Socio Ecological Resilience and Pastoral Land Use Change in Semi-arid Lands in Kajiado County Kenya

Since the year 2000, a range of stakeholders and the Kenyan Government have tried to limit the land use/cover change and offer guided development, on the premise that Kajiado North is pastoral and acts as a wildlife dispersal area and migratory corridor for Nairobi National Park. A Wildlife Conservation Lease Programme (WLCP) was started in year 2000 and Kitengela-Isinya-Kipeto land use master plan (LUMP) drafted in 2008 for the period 2008-2028. However not much has been achieved with respect to the objectives. This study was inspired to find the status of land use master plan and wildlife conservation lease program through the following objectives; Ascertain the extent of land use/cover change in Kajiado North Sub-County for the period 1980-2010, ascertain the socio ecological factors that contribute to and/or impede land use/cover change in Kajiado North Sub-County, establish how the land use/cover change has impacted on ecosystem services and resilient livelihoods in semi-arid lands and analyse the impacts of the household and community resilient pathways on expected outcomes in relation to LUMP and WLCP. The study used the DPSIR framework to analyse the driving forces, pressures, the state, the impacts and the response towards land use cover change in Kajiado North. Landsat imageries were used to analyse land use/ cover change for the period 1980-2010. Household survey questionnaire, key informant interviews (KIIs), focus group discussions (FGDs), and in depth interviews were used to collect primary data at household and community levels. Supervised classification using ENVI 4