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University of Nairobi (2001)

Impact of land-use on vegetation resources and socioeconomic environment in Kakuma division, Turkana district, Kenya : a case study of a pastoral community

Okoti, Michael

Titre : Impact of land-use on vegetation resources and socioeconomic environment in Kakuma division, Turkana district, Kenya : a case study of a pastoral community

Auteur : Okoti, Michael

Université de soutenance : University of Nairobi

Grade : Master of science in range management 2001

Résumé partiel
This study was conducted in the northern part of Kenya, Turkana district, in Kakuma division. Its aims were to study the impact of human settlement on vegetation and soil resources and the socio-economic environment. Kakuma is a semi-arid area under nomadic pastoralism as the main activity. This area has a high population concentration than other areas. The presence of the refugee camp has attracted many people from within the turkana conununity and also the outside conununity. This has in turn had an effect on the vegetation and the social patterns of the local conununity. Vegetation plays an important role in the sustenance of the Turkana people, either directly (food) or indirectly (forage for animals). For the study of vegetation, 4 transects, each 6 Km long, were laid from the settlement camp. Vegetation density, cover and diversity values were taken for trees, shrubs and herbs at the intervals of 1 Km. The 6th Km from the settlement camp acted as the control. There was a significant difference (P>O.05) in vegetation cover, density and diversity along distance gradient. The mean tree crown cover was low near the settlement camp-6.24%, but high away from the settlement camp-S7.69%, as many trees were cut down for charcoal burning, firewood and building poles. The density was high near the settlement camp as many trees were re-sprouts and young trees. The cover of thi, was low compared to mature trees. Shrub crown cover was low in the 1stand 4thKm, 0.87% and 3.S4% respectively, compared with 6.84%,9.82% and 7.8% for the 2nd,3rdand s" Km. Areas around the 1st and 4thKm had settlements. The need for fencing and building materials was the main cause of low shrub cover. The density of the shrub species generally increased as one moved away from the settlement camp. Shrub species most cut were Acacia reficiens, Acacia niellifera and Abutilon fruticosum. Herb species cover and density was high near the settlement camp 68% and 202.17 individuals/rn" compared to 4S.43% and 187 individuals/rrr’ at the s" Km., but this comprised mostly of species unpalatable to livestock like Tribulus terrestris and Portulaca oleraceae. Though herb cover was low away from the settlement camp, the proportion of palatable species was high. Species diversity was low for trees and shrubs near the settlement camp but high for herb species. Direct cutting into tree and shrub species must have reduced the number of species available. The high number of herb species was a result of over-utilization of palatable species. The region in the recent past has undergone various ecological and social changes due to various factors. The study revealed that droughts and livestock raids in the previous years have set in motion social and ecological changes. The loss of livestock through raids and droughts has encouraged the sedenterization of the Turkana.

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