Northern Rangeland Trust supports grazing committees for a healthier landscape

The Northern Rangelands Trust (NRT) now supports 33 community conservancies in northern Kenya. At the heart of community conservation lies the belief that the preservation of wildlife and landscape is inextricably linked to the sustainable development of rural communities. In a primarily pastoralist region, a lot of the time this means finding ways to manage livestock and wildlife together, by maintaining a rangeland healthy enough to support both in a semi-arid climate.

As well as fundraising for conservancies, NRT provides pastoral communities with training and advice on how to manage their activities, without diminishing the ownership and independence of the communities and their programmes. The NRT Trading BeefWorks programme buys cattle selectively from high-performing conservancies at market price. This not only provides pastoralists with an incentive to adhere to their conservancy’s grazing management plans, but it also minimises the losses experienced when trekking cattle to market.

Healthy livestock grazing in a healthy landscape

Healthy livestock grazing in a healthy landscape

Each NRT member conservancy has their own, elected, grazing committee and many have established rangeland management plans. These include experimenting with bunched grazing techniques, as well as designating no-grazing and dry-season-only grazing zones. Over 1.8 million hectares have been brought under improved grazing management so far.

However, pastoralists travel long distances with their livestock in a single season, and transcend the borders of their conservancies, and their home counties.  These long distance movements often result in clashes with other livestock owners, especially during dry seasons. Many of these clashes end in violence.

In 2015 NRT supported the establishment of regional grazing committees. The aim is to help manage grazing at a wider, landscape level, ensuring better coordination. So far, this has helped to diffuse a lot of competition and conflict, especially during the last dry season. Landscape level grazing plans are underway.

The regional grazing committees are made up of selected members of the grazing committees from clusters of conservancies. More effective coordination of grazing plans will not only improve grasslands and help to maintain peace, but also start to address the long-term over-population of livestock and resulting rangeland degradation.

The Northern Rangelands Trust (NRT) now supports 33 community conservancies in northern Kenya. At the heart of community conservation lies the belief that the preservation of wildlife and landscape is inextricably linked to the sustainable development of rural communities. In a primarily pastoralist region, a lot of the time this means finding ways to manage livestock and wildlife together, by maintaining a rangeland healthy enough to support both in a semi-arid climate.

As well as fundraising for conservancies, NRT provides pastoral communities with training and advice on how to manage their activities, without diminishing the ownership and independence of the communities and their programmes. The NRT Trading BeefWorks programme buys cattle selectively from high-performing conservancies at market price. This not only provides pastoralists with an incentive to adhere to their conservancy’s grazing management plans, but it also minimises the losses experienced when trekking cattle to market.

Each NRT member conservancy has their own, elected, grazing committee and many have established rangeland management plans. These include experimenting with bunched grazing techniques, as well as designating no-grazing and dry-season-only grazing zones. Over 1.8 million hectares have been brought under improved grazing management so far.

However, pastoralists travel long distances with their livestock in a single season, and transcend the borders of their conservancies, and their home counties.  These long distance movements often result in clashes with other livestock owners, especially during dry seasons. Many of these clashes end in violence.

In 2015 NRT supported the establishment of regional grazing committees. The aim is to help manage grazing at a wider, landscape level, ensuring better coordination. So far, this has helped to diffuse a lot of competition and conflict, especially during the last dry season. Landscape level grazing plans are underway.

The regional grazing committees are made up of selected members of the grazing committees from clusters of conservancies. More effective coordination of grazing plans will not only improve grasslands and help to maintain peace, but also start to address the long-term over-population of livestock and resulting rangeland degradation.

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