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Long-term Solutions: Managing Invasive Species in Laikipia North

 

Mr. John Letai, the Deputy Director for Environment and Natural Resources, Laikipia Count,y shares his views with stakeholders during an invasive species field monitoring visit.

The County Government of Laikipia and stakeholders continue to work on mitigation measures to curb the spread of the Opuntia Stricta and the Acacia Reficiens. They firmly believe that the development of an Invasive species management plan is the best action to take us forward in our efforts.

The exponential spread of these invasive species has for years now led to negative ecological, and socio-economic impacts in the region. Laikipia County has been on the forefront on engaging different stakeholders working on projects related to invasive species management. The County through the Department of Environment and Natural Resources leads a stakeholder forum which meets on quarterly basis for monitoring of different projects under implementation. The stakeholder forum is comprised of the following members Stakeholders from the local communities in 13 Group Ranches across Laikipia North, Laikipia County Government (LCG), Laikipia Wildlife Forum (LWF), Northern Rangelands Trust (NRT), World Vision International – Kenya (WV), ILMAMUSI Mukogodo Forest AssociationNaibung’ a ConservanciesNational Environment Management Authority – Laikipia County (NEMA), Loisaba ConservancyUaso Nyiro Baboon Project (UNBP) and Loldaiga Ranch have all been working to try and come up with management/control/eradication measures of Opuntia stricta through either mechanical removal or biological control, involved in sensitization of local communities on the effects of Opuntia, and mapping of the extent of the Invasive species.

Recently the stakeholder forum held a 2-day workshop sponsored by IMARA project which involved a field visit to the different sites undertaking biological and mechanical control and a brainstorming workshop to develop strategies on how to mobilize for additional funds towards invasive species management efforts. During the field visit at Ilpolei site in which Enduata group member, Magdalene Silam shared her views towards the management efforts being conducted …..“Opuntia has for a long time been a constant headache to me and my family. This species has led to the loss of most of our grazing land which consequently led to the death of most of our livestock. I am very happy with the current partnerships and I continue to see results from both mechanical and biological control methods. It would be nice to see if these methods can be integrated for best results,”.

The development of a County Invasive Species Management Plan and budget was agreed as one of the key strategies to be developed towards invasive species management efforts. During the discussions held on the 21st and 22nd of September 2020. The meeting revolved around 2 main areas: the cost of mechanical removal of opuntia and the sustainability of the opuntia management projects. There was a specific focus on.

  1. How to prevent the spread of Opuntia in areas where it already exists.
  2. How to prevent the spread of opuntia in uninfected areas
  3. Management of areas which have Opuntia
  4. Land restoration after the management efforts are complete.

The meeting concluded that a management plan for Opuntia stricta and other invasive species in Laikipia North be developed. It was also decided that capacity-building efforts towards ownership of the management efforts ongoing to be built in current and future projects.

The County Government continues to work on developing a County Environmental Action Plan (CEAP) and it was agreed that invasive species should be included as a major component with immediate priorities identified in the plan for budgeting and action.

Laikipia County is working towards the development of a county invasive species policy. The Forum is in the process of producing a documentary that will provide information on the efforts made in managing the invasive species. The documentary will as well be used as a tool to provide useful information during the policy development process and act as a fundraising tool for invasive species management.

A technical committee was formed to spearhead the proposed action plans. The committee is comprised of a membership derived from the thematic areas of focus in relation to the management of the invasive species.

Roles:

  1. Lead in the development of draft management plan
  2. Budgeting process, including fundraising
  3. First meeting to be decided by NEMA with close collaboration with World Vision-IMARA Project

The committee is as listed below;

No Organization Contact
1 National Environment Management Authorirty (Lead) cdelaikipia@gmail.com
2 Northern Rangeland Trust Richard.kasoo@nrt-kenya.org
3 World Vision Simon_mbuki@wvi.org
4 Kenya Forest Research Institute schoge@kefri.org
5 Ilmamusi CFA Ilmamusi.cfa@gmail.com
6 Laikipia Forum Margaret.wambua@laikipia.org
7 TWALA rosemarynenini@gmail.com
8 Laikipia County Government jletai7@gmail.com
9 Kenya Wildlife Service luke.lukaria@gmail.com
10 Permaculture info@lpct.or.ke
11 Lolldaiga harrybmwells@gmail.com
12 Naibunga Naibungaupper@nrt-kenya.org
13 Uaso Ngiro Baboon Project dr.shirleycstrum@gmail.com

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