Natural Resources, 2011, 2, 197-211
doi:10.4236/nr.2011.24026 Published Online December 2011 (
Copyright © 2011 SciRes. NR
A Field Study in the Status and Threats of
Cultivation in Kimana and Ilchalai Swamps in
Amboseli Dispersal Area, Kenya
Moses Makonjio Okello, John M. Kioko
The School for Field Studies, Centre for Wildlife Management Studies, Nairobi, Kenya.
Received June 17th, 2011; revised August 24th, 2011; accepted September 1st, 2011.
The scarcity of water and dependence of local communities on wetlands for resources and services is a common occur-
rence in dry rangelands such as Amboseli in Kenya. There are only a few swamps outside Amboseli National Park
available to the Maasai, livestock and wildlife. Such swamps may disappear in the near future because of conversion to
cultivation. This study established the current size and threats to Kimana and Ilchalai near Amboseli National Park.
Swamps were regularly used by over 15 large mammal species among them elephants, buffalo, wildebeest, zebra, ga-
zelles and hippopoatums. However, only 15.7% of Kimana Swamp and 36.1% of Ilchalai Swamp remained unconverted
to cultivation, with the rest of the remaining swamp area converted to agriculture. Cultivation was mainly done by non-
Maasai land leasers, and for mainly commercial purposes. Swamps were converted because of adequate and free water,
cheap lease fee, and their fertile soils. Although concerned with swamp conversion, most cultivators were ready to ex-
pand cultivation in other swamps. These findings demonstrate how unsustainable resource use and swamp conversion
can seriously threaten critical resources for local livelihoods and wildlife conservation.
Keywords: Amboseli Ecosystem, Irrigated Agriculture, Kenya, Maasai Livelihoods, Resource Conservation, Swamps
1. Introduction
Savannah ecosystems are characterized by temporal and
spatial variations in availability of water resources. In
Africa, increasing human population and changes in land
use patterns have put immense pressure on wetlands,
often regarded by many local communities as idle land.
But wetlands act as biological recycling centers by puri-
fying water and decomposing dead plant and animal mat-
ter, thereby releasing essential nutrients back into the soil.
In Kenya, wetlands are rapidly declining, make up to
only 2.5% (14,000 km2) of the country [1]. Wetlands act
as ecological “islands” because they are intermediate be-
tween terrestrial and aquatic systems where the water
table is at or near the land surface [2-5]. These small pa-
tches of land with greater water availability provide di-
verse resources and thus are the focus of competing land
uses [6]. Such competition often results in intense pres-
sure on these prime critical habitats and the associated
biodiversity resources.
As Maasai lands get increasingly subdivided, most of
the wetlands (swamps) on community land are used by
owners who either cultivate or leased the land for culti-
vation [7]. The landscape is now dotted with pockets of
agriculture concentrated mainly within the limited wet-
lands and on slopes of Mt. Kilimanjaro [6,7]. Conversion
of wetlands into agriculture has diverse consequences.
For instance, fertilizer and pesticide use during cultiva-
tion generates chemical runoff which pollutes wetlands.
Agriculture consumes 400% more water in rangelands
than humans and animals combined [8]. The result is
competition in areas where water is not readily available
Human population and agricultural development are
directly related to the significant loss of biodiversity in
Kenya [9]. Human encroachment on wildlife dispersal
areas is prominent in 70% of protected areas in Kenya
[10]. The increase in agriculture has led to severe frag-
mentation of wildlife dispersal areas and intense human-
wildlife conflicts [7,10] and may also be a cause of de-
pressed livelihoods among the Maasai [11]. This threat
has become particularly evident in semi-arid areas, which
are central to wildlife conservation in Kenya. Of particu-
A Field Study in the Status and Threats of Cultivation in Kimana and Ilchalai Swamps in
Amboseli Dispersal Area, Kenya
lar interest is the Amboseli Ecosystem; one of the main
hubs of wildlife endowment in the country. The creation
of protected areas, such as Amboseli, on land historically
owned by Maasai is an extremely emotive issue in the
area. The result is intense competition among the Maasai
people, their livestock, and wildlife for limited resources,
especially water resources [6].
When Amboseli was designated as a national park in
1974, it enclosed all permanent swamps used by the
Maasai in the area. Only a few (such as Namelok, Ki-
mana, Ilchalai and Osoit Pus Swamps) were left outside
the park [12]. These swamps were not as large and as
reliable as those sealed inside the park. Thus, the Maasai
were forced to rely on the few swamps outside the park
for watering their livestock and for critical livelihood re-
sources. At the same time, the swamps were utilized by
wildlife during dispersion outside Amboseli National Park.
The combined effects of increasing population, changing
socio-economic realities and changing land uses [6],
these swamps are faced with serious threats of degrada-
tion and conversion and are steadily diminishing.
Of the swamps left outside of Amboseli, one of them,
Namelok, has since been fenced in and is unavailable to
wildlife [7]. Increased irrigation upstream and re-direct-
ing of water into the Nairobi Pipeline from Nolturesh
River has reduced Osoit Pus Swamp to a seasonal swamp.
Only Kimana and Ilchalai swamps remain viable, but are
under serious siege from irrigated agriculture.
Establishing the current size of these swamps and the
opinions of stakeholders using it will provide the first
step in establishing strategies to prevent the complete
degradation and conversion of these critical wetlands.
We present a case study of the land use dynamics in Ki-
mana and Ilchalai swamps that is critical to sustenance of
local human livelihoods and wildlife in the area. The
area is important for wildlife conservation and serves as
part of wildlife dispersal area for Tsavo West, Chyulu
and Amboseli National Parks, and the Kimana Commu-
nity Wildlife Sanctuary. Studying the relationships among
the various users will help understand the land use dy-
namics within wetlands of dispersal areas and shed some
light on lessons that may be applied in other dry lands of
Kenya and Africa.
The overall objective of this study was to establish the
current size, status, threats, and perspectives of the local
Maasai for two critical swamps (Kimana and Ilchalai)
that lie between Amboseli National Park and Chyulu
Hills/Tsavo West National Parks. The specific objectives
were to map the Kimana and Ilchalai swamps to establish
their current size, the area converted to irrigated agricul-
ture, and the area remaining. Also to interview the local
Maasai and various cultivators to establish local opinions
regarding swamp resource use, threats, and future viabil-
ity of these critical swamps.
2. Study Area
This study was conducted in the Kimana and Ilchalai
swamps (Figure 1) in the Tsavo-Amboseli ecosystem of
Figure 1. The location of Kimana Swamp and Ilchalai Swamp within the group ranches in Amboseli Ecosystem.
