This paper examines the effects of wildlife tourism-based payments for ecosystem services (PES) on poverty, wealth inequality and the livelihoods of herders in the Maasai Mara Ecosystem in south-western Kenya. It uses the case of Olare Orok Conservancy PES programme in which pastoral landowners have agreed to voluntary resettlement and exclusion of livestock grazing from their sub-divided lands. These lands are set aside for wildlife tourism, in return for direct monetary payments by a coalition of five commercial tourism operators. Results show that, on the positive side, PES is the most equitable income source that promotes income diversification and buffers households from the livestock income declines during periods of severe drought, such as in 2008-2009. Without accounting for the opportunity costs, the magnitude of the PES cash transfer to households is, on average, sufficient to close the poverty gap. The co-benefits of PES implementation include the creation of employment opportunities in the conservancy and provision of social services. There is however a need to mitigate the negative effects of PES, including the widening inequality in income between PES and non-PES households and the leakages resulting from the displacement of settlements and livestock to currently un-subdivided pastoral commons.
PES scheme: The Olare Orok Conservancy, the Maasai landowners are paid to voluntarily relocate their settlements and exclude livestock grazing inside the Conservancy, which is exclusively reserved for high-end wildlife tourism. The OOC therefore represents a specific situation where a consortium of private tourism operators pay pastoral landowners directly for biodiversity conservation in an ecosystem that is of high touristic value because of the beauty of the landscape and the presence of charismatic wildlife species that support their tourism business.
|Climate change impacts||Effect of Nbs on CCI||Effect measures|
|Drought||Positive||Mean per capita income (US$/AE/day), percent share of PES to the total gross household income. Combined with a critical analysis/appraisal of the PES scheme's impact on vulnerability to drought; their quantitative survey was combined with qualitative interviews and workshops.|
The Maasai Mara ecosystem which includes the Olare Orok Conservancy, an area that borders the Mara Reserve to the north