mobility. This affects the ability of pastoralists to remain flexible and able to access seasonally variable resources. Conflicts between grazing and conservancies may also heighten during drought times. Furthermore, income from land leases is not more than the contribution of livestock, meaning conservancy land leases create trade-offs for livestock-based livelihoods. Also, income is based on land ownership, which has inequity implications: women and other marginalised groups are left out.
This paper focuses on three conservancies in the Koyiaki group ranch. Koyiaki is now fully privatised, and land was subdivided and allocated to group ranch members wildlife conservancies to complement pastoralist livelhoods. How conservancies are managed: Conservancies have been set up on the communal and privatised group ranches adjacent to the MMNR the common model found in the Mara occurs on privatised land and illustrates ‘group conservancies’, where groups of landowners have partnered with tourism operators to form a conservancy. The conservancy is primarily set aside for wildlife and tourism but with some controlled livestock grazing allowed. The partnerships involve individual lease agreements between the tourism operators and landowners, the most widespread of which involves landowners receiving fixed monthly land lease payments from the tourism operators, independent of the number of tourists visiting the conservancy (Bedelian 2014). The tourism operators also manage the conservancy and put up high-end tourism camps.
|Climate change impacts
|Effect of Nbs on CCI
|income supplied from conservancies during drought periods
|Loss of food production
|how people perceived conservancies contributed [and affected, incl. costs due to foregone grazing opportunities and benefits i.e. increasing fodder during drought] to their livelihoods; quant info on income from livelihoods (conservancies & other) compared the relative contribution of different livelihood activities for conservancy member versus non-member households. community members’ perceptions of the importance of conservancies relative to other livelihood activities, we asked them to rank the three livelihood activities they perceived as the most important for their overall household welfare, using a guided list of common activities elicited through pre-testing looked at spatial and temporal trends in livestock in Koyiaki Group Ranch between 1977 and 2014 and compared livestock density and composition between areas inside and outside conservancies.
Mara County This paper specifically looks at the conservancies in the Koyiaki group ranch; one of the first group ranches to experiment with tourism revenue dispersal initiatives in the 1990s (Thompson and Homewood 2002) and also saw the emergence and rapid replication of conservancies from 20061 (Bedelian 2014). There are now three conservancies in Koyiaki: Olare Motorogi Conservancy, Naboisho Conservancy and the Mara North Conservancy.