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Moi University (2015)

Perceived Effects of Climate Change on Tourism and Natural Resources in protected areas in Kenya : A Case of Maasai Mara National Reserve

Manono, George

Titre : Perceived Effects of Climate Change on Tourism and Natural Resources in protected areas in Kenya : A Case of Maasai Mara National Reserve

Auteur : Manono, George

Université de soutenance : Moi University

Grade : DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY IN TOURISM MANAGEMENT 2015

Résumé
Like in other developing countries, the tourism industry in Kenya depends heavily on the recreational opportunities presented by the natural environments, which include pristine nature, spectacular landscapes, rare species, wildlife in their natural habitat, as well as, idyllic beaches. Despite this reality, Kenya is facing many environmental challenges and risks, perceived to be associated with climate change, that are increasingly threatening Kenya‘s future of tourism and natural resource base. This scenario accentuates the need for a paradigm shift in Kenya’s tourism and natural resources management to counteract the adverse risks of climate change. Thus, the general objective of this study was to establish the perceived effect of climate change on tourism and natural resources in Maasai Mara National Reserve (MMNR). Specifically, the study established (i) the perceived effect of climate change on animal community ; (ii) the perceived effect of climate change plant community ; (iii) the perceived effect of climate change quantity of surface water ; (iv) tourism and tourists activities, as well as, (v) the adaptation strategies to climate change adopted in MMNR. The study employed a survey research design and mixed research methods for data collection. The sample size comprised of 400 respondents, where 300 were the local community and 100 were the staff of MMNR. The findings of the study revealed that climate change negatively affect animals, especially in causing changes in their breeding grounds (β=0.69), changes in animal populations (β=0.65), increased animal deaths (β=0.65), changes in migration routes (β=0.65) and patterns (β=0.63). Important perceived effect of climate change on plants were changes in plant species (β=0.70), plants‘ adaptation strategies (β=0.65), changes in distribution of plants (β=0.64), changes in vegetation cover (β=0.63), and emergence of alien species (β=0.62). Climate change was also found to affect changes in rainfall seasons/patterns (β=0.72), water level in Mara River and its tributaries (β=0.71), and changes in the availability of fresh water (β=0.70). With regard to tourism, climate change was found to alter tourists‘ visitation patterns (β=0.74), their activity patterns (β=0.72), and tourists‘ numbers and activity diversity (β=0.68). Although most respondents (73.5%) felt that, the MMNR had put into place some climate change adaptation strategies, deficiencies in the strategies were evident, as respondents felt that there was a need for more research on climate change impacts (90.5%). The study concluded that climate change has a significant effect on the quantity of surface water, followed by tourism, animals and lastly plants. The study recommends that a comprehensive legislative framework that will exclusively address all facets of climate change should be developed and the relevant institutional frameworks should embrace it for implementation.

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