Copyright © 2011 SciRes. NR
A Field Study in the Status and Threats of Cultivation in Kimana and Ilchalai Swamps in 199
Amboseli Dispersal Area, Kenya
southern Kenya in June and July of 2006. The Kimana
Swamp, located at the junction of the Kimana and Isinet
Rivers, is situated on the border of Kimana and Mbiri-
kani Group Ranches that form wildlife dispersal area for
Tsavo West and Amboseli National Parks. Ilchalai Swa-
mp, located on the Kikarankot River, lies on the boarder
between Kuku Group Ranch and Mbirikani Group Ranch.
The swamps are fed by underground aquifers that fed by
water from Mt. Kilimanjaro and run-off during the rainy
The elevation of the area is 1199 m above sea level.
Temperatures within the area vary seasonally; highs
reach 35˚C in February and March and lows 12˚C in July.
Average monthly temperatures fall between 21˚C and
25˚C. Annual rainfall is concentrated into two seasons:
the wet season, which ranges from November to January,
and the dry season, which ranges from March to May.
Total rainfall in the area averages 350 mm per year. This
makes swamps in the area critical resources for wildlife,
people and livestock.
The seasonally flooded swamps are dominated by Cy-
prus immensus, Acacia xanthophlea. Benth., Salvadora
persica L., Acacia tortillis (Forssk.) Hanyne, and sur-
rounded by Commiphora woodlands. The soils in the
swamps include Saline orthic Solonetz and Solonchaks,
as well as dispersed areas of Andosols, Chernozens, and
Luvisols that form in lakebeds which are seasonally
flooded [1].
African elephants (Loxodonta Africana, Blumenbanch),
Plains Zebras (Equus burchelli, Gray), African Buffalos
(Syncerus caffer, Fisher), Common Hippopotamuses (Hi-
ppopotamus amphibious, Le Conte), Grants Gazelle (Ga-
zella granti, Nanger), Common waterbuck (Kobus ellip-
siprymnus, Ogibly), Thomson’s Gazelle (Gazella thomp-
sonii, Nanger) and Maasai Giraffe (Giraffa camelopar-
dalis, Le Conte) are some of the major wildlife that fre-
quently uses the swamps, especially in the dry season [7,
13]. The Kimana Community Wildlife Sanctuary (KCWS),
which is key for tourism revenue and income generation
to Kimana Group Ranch members, encompasses part of
the Kimana Swamp. However, Ilchalai Swamp is not
under any protected status. The area is Maasai land, de-
fined by group ranches, and the primary type of land use
within the swamps is rain fed crop cultivation and dry
season grazing area by the pastoral Maasai.
3. Methods and Materials
This study relied on questionnaires and discussions with
key informants to get information on local opinions on
the threats and status of swamps and cultivation activities
in the swamps. A combination of these two approached
provided more insights and helped cross-check facts so
as to ascertain their influence and authenticity. This is re-
commended in all sociological PRA studies. Geographi-
cal mapping was critical in providing information on the
area and conversion of the wetlands so that current status
on the ground was established. This was important sup-
porting work for the sociological research components of
this study.
3.1. Swamp Mapping
Global Positioning System (GPS) receivers (Etrex Leg-
end) were used to take coordinates along intact and con-
verted (cultivated) sections of the swamps. Readings
were taken along the entire perimeter of the swamps (en-
tire swamp, intact and cultivated segments). Any wildlife
species using uncultivated areas of the swamps were also
noted. For the five days of research, a record of groups of
large mammals were kept in for the two swamps for
purposes of establishing presence of wildlife use and
comparisons of group sizes. Presence in terms of number
of groups rather than total number of use was the interest
in this study.
The GPS coordinates were then recorded on data
sheets and input into Microsoft Excel® (Microsoft Cor-
poration, 2003). The data was transferred to ArcView 3.2
GIS (ESRI, 1999) for spatial analysis of the swamps.
This was used to generate maps that depict the extent and
characteristics of each swamp.
3.2. Interviews with Farmers and Local Maasai
Cultivators (mostly immigrants from Northern Tanzania
and other Kenyan tribes) as well as local Maasai living
around the swamps were interviewed. The sampling unit
was a farm or a household where household heads or
farm owners were interviewed. A distinct effort was
made to interview all stakeholders. Further, key opinion
leaders and officials of Kimana, Kuku, and Mbirikani
group ranches were also interviewed for their perspec-
tives concerning resource use, threats, and the status of
the swamps. A set of semi-closed questionnaires and
open discussions were used to capture the opinions and
to acquire information regarding the status of the swa-
mps. Information was gathered regarding water avail-
ability, resource use, human impacts, and use by wildlife.
Research teams were accompanied by local guides who
acted as translators. For Kimana swamp, 99 interviews
were conducted with cultivators and 83 with Maasai
households. For Ilchalai swamp, interviews were con-
ducted with 81 cultivators and 90 Maasai households. A
total of seven local opinion leaders were interviewed.
Chi-square goodness of fit was used to determine dif-
ferences in frequencies of responses on particular issues,
while chi-square cross tabulations were used to establish
relationships between interviewee attributes and re-
sponses. This was done using SPSS® (Version 9.0 for
Copyright © 2011 SciRes. NR
A Field Study in the Status and Threats of Cultivation in Kimana and Ilchalai Swamps in
Amboseli Dispersal Area, Kenya
Windows), with significant differences being considered
at alpha of 5% [14].
4. Results
4.1. Status of Swamps and Large Mammal Use
The size of Kimana Swamp was 10.01 km2 (Figure 2)
and Ilchalai Swamp was 5.62 km2 (Figure 3). Osoit Pus
Swamp had been reduced to a seasonal area swamp of
0.49 km2. Only 1.57 km2 (15.68%) of the current size of
Kimana Swamp (Table 1) was still intact compared to
the 8.44 km2 (84.32%) that had been converted to agricul-
ture (Figure 2). The unconverted portion of the swamp
Figure 2. Converted and unconverted portions of Kimana Swamp and survey sights.
Figure 3. Converted and unconverted portions of Ilchalai Swamp and survey sights.
Copyright © 2011 SciRes. NR
A Field Study in the Status and Threats of Cultivation in Kimana and Ilchalai Swamps in 201
Amboseli Dispersal Area, Kenya
Table 1. Status (size) of critical swamps remaining in the
Amboseli ecosystem. Most swamps have been converted
into irrigated crop cultivation.
