Trade-offs for climate-resilient pastoral livelihoods in wildlife conservancies in the Mara ecosystem, Kenya
This article (PDF) in the journal Pastoralism aims to understand how wildlife conservation and tourism may be enhancing or restricting climate-resilient pastoral livelihoods. It looks at the ability of conservancies to serve as an alternative livelihood opportunity for pastoralists that mitigates risk and maintains resilience in a changing climate. The paper analyses how conservancies contribute to and integrate with pastoral livelihoods, and how pastoralists are managing their livestock herds in response to conservancies. Findings show that wildlife conservancies offer important, reliable, all-year-round payments and opportunities for pastoralists to access good-quality forage even during dry season. Still the conservancies caused trade-offs as livestock and other livelihood activities are restricted, since these conservancies reduce access to large areas of former grazing land and impose restrictions on livestock mobility. Furthermore, because the income received from conservancy payments is not more than that received from livestock production, conservancies do not adequately compensate landowners for the restrictions placed on their other livelihood activities. Also, income is based on land ownership, which has inequity implications: women and other marginalized groups are left out. The authors conclude that conservancies aim to replace livestock, rather than to fully integrate with livestock within the same landscape. However, livestock landscapes need to be part of the conservation agenda, because livestock support livelihoods and can contribute to protecting biodiversity.