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Restoring African degraded landscapes with plant biodiversity and livestock management


Department for International Development UKAID

Titre : Restoring African degraded landscapes with plant biodiversity and livestock management

Pays : Kenya

Numéro du projet : GB-GOV-13-FUND—GCRF-BB_S014934_1

Organismes de mise en œuvre : Lancaster University

Durée : Actual Start 01 Apr 2019 // Actual End31 Mar 2021

The overarching goal of this project is to elucidate the underlying biological mechanisms behind successful restoration of degraded grazing lands in the highlands of Kenya, supported by an understanding of the required governance of resources required to sustain success. Specifically, we seek to exploit plant biodiversity and livestock management for the recovery of degraded lands, thereby increasing the quality of livestock fodder, livestock productivity and nutrient content of manures. In order to achieve this aim, the project has a number of specific objectives : 1) Identify states of degradation and their association with soil and ecosystem functioning, and livestock management in Kenyan highlands to derive practical metrics Each degradation state is associated with specific soil and vegetation characteristics. Based on an improved understanding of these characteristics farming communities will be able i) to select landscapes that can be restored, ii) learn how to monitor a recovering soil, and which plant species may be able to help the process and iii) to know key properties that dictate whether or not an ecosystem is recovering or degrading. For each degradation state, we will understand soil, vegetation and management by conducting complementary soil and vegetation mapping and household surveys. 2) Identify the role of plant functional diversity in building soil functioning to support plant production and high feed quality in degraded grasslands We will experimentally test how a range of plant species with contrasting functional traits perform in degraded soils and characterize their impact on multiple soil functions that underpin the restoration of degraded grassland soils ; further, using the same pool of plant species, we will experimentally test the potential for different trait-based groups and their combinations to enhance the functioning of degraded Kenyan soils during initial stages of restoration, ultimately benefitting plant production and feed quality. Combined with information from 1, these experiments will identify interventions with potential to accelerate the restoration of degraded grassland soils in this region of East Africa. 3) Define opportunities to manage landscape level interactions to support restoration and communities livelihoods through a validation of alternative scenarios Using information from 1 and 2, we will quantify livestock productivity and investigate how productivity and grassland degradation states are explained by management, and land tenure and governance arrangements. We will build scenarios for experimentation with local communities in Kenya and use the information derived in 1 and 2 to stimulate the discussions. Scenarios and simulation models will be used to quantify investments needed, benefits and trade-offs in the use of resources resulting from different restoration pathways, and to map the institutional and governance arrangements required for successful restoration. 4) Engage key stakeholders to understand restoration needs and constraints and to build capacity Information gathered from the initial workshop and during the 2-years project will be fed into the research cycle to enrich the research and maximise the chances of achieving impacts on the ground. Critical gaps in knowledge and capacity will be covered by targeted training and knowledge exchange events. Each member of the research team will allocate time to participate of these activities including sessions with the local and the national media.

Financement : UK - Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Project budget : £1,151,253

Présentation (UKAID)

Page publiée le 16 octobre 2022