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Accueil du site → Doctorat → Allemagne → 2000 → A biophysical analysis of erosion damage in a semi-arid agro-ecosystem in Kenya : towards sustainable land management

University of Bonn (2000)

A biophysical analysis of erosion damage in a semi-arid agro-ecosystem in Kenya : towards sustainable land management

Fuchaka, Peter Waswa

Titre : A biophysical analysis of erosion damage in a semi-arid agro-ecosystem in Kenya : towards sustainable land management

Auteur : Fuchaka, Peter Waswa

Université de soutenance : University of Bonn,

Grade : Doctoral Thesis 2000

This case study was carried out in semi-arid Ndome and Ghazi focal development areas in TaitaTaveta, District, Kenya. Although current development research and policy structures acknowledge the importance of land user participation at all levels of resource management decision making, a considerable gap still exists between ideological/conceptual acceptance and real implementation on the ground. The tendencies to address symptoms rather than real root causes and hence persistence of land degradation in many tropical agro-ecosystems attests to this. The focus in this study on the abiophysical (total human) dimension was thus intended to help with the identification of the root causes of persistent land degradation in order to pave way for the design and implementation of appropriate technologies and approaches at the grassroots, towards sustainable land management. Both qualitative and quantitative methods (participatory Rural Appraisals, Questionnaire Surveys, Interviews, Aerial Photo Interpretations and Ground Surveys) were employed for data collection. Between 1961 and 1998, up to 30% of arable land in Ghazi and Ndome had been permanently lost to gully erosion and sand deposition, while an other 50% is currently threatened by gully expansion and fertility depletion through intrinsic rill and inter-rill erosion. Although the ultimate damage and loss of land was effected by climatic processes (raindrop effect and runoff), the severity of the damage was enhanced by inappropriate and persistent human perturbations in the land system mainly through survival driven vegetative degradation, exploitative farming and destruction of stable soil structure. Although private property rights (PPR) were people driven and possession of title deeds was the main determinant of security of land tenure (r = 0.94), there was no evidence that directly linked land titling per-se to land improvement. Adoption of necessary structural conservation measures was still below 50% in the whole District. Though potentially unable to effectively adjust to rapid changes in the farming system, commensurate with the demands of increasing population, indigenous land and water management (IL WM) technologies were still favoured by farmers with adoption rates ranging from 60% to over 90%. Therefore, for sustainable land management, land titling should be accompanied by policy reforms that would enhance protection of agricultural land from non-justifiable alternative uses, encourage increased production possibility frontiers of agricultural land, and facilitate land degradation control. Since more than 80% of poverty and hence land degradation in these areas is attributed to food insecurity, targeting community needs and priorities within the domain of poverty alleviation presents the most practical entry point towards sustainable land management. The single most important technical entry point in this regard remains availability of adequate water to supplement the erratic rainfall for agricultural production. Effective management of land users through community capacity building (CCB) is on the other hand the single most important abiophysical entry point towards increased individual and collective accountability to the resource base, and hence the greatest indicator of sustainability


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