Area of the different segments of the swamps
Converted Intact Total
Swamp 8.44 (84.32%) 1.57 (15.68%) 10.01
Swamp 3.59 (63.88%) 2.03 (36.12%) 5.62
Osoit Pus
The swamp has not been converted
and has shrunk about 30 km2 in 1978
size due to water diversion
lay entirely in the Kimana Community Wildlife Sanctu-
ary (KCWS), while the rest had been converted into ag-
riculture (Figure 2). In Ilchalai Swamp, a large portion
on the swamp (3.59 km2, 63.88%) had also been con-
verted to agriculture, and only 2.03 km2 (36.12%) re-
mained intact (Figure 3).
Both swamps were used commonly by thirteen large
mammal species (Table 2). The most common species
were Grant gazelle (Gazella granti), white bearded wil-
debeest (Connochaetes taurinus), common zebra (Equus
burchelli), impala (Aepyceros melampus), common wa-
terbuck (Kobus elliprymnus) and African elephants (Lo-
xodonta Africana). These species were found in both
swamps, with more total animal groups using Ilchalai
Swamp than Kimana Swamp (
2 = 18.24, df = 1, p <
0.001). Even though sightings of groups were similar
among the two swamps, there were more animal groups
for wildebeest, zebra, Grants’ gazelle and Cokes har-
tebeest (Alcephalus busephalus cokii) in Ilchalai Swamp
than the Kimana Swamp (Table 2).
4.2. Opinions of Community Leaders
Key opinion leaders and informants from around the
swamp areas gave varied reactions to issues on swamp
use (Table 3). All local opinion leaders as well as that of
Kimana Wildlife Sanctuary noted an increase in the
number of cultivators in the swamps. They attributed this
to poverty, increasing human population, and increasing
frequency of droughts. They noted a decrease in water
quantity and consequently a decline in water availability
for people, livestock and wildlife (Table 2). Community
Table 2. Presence of large wild animals groups seen over five days of research in and around the key critical swamps of Ki-
mana and Ilchalai in Amboseli dispersal area.
Animal presence and use of
Kimana Swamp
Animal presence and use of
Ilchalai Swamp
Mammal species Frequency
Chi-square test between
Thomson’s gazelle, Gazella
thomsoni 150 16 180 16
2 = 2.73, df = 1, p = 0.099)1
Wildebeest, Connochaetes
taurinus 125 13 170 15
2 = 6.87, df = 1, p = 0.009)
Common zebra, Equus
burchelli 120 13 150 13
2 = 3.33, df = 1, p = 0.068)
Grants gazella, Gazella granti 90 10 120 11
2 = 4.29, df = 1, p = 0.038)
Impala, Aepyceros melaphus 85 9 100 9
2 = 1.22, df = 1, p = 0.27)
Common waterbuck, Kobus
elliprymnus 75 8 90 8
2 = 1.36, df = 1, p = 0.24)
African elephant, Loxodonta
africana 60 6 50 4
2 = 0.91, df = 1, p = 0.34)
Cokes hartebeest, Alcelaphus
buselaphus cokii 60 6 100 9
2 = 10.00, df = 1, p = 0.002)
Olive baboon, Papio anubis 50 5 40 4
2 = 1.11, df = 1, p = 0.29)
African buffalo, Syncerus caffer 40 4 30 3 (
2 = 1.43, df = 1, p = 0.23)
Common warthog,
Phacochoerus aethiopicus 35 4 50 4
2 = 2.65, df = 1, p = 0.10)
Common eland, Tragelaphus
scriptus 35 4 50 4
2 = 2.65, df = 1, p = 0.10)
Common hippopotamus,
Hippopotamus amphibious 20 2 10 1
2 = 3.33, df = 1, p = 0.07)
Total sightings 945 1140 (
2 = 18.24, df = 1, p < 0.001)
1There was no significant difference in the between the two swamps if the p-value is less than 5% (alpha of 0.05). The number of sighted groups was similar
except in wildebeest, Grants gazelle and hartebeest.
Copyright © 2011 SciRes. NR
A Field Study in the Status and Threats of Cultivation in Kimana and Ilchalai Swamps in
Amboseli Dispersal Area, Kenya
Table 3. Opinions of local Maasai leaders and opinion leaders on the farming activities in the swamps, consequences for their
Issue Opinions of three leaders from
Kimana Group Ranch
Opinions of three leaders from
Mbirikani Group Ranch
Opinions of an official of Kimana
Community Wildlife Sanctuary
Change in number of
cultivators in Kimana
-Increases especially during the
drought -Increase, about 100 people per year Increased
Major events that have
shifted land-use
-Capitalistic attitudes increasing
-Long droughts have caused
livestock to die so people turn to
agriculture for profit
-Livestock numbers keep
decreasing so people must
supplement with farming
-Non-Maasai cultivators are
pushing out the Maasai
-Changing lifestyles
-Droughts during which people lose
many livestock; less of a loss with
-Increasing population cannot support
everyone as a pastoralist
-Drought in other areas of Kenya
-In 1992, it was still a swamp, since then
farming has been increasing rapidly
-In 1997, due to El Nino it opened the
rivers up which drained the swamp
-In 2006, heavy rains partially restored
the swamp
Change in water
availability for people
- Decreased due to diversions
- No change
-Decreased due to increased furrow use
-No change -Decreased due to diversions
Change in swamp
availability for livestock
Decreased due to fencing and
other boundaries
-Decreased due to cultivation; livestock
must travel to other locations to find
-No change
Change in water availability
for wildlife
-Decreased due to cut-off access
on the Mbirikani side
-Only access is through the
Kimana Wildlife Sanctuary
-Decreased due to cut-off access on the
Mbirikani side
-No change, there isn’t a problem with
water in the wildlife sanctuary
No change due to full access from the
sanctuary side
Affects of river diversions of
rivers draining into swamps
for agriculture
-Water does not reach as far as
it used to, so trees and other
vegetation are being reduced
-There are no problems with the
diversions because the swamp
will fill naturally
-Wildlife and livestock have to
travel to other places to find
water; presence of wildlife birds,
etc. are reducing
-Water doesn’t reach as far which
creates conflict
-The swamp will become dry because of
water loss
-People are benefiting from the
diversions but it will eventually dry up
the swamp
-There is a change in vegetation and
loss of trees and pasture
-Benefits farmers to get more water to
their plots
Since the rivers upstream are
increasingly getting diverted, the water
doesn't reach the people downstream,
which creates conflict
Resources used by the
-Reduced on Mbirikani side
because of clearing for cultivation
-Non-accessible on sanctuary side
-Building materials and crops
-Pasture and firewood
-Water for drinking and domestic use
(which is unsafe because of minerals
and pesticides)
-Building materials
-Water, firewood, and reeds for roofing
of house units
-Before cultivation there was enough
water, grazing for livestock and building
-Now there are no valuable resources
(not a concern because the sanctuary
