A few months ago, the Lekurruki and Il Ngwesi community conservancy members embarked on a land restoration exercise to restore vegetation on seriously eroded and degraded rangelands.
This effort entailed community members digging bunds and planting grass to reduce surface water runoff, enhance vegetation growth by retaining soil moisture, and curb further soil erosion.
Through support from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), and the support of the Laikipia Forum under the “Restoration and Water management improvement in Lekurruki, Il Ngwesi, Kurikuri and Makurian group ranches in Mukogodo landscape” agreement, a team recently went to assess the progress of this project.
Three thousand five hundred (3,500) semi-circular, soil bunds had been dug over 50 acres in Il Ngwesi and Lekurruki. Delayed grass seed delivery meant that grass planting was not carried out during the last (poor) rains in this area. However, progress was apparent. There is increased vegetation where these bunds are, and soil erosion has reduced. The site is also received rainfall; therefore, the expectation is that the grass cover can continue to increase.
These efforts have, however, not been without challenges. There has been a significant increase in livestock in the area, consequently leading to overgrazing and damage to the bunds.
Community leaders and members are meetings to find an amicable solution to this challenge. Among the solutions suggested include regulating grazing, increased supervision, as well as fencing.
There will be no grass without the commitment to manage and protect these restored areas.
The project has shown great potential to restore the degraded rangelands. Community members are still optimistic, and the Laikipia Forum and its partner the Mukogodo/ILMAMUSI CFA partners will continue exploring how this initiative can be managed, maintained, and piloted in other areas if all goes well.
We will continue to keep you updated on these efforts.