Exploring Integrated Assessment Approaches
Edited by Desmond McNeill, Ingrid Nesheim and Floor Brouwer
Chapter 9: Land Subdivision and Degradation in Narok, Kenya
Patrick Gicheru, Stella Nabwile Makokha, Le Chen, Louis N. Gachimbi† and Jane W. Wamuongo PROBLEM DESCRIPTION A large part of Kenya, over 80 per cent of the total land surface, is classified as ‘arid and semi-arid land’ (ASAL); only 20 per cent of the country has high potential for agriculture and this carries 80 per cent of the population. The majority of the population in the Arid and Semi Arid Lands (ASALs) is agro-pastoral, combining small-scale farming with livestock keeping, while about 4 million Kenyans, mainly Maasai people, are engaged in full-time pastoralism. There is an ongoing trend of changing the traditional pastoral type of life to a sedentary life form, a process which is associated with various socio-economic and environmental problems. This situation is typical not only in Kenya, but across the whole Sahel belt in Africa (Sindiga, 1984). The physical appearance of Kenya’s marginal semi-arid lands shows evidence of eroding hillsides, denuded plains, large erosion shelves, and deep sheer-sided gulleys; surface soil degradation and erosion in these areas are chronic (Sindiga, 1984). Moreover, plant production is limited by lack of available water and nutrients (Government of Kenya, 2004). Land degradation leading to desertification causes serious environmental and socio-economic problems in Kenya. This case focuses on Narok District, and on the problem of land degradation and land use conflicts linked to land fragmentation and a changing land tenure situation. People have migrated to Narok from the surrounding highlands, causing land scarcity and related land use conflicts. The increasing land...
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