provides food, water, cover, and
protection for wildlife)
Competition for swamp
-During the night high
competition between wildlife and
cultivators for water resources
because wildlife do not observe
land boundaries
-During the day, high
competition between livestock
and cultivators
-Human-wildlife conflict for
pasture and water
-Humans cut down trees to be
used for building materials and
charcoal which destroys the
grazing area
-Wildlife destroy cultivators
-There is competition because everyone
must rely on the same area for
resources, especially water
-Livestock and wildlife eat the destroy
crops, and break furrows
-Competition for water, firewood, and
reeds; burning of the swamp for
cultivation angers pastoralists because
it depletes pasture
-During the dry season there is constant
competition for water and vegetation
-Conflict of whether to expand
cultivation or not
-During the dry season the swamp is
used to support all livestock, but there is
limited access due to cultivation
-Causes illegal grazing in the sanctuary
Copyright © 2011 SciRes. NR
A Field Study in the Status and Threats of Cultivation in Kimana and Ilchalai Swamps in
Amboseli Dispersal Area, Kenya
Copyright © 2011 SciRes. NR
Swamp resources that were
previously available but are
currently in limited supply
-Previously, there was enough
land for livestock and wildlife to
graze on, and for people to
collect adequate firewood and
building materials
-Water has decreased, reeds are
limited, pasture is decreasing, and
wildlife that was once inhabiting
the area has left
-Decrease in area that the swamp
once covered
-Grass for livestock grazing
-Lots of pasture, trees, and water were
previously available
-People are benefiting more, but
wildlife have less space
-There used to be more hippos and other
-Grazing area for livestock
-Water has been contaminated due to
pesticide use and pollution
Current solutions to help
alleviate pressure of use on
swamps in Amboseli area
-Government officials and group
ranch leaders should work
together to prevent cultivation,
but most of the officials are
cultivators which creates conflict of
-People doing farming and wildlife
conservation need to reach an
agreement; wildlife conservation is
the only viable option
-The people don't have any
knowledge of other alternatives to
-Pay the farmers and Maasai land
owners to not cultivate the land
-If agriculture is stopped, the swamp
will be able to recover as a result of
floods during the rainy season
-Limit the number of plots issued to
-Technology will be able to help
improve irrigation
-Give people individual plots so they
will maintain it better;
-Wildlife stakeholders should provide
people with compensation and therefore
they would not cultivate
-Cement the furrows to reduce water
loss and increase efficiency
-Easement which pays people to leave
their land free of agriculture; currently
one household is being paid which is
working well
-Alternative land leasing strategies
other than for cultivation, so that the
Maasai to benefit from, but allow
environmental and resource
leaders attributed this decline to diversion of water from
rivers and swamps for farm irrigation purposes.
The key informants reported that resources from the
swamps were used for construction of homes, cultivation,
domestic use, and livestock forage. However they noted
a decline of these resources, particularly of pasture in the
dry season livestock grazing in the swamps. They also
reported that competition for water resources and other
resources from the swamps among the farmers, between
farmers and wildlife, and between livestock and wildlife
is continually increasing. They were concerned that the
swamps could be in danger of extinction from the com-
bined effects of vegetation clearance, water over utiliza-
tion, and general degradation. One official predicted that
the swamps could be reduced to wastelands within five
years (Table 3). As a solution to this, opinion leaders
suggested increased community awareness of the conse-
quences of swamp disappearance to community liveli-
hood and the environment. However, they recognized
that these issues need to be elaborated through negotiated
and structured actions that involve all stakeholders. As
an alternative option, some opinion leaders suggested
prevention of further leasing of Maasai land to non-
Maasai tribes for cultivation. In addition, they suggested
proper and efficient use of water resources as a way for-
ward to conserve the remaining area of the swamps (Ta-
ble 3).
4.3. Opinions of Cultivators
The majority of cultivators in both Kimana and Ilchalai
swamps grew horticultural crops such as tomatoes (Ly-
copersicon esculentum), onions (Allium cepa), and other
vegetables (Table 4). Most of the cultivators had low
level of education and relied wholly on agriculture as
their main livelihood. In both swamps, most cultivators
were not land owners, but rather leased subdivided land
from the local Maasai. A majority of them cultivated less
than two acres of land, and for less than a year. A signi-
ficant (p < 0.001) majority (over 80%) of the cultivators
in both swamps had never paid for the water they used.
A majority of the people around Ilchalai Swamp noted
that water was declining, while the majority in Kimana
noted that either water quantity had remained the same or
fluctuated seasonally.
Most cultivators in both swamps noted the destruction
of crops due to flooding. Additionally, crops in both swa-
mps were destroyed by wildlife. The common wildlife
crop raiders were elephants, common zebra, and ante-
lopes. Most crops raids occurred in the dry season rather
than in the wet season. However, more wildlife species
raided crops in Kimana Swamp than in Ilchalai Swamp
(Table 4).
Cultivation in the swamps was mainly motivated by
commercial profits rather than subsistence use (Table 4).
In both swamps, more people used pesticides and ferti-
lizers to optimize output, and had not changed the crops
they grew over time. Most farmers preferred cultivation
in the swamps because of the constant presence of water,
and the relatively fertile land as compared to the sur-
rounding landscape (Table 4). It was also cheap to lease
swamp land from the Maasai for cultivation. Other bene-
fits to cultivation in swamps include the availability of
A Field Study in the Status and Threats of Cultivation in Kimana and Ilchalai Swamps in
Amboseli Dispersal Area, Kenya
Table 4. Opinions of cultivators in on farming activities within the swamp and level of concern for swamp status.
Issue Responses Kimana Swamp Ilchalai Swamp
Cultivators’ frequencies
χ2, df and
frequencies (%)
χ2, df and
Tomato 64 (31) 62 (33)
Maize (Zea spp.) 54 (26) 49 (26)
Beans (Vigna spp.) 40 (19) 20 (10)
Onion (Allium spp.) 31 (15) 56 (29)
Other (e.g. peas),
YamDioscorea Species
(Pisum), sp.), yams, kale)
13 (6) 4 (2)
Types of crops
Peppers (Capsicum spp.) 7 (3)
χ2 =72.081;
df = 5; p < 0.001
χ2 = 65.47;
df = 4; p < 0.001
Primary school 70 (72) 60 (75)
Secondary school 16 (17) 11 (14)
Level of education
completed No formal education 11 (11)
χ2 = 66.206;
df = 2; p < 0.0019 (11)
χ2 = 106.80;
df = 3; p < 0.001
Farming 89 (90) 75 (92)
Agro-pastoralism 6 (6) 3 (4)
Livelihood sources
Farming with other 4 (4)
χ2 = 142.606;
df = 2; p < 0.0013 (4)
χ2 = 128.00;
df = 2; p < 0.001
Rent (lease) 81 (82) 73 (90)
Partnership with Maasai 10 (10) 1 (1) Land ownership
Own the land 8 (8)
χ2 = 104.788;
df = 2; p < 0.0017 (9)
χ2 = 118.22;
df = 2; p < 0.001
No 42 (59) 49 (60)
Farm expansion or
new farms Yes 29 (41)
χ2 = 2.380;
df = 1; p = 0.12332 (40)
χ2 = 3.82;
df = 1; p = 0.11
No 90 (95) -
No (relies on rain) 5 (5) 66 (81) Payment for water
Yes 0 (0)
χ2 = 76.053;
df = 1; p < 0.00115 (19)
χ2 = 32.11;
df = 1; p < 0.001
Same 39 (49) 6 (7)
Seasonal fluctuation 23 (29) 23 (29)
Decrease 16 (20) 46 (57)
Water availability
Increase 2 (2)
χ2 = 35.500;
df = 3; p < 0.001
6 (7)
χ2 = 53.17;
df = 3; p < 0.001
Yes 86 (90) 70 (86)
Flood damage No 10 (10)
χ2 = 60.167;
df = 1; p < 0.00111 (14)
χ2 = 58.6;
df = 1; p < 0.001
Profit 49 (67) 75 (66)
Subsistence 16 (22) 30 (26)
Reasons for
farming Profit/subsistence 8 (11)
χ2 =38.822;
df = 2; p < 0.0019 (8)
χ2 = 59.84;
df = 2; p < 0.001
Yes 55 (57) 76 (92)
Fertilizer use No 42 (43)
χ2 = 64.281;
df = 4; p = 0.1877 (8)
χ2 = 57.36;
df = 1; p < 0.001
Yes 56 (58) 71 (86)
Pesticide use No 40 (42)
χ2 = 2.667;
df = 1; p = 0.10212 (14)
χ2 = 41.94;
df = 1; p < 0.001
No 50 (54) 35 (43)
Change of crops
cultivated over
Yes 42 (46)
χ2 = 0.696;
df = 1; p = 0.40446 (57)
χ2 = 1.49;
df = 1; p = 0.22
Yes 82 (83) 79 (98)
Crop damage by
wildlife No 17 (17)
χ2 = 42.677;
df = 1; p < 0.0012 (2)
χ2 = 73.2;
df = 1; p < 0.001
Elephants 22 (58) 48 (57)
Zebra 5 (14) 15 (18)
Buffalo 4 (10) -
Antelopes/ Wildebeest 4 (10) 20 (24)
Most destructive
animals to crops
Hippopotamus 3 (8)
χ2 = 34.368;
df = 4; p < 0.001
1 (1)
χ2 = 55.52;
df = 3; p < 0.001
Copyright © 2011 SciRes. NR
A Field Study in the Status and Threats of Cultivation in Kimana and Ilchalai Swamps in 205
Amboseli Dispersal Area, Kenya
Dry Season 96 (100) 66 (93)
Season when most
wildlife damage
occurs Rainy Season 0 (0)
Chi-square not
necessary 5 (7)
χ2 = 52.41;
df = 1; p < 0.001
Water availability 53 (53) 69 (55)
Farm year round 13 (13) 5 (4)
Other (e.g. pastoralism, word
of mouth) 12 (12) 9 (7)
Homeland too dry 10 (10) -
Fertile Soil 9 (9) 43 (34)
Reasons for
cultivation in the
For a better life/money 3 (3)
χ2 = 98.720;
df = 5; p < 0.001
χ2 = 51.54;
df = 3; p < 0.001
Drinking water 55 (61) 60 (74)
Building material 46 (51) 49 (61)
Domestic use
(e.g. cooking, washing) 35 (39) 61 (75)
Farming (e.g. irrigation) 34 (38) 70 (86)
None 6 (7) 3 (4)
Resources in the
swamp used by
Livestock (e.g. grazing,
watering) 3 (3)
χ2 = 74.642;
df = 5; p < 0.001
45 (56)
χ2 = 82.2;
df = 5; p < 0.001
Move elsewhere to cultivate 25 (25) 53 (65)
Won’t dry up 18 (18) -
Business 15 (15) 10 (13)
Go back home 13 (13) 5 (6)
No alternative 10 (10) 9 (11)
Other (e.g. plant trees, wait
for rain, look to God) 6 (6) -
Another career/trade 5 (5) -
No idea 4 (4) -
livelihoods if
Kimana Swamp
was to dry up
Pastorialism 4 (4)
χ2 = 38.240;
df = 8; p < 0.001
4 (5)
χ2 = 106.10;
df = 4; p < 0.001
Yes 67 (76) 56 (69)
Concerned about
swamp conversion No 21 (24)
χ2 = 38.291;
df = 1; p < 0.00125 (31)
χ2 = 57.2;
df = 1; p < 0.001
No 49 (33) -
Only Agriculture 39 (26) 22 (27)
Wildlife conservation and
tourism 29 (19) 20 (25)
Yes, but do not know options 15 (10) 1 (1)
Depends on owner 13 (9) -
Drinking water forlivestock 4 (3) -
multi-purpose land
use in swamps
Agro-pastoralism -
χ2 = 59.309;
df = 5; p < 0.001
38 (47)
χ2 = 34.1;
df = 3; p < 0.001
*Frequencies in this category may not necessarily add to 100 because interviewees may have given more than one response.
resources such as water for drinking, domestic use, and
watering livestock, as well as building materials (poles,
sticks and grass). More people in Ilchalai used water for
watering livestock than in Kimana Swamp (Table 4).
A significantly (p < 0.001) majority of the people (over
70%) in both Kimana and Ilchalai were concerned over
the diminishing size of the swamps. A majority of culti-
vators in Kimana did not favor multiple uses of swamps,
but instead preferred either agriculture or other resource
use. In Ilchalai Swamp, most cultivators favored agri-
culture, followed by wildlife conservation (Table 4) as
the best use of the swamps. There were differences in
opinions over what course of action to take should the
swamp in their area completely dry up. Most of the cul-
tivators in Ilchalai suggested that they would move else-
where to continue cultivation. However, a number of cul-
tivators in Kimana did not believe that complete drying
of the swamp could ever occur. Other alternative course
Copyright © 2011 SciRes. NR
A Field Study in the Status and Threats of Cultivation in Kimana and Ilchalai Swamps in
Amboseli Dispersal Area, Kenya
of actions mentioned by cultivators in both swamps in-
cluded engaging in business, in returning to their native
homes, or that they could not have any other livelihood
4.4. Opinions of Local Maasai Landowners
Nearly all the local landowners around the two swamps
belonged to the Maasai tribe. Household sizes for these
people ranged from 6 - 10 individuals (Table 5). The
majority practiced agro-pastoralism and mostly depend-
ed on the swamps for livelihood and provision of basic
good for survival. Nearly all the Maasai households re-
lied on swamps for drinking and domestic water use as
well as for poles, sticks, and grass from the swamps to
build their homes. Nearly all local Maasai also noted an
increase in the number of people depending on the swa-
mps for livelihoods, thereby contributing to a reduction
in swamp size (Table 5). They singled out wildlife da-
mages as the main challenge to agriculture expansion in
the swamps.
Nearly all the Maasai around both swamps noted a de-
cline in the frequency of wildlife using the swamps, but
few attributed this to expansion of agriculture (Table 5).
Around Kimana Swamp, they noted an increase in the
frequency of livestock of the swamps, while around Il-
chalai Swamp the majority of the Maasai noted a decline
in livestock access to the swamps because of agriculture.
Communities surrounding both swamps noted that access
to building materials has declined but access to water for
domestic purposes has remained the same. They also no-
ted that there was nothing the government, group ranch
leadership or themselves as individuals would do to solve
perceived threats to the swamps. However, they sug-
gested that the best use of the swamps and its resources
was first cultivation, followed by pastoralism, and other
multiple uses. Wildlife conservation was least of the pre-
ferred swamp use of swamps by local Maasai landow-
ners (Table 5).
Local Maasai in both swamps suggested various stra-
tegies for alternative livelihoods should the swamps dry
up. Many people near Kimana Swamp reported that they
would either turn to God (prayer) or move elsewhere to
pursue cultivation. Others in that area said they would
turn exclusively to pastoralism or a paid job. Others ad-
mitted that they have no alternative livelihoods in the
event that the swamp dries up completely. The commu-
nity around Ilchalai Swamp mostly reported that they
would move elsewhere or turn exclusively to pastoralism.
Further, a large number of people in Ilchalai swamp re-
ported that they had not yet considered an alternative
livelihood strategy. A relatively smaller number reported
that they would turn to God (prayer) for help (Table 5).
5. Discussion
The loss and decline (quantity, availability and access) of
swamps and water resources in swamps as a result of
increasing and unsustainable exploitation is clearly evi-
dent. This is a major concern in the Amboseli ecosystem
because mismanagement and misuse of water sources
will directly reduce local livelihoods and quality of life.
Water availability and wildlife damages will undoubt-
edly be the limiting factors to further expansion of agri-
culture in the area. Conversion of swamp land for culti-
vation is steadily increasing. The result is an increase in
the negative impacts of agriculture such as degradation
of soils and water sources from pollutants (fertilizers and
pesticides). The migration of people to this area to prac-
tice agriculture has resulted in over-utilization of plant
resources for cooking, fencing, building shelters and other
human uses. The demand for such materials has further
threatened swamp habitats for biodiversity.
The swamps in the Amboseli area, Kenya, just as
many countries in the world, is undergoing water stress
[2,3,5]. Demand for water is going to increase, together
with associated conflicts and concerns on availability and
usage. All wetlands are a critical life supporting system
providing goods and services to the wildlife and people
within, as well as those in adjacent ecosystems [15]. The
swamps provide surrounding communities with poles,
reeds, and grass for building their houses. They also sup-
ply water for irrigation, cooking, drinking, and bathing.
They are the only source of water and forage for live-
stock and wildlife especially during the dry season. How-
ever, with increasing agriculture all of these natural re-
sources are steadily decreasing. This is likely to increase
conflicts as herder-herder, farmer-farmer, farmer-herder
and farmer-wildlife conflicts over shortages and inade-
quate distribution of water and other swamp resources
With Kenya’s limited rainfall, agriculture in arid lands
such as in the Amboseli ecosystem can only be practiced
in the few wetlands and in the lower slopes of Mt. Kili-
manjaro [17]. Readily accessible water, fertile soils, and
Maasai landowners willing to lease, make these swamps
ideal for commercially motivated agriculture. A majority
of the local Maasai had the impression that the best use
of the land was agriculture. Agriculture is profitable, and
it provides a substantial amount of food, direct household
income, and jobs for the community over wildlife and
pastoralism [13,18,]. However, unaware of long-term
consequences, most people in the area support agricul-
ture over pastoralism and wildlife conservation because
of the immediate and direct benefits they receive [19].
They may not fully understand the permanent effects of
Copyright © 2011 SciRes. NR
A Field Study in the Status and Threats of Cultivation in Kimana and Ilchalai Swamps in
Amboseli Dispersal Area, Kenya
Copyright © 2011 SciRes. NR
Table 5. Opinions of local Maasai land owners in response to the farming activities in the swamps, consequences for their
livelihoods and the way forward.
Kimana Swamp Ilchalai Swamp
Issues Responses Cultivators’
frequencies (%)
χ2, df and
frequencies (%)
χ2, df and
Female 60 (73) 66 (73)
Gender Male 22 (27)
χ² = 17.61;
df = 1; p < 0.00124 (27)
χ² = 19.60;
df = 1; p < 0.001
1 - 5 20 (24) 36 (41)
6 - 10 40 (49) 43 (48)
11 - 15 15 (18) 3 (3)
16 - 20 5 (6) 5 (6)
Family Size
More than 20 2 (3)
χ² = 55.44;
df = 4;
p < 0.001
2 (2)
χ² = 89.82;
df = 4; p < 0.001
Maasai 79 (96) 89 (99)
Tribe Other Kenyan Tribes 3 (4)
χ² = 70.44;
df = 1; p < 0.0011 (1)
χ² = 86.04;
df = 1; p < 0.001
1 month - 7 years 44 (60) 69 (78)
8 - 15 years 18 (25) 7 (8)
16 - 22 years 3 (6) 5 (6)
23 - 29 years 1 (1) 2 (2)
Over 29 years - 2 (2)
Time of residence in the
area near swamps
Unknown -
χ² = 71.58;
df = 3; p < 0.001
4 (4)
χ² = 211.29;
df = 4; p < 0.001
Agro-pastoralism 65 (79) 60 (67)
Pastoralism 11 (14) 28 (31)
Agriculture 6 (7) 1 (1)
Livelihood of local Maasai
land owners
Other (job/business) -
χ² = 78.32;
df = 2; p < 0.001
1 (1)
χ² = 104.93;
df = 3; p < 0.001
1 - 2 1 (1) 1 (1)
3 - 4 3 (4) 9 (10)
5 - 6 15 (18) 17 (19)
7 - 8 18 (22) 19 (21)
Degree of reliance on
swamp for resources (1 low
and 10 high)
9 - 10 45 (55)
χ² = 75.56;
df = 4; p < 0.001
44 (49)
χ² = 58.22;
df = 4; p < 0.001
Yes 78 (95) 75 (83)
If swamp plant resources
were used to build homes No 4 (5)
χ² = 66.78;
df = 1; p < 0.00115 (17)
χ² = 40.00;
df = 1; p < 0.001
Sticks 66 (73) 18 (20)
Reeds 49 (60) 55 (60)
Grass 32 (39) 45 (49)
Plant Resources used to
build homesteads from
Other 8 (10)
χ² = 44.26;
df = 3; p < 0.001
2 (2)
χ² = 59.27;
df = 3; p < 0.001
Stream/River/Furrow 58 (72) 88 (98)
Source of drinking water Pipeline 23 (28)
χ² = 15.23;
df = 1; p < 0.0012 (2)
χ² = 82.18;
df = 1; p < 0.001
Increased 80 (99) 85 (94)
Same 1 (1) 4 (5)
Changes in population size
dependence on the swamp
Decreased 0 (0)
χ² = 77.049;
df = 1; p < 0.001
1 (1)
χ² = 151.40;
df = 2; p < 0.001
Increased 1 (1) 10 (11)
Same 20 (25) 22 (24)
Observed changes in swamp
Decreased 60 (74)
χ² = 45.70;
df = 2; p < 0.001
58 (64)
χ² = 41.60;
df = 2; p < 0.001
Yes 50 (61) 51 (57)
If there are problems
affecting swamp agriculture
activities No 32 (39)
χ² = 13.95;
df = 1; p = 0.04739 (43)
χ² = 1.60;
df = 1; p = 0.206
A Field Study in the Status and Threats of Cultivation in Kimana and Ilchalai Swamps in
Amboseli Dispersal Area, Kenya
Wildlife Damages - 40 (43)
None 53 (75) 30 (33)
Increased cultivation 13 (18) 30 (33)
Decreased rainfall 3 (4) 25 (28)
Factors threatening the
swamp’s existence*
Diversion of Rivers 2 (3)
χ² = 97.50;
df = 3; p < 0.001
5 (6)
χ² = 25.08;
df = 4; p < 0.001
Yes 77 (94) 60 (67)
If there are changes in wild-
life use of the swamp No 5 (6)
χ² = 63.20;
df = 1; p < 0.00130 (33)
χ² = 10.00;
df = 1; p = 0.002
Increased 48 (67) 25 (28)
Same 16 (22) 10 (11)
Changes in livestock
accessing dry-season
grazing in swamps Decreased 8 (11)
χ² = 37.30;
df = 2; p < 0.00155 (61)
χ² = 35.00;
df = 2; p < 0.001
Increased 1 (1) 22 (24)
Same 53 (65) 44 (49)
Changes in accessing clean
drinking water from the
swamps Decreased 28 (34)
χ² = 49.48;
df = 2; p < 0.001
24 (27)
χ² = 9.87;
df = 2; p = 0.007
Increased 5 (6) 1 (1)
Same 15 (18) 34 (38)
Changes in accessing home
building resources from
swamps Decreased 62 (76)
χ² = 67.78;
df = 2; p < 0.001
55 (61)
χ² = 49.40;
df = 2; p < 0.001
Community action 10 (12) 11 (12)
Health improvements 1 (1) 3 (3)
Pipeline/well 11 (14) 13 (15)
Fence 2 (2) 3 (3)
What can you do to help as
an individual
Nothing 58 (71)
χ² = 136.90;
df = 4; p < 0.001
60 (67)
χ² = 127.11;
df = 4; p < 0.001
Compensation 2 (2) 5 (6)
Regulation of water 25 (30) 22 (25)
Nothing 62 (76) 57 (63)
Education 9 (11) 2 (2)
Health facilities 3 (4) 2 (2)
What local group ranch
leadership can do to help
conserve swamps*
Fence 2 (2)
χ² = 163.039;
df = 5; p < 0.001
2 (2)
χ² = 161.33;
df = 5; p < 0.001
Education 15 (18) 10 (11)
Defense from wildlife 10 (12) 14 (!6)
Nothing 52 (63) 44 (49)
Health center 2 (2) 8 (9)
Compensation 10 (11) 2 (2)
What the government can
do to help conserve
Wells/Water control 5 (5)
χ² = 107.57;
df = 5; p < 0.001
12 (13)
χ² = 72.93;
df = 5; p < 0.001
Cultivation 45 (55) 42 (46)
Pastoralism 41 (50) 36 (39)
Mixed Use 38 (46) 31 (34)
Wildlife Conservation 8 (10) 5 (5)
Opinion on best use of
swamps and their
Building Resources 10 (12)
χ² = 45.11;
df = 4; p < 0.001
2 (2)
χ² = 76.21;
df = 4; p < 0.001
Does not know 9 (11) 15 (17)
Move elsewhere 23 (28) 34 (38)
Exclusive pastoralism 10 (12) 15 (17)
Use pipeline/dig wells 3 (4) 11 (12)
God (Prayers) 37 (45) 10 (11)
Turn to job/business 10 (12) 3 (3)
Alternative livelihood if the
swamp dries up*
Hope for Rain 5 (6)
χ² = 62.70;
df = 6; p < 0.001
2 (2)
χ² = 53.11;
df = 6; p < 0.001
*Frequencies in these categories may not necessarily add to 100 because interviewees may have given more than one response.
Copyright © 2011 SciRes. NR
A Field Study in the Status and Threats of Cultivation in Kimana and Ilchalai Swamps in
Amboseli Dispersal Area, Kenya
Copyright © 2011 SciRes. NR
altering the ecology of the landscape nor contemplate an
alternative livelihood in the event that the swamps dry
Farmers influence land-use changes in arid areas, where
swamps and riverine areas are seen as oasis of wealth.
Unless wildlife-based crop raiding and livestock depre-
dation costs are reduced, and a system of compensation
from wildlife damage is implemented, the prevailing ne-
gative local attitudes towards wildlife will undermine all
conservation efforts [20]. Without compensation and
economic benefits from wildlife conservation [9,12,15]
alternative and economically lucrative land uses such
agriculture will dominate and expand, even in unsustain-
able dry lands like the Amboseli area. In Amboseli the
shift in land use from pastoralism even in critical habitats
has put pressure on the scarce water sources, thus in-
creasing competition and potential people-people, peo-
ple-wildlife, people-livestock, and livestock-wildlife con-
flicts over resources [13,19]. Furthermore, this displaces
and separates people from critical resources such as
swamps. This will increase poverty and environmental
degradation given that the majority of these people have
no significant education, and rely on these resources for
basic livelihood needs [10,13].
Destruction of unique riparian vegetation leads to de-
gradation and displacement of dependent wildlife species
such as the common Hippopotamus (Hippopotamus am-
phibious), waterbuck, elephants etc. Further, as most ran-
gelands become overgrazed due to lack of access to wet-
lands during the dry season, which relieve excessive gra-
zing pressure on the rangeland, pastoralism is likely to
decline. There is a high demand for land in the swamp
area, so agriculture is continually expanding. Despite the
presently good fertile soils, it is only a matter of time
before the soil becomes sodic, unable to support vegeta-
tion and crops. This presents a wider ecosystem problem
because the cultivators are likely to move in other wet-
lands and continue to put pressure on the remaining swa-
mps in the area.
It is impossible to completely eradicate agriculture
from the swamps because it provides subsistence and
commercial benefits. However, a balanced use with pas-
toralism and wildlife should be promoted urgently. The
traditional Maasai practice of pastoralism is declining
due to draughts, lack of a competitive market for beef,
and changing land tenure. Many of these people have
turned to share cropping or cultivation of horticulture
produce, which provide significant profits, as an alterna-
tive livelihood. Therefore, mitigation measures should
contain and manage, rather than eliminate, the negative
impacts of agriculture. One way to do this is to require
all water pathways to farms to be cemented. This mini-
mizes water loss and percolation into the soil. Water
flow needs to be regulated through time and quantity of
use in order to maintain sufficient access for people,
livestock, and wildlife downstream. Additionally, farm-
ers should be required to rotate their crops throughout
different seasons to maintain soil fertility and enhance
land productivity. This would also reduce dependence on
fertilizer supplements that are polluting. A final alterna-
tive that should be considered is organic farming. There
is abundant manure from livestock available at nearby
Maasai homesteads, which can be used to support soil
fertility rather than depend on commercial fertilizers.
As the demand for agriculture intensifies, it is essential
to clearly elaborate implications of these changes to
community livelihood and to wildlife conservation [1,6,
20]. If measures are not taken to control agriculture ex-
pansion and water over-use in swamps, the livelihood of
the Maasai people in the area will be adversely affected.
In addition, the dispersal area will become less habitable
to wildlife. It needs to be clear to the Maasai that quick
benefits from immigrants coming to farm in the wetlands
does not necessarily positively benefit the future and
longevity of the swamps. It will take the community self-
awareness to address depletion of these resources which
provide a lifeline for the prosperity of current and future
generations. If water resource access rights, equitable
and sustainable use is not planned, promoted, and en-
forced within a practical rural resource conservation and
use policy framework, then negative consequences for
the environment and human livelihoods will certainly
6. Conclusions
The bottom line for the the Maasai survival in the area is
using anything found in their landscape for survival and
livelihoods. Such short term survival priorities dominate
over long term issues of environmental conservation or
wise resource use. If families cannot make a living and
meet basic needs, they will use land and its resources for
survival, even if unsustainable. Nevertheless reckless and
thoughtless use of resource for short-term survival will
lead to the long resource and environmental degradation
will sure make livelihood and quality of life difficulty for
this community. It is not very easy to convince those
converting the wetlands for agriculture that land and wa-
ter resources can be exhausted when misused. Many are
in denial about this, and even more are unsure of how to
take action, even when the consequences are apparent to
them. In order to reverse this challenge, we have to
mount aggressive awareness and alternative livelihoods,
and try to clearly link peoples’ survival with natural re-
source conservation and explain it in a manner that
A Field Study in the Status and Threats of Cultivation in Kimana and Ilchalai Swamps in
Amboseli Dispersal Area, Kenya
stakeholders and users will understand and appreciate to
spur the local community itself to self restrain and wise
use of natural resources, and other appropriate actions.
This study looks at a critical resource in changing
dryland. With the entire world looking at the effects of
climate change and how local communities are affected
or copying with it, it is clear from this work that poverty,
population increase and lack of economic opportunities
drive people to over-exploit critical resources to their
future detriment [1,21]. Yet the cycle of poverty and im-
poverishment within the context of harsh environmental
conditions, droughts and global climate change exacer-
bate the situation leading to lack of food security and
depressed livelihood. This work is a good case study to
the dependence of the Maasai on wetlands, but how this
dependence is being compromised by short term gains
from agriculture and how this reduces productivity of
their land and resilience of pastrolism which relied on
these wetlands for pasture in prolonged dry seasons and
drought. Mitigation strategies that include education the
Maasai to conserve critical habitats for posterity as well
as helping them understand, cope with and adapt to cli-
matic changes is critical so as to contain negative land
use changes to their way of life and livelihoods.
7. Acknowledgements
We would like to thank SFS summer 2006 students for
participating in this research: Margaret Donahue, Becky
Fried, Jamie Gibbs, Alyson Howe, Emily McIntire, Mi-
chelle Mercier, Whitney Patrick, Beth Sturgeon, Elliot
Thomsen, Katie Sue Zellner, Julie Bordua, Britne Gose,
Allison Habekost, Georgia Kirkpatrick, Shannon Pet-
ticrew, Erica Pfleiderer, Len Rodman and Katie Rohan.
We also thank field assistants: Martin Pullei, Simon
Sayioki, John Mpaa and Wilson Musikeri. Finally, we
thank Kimana Kuku, and Mbirikani group ranches for
allowing this work, and SFS for financial and logistical
support. We also thank anonymous reviewers who con-
tributed to improvement of earlier manuscripts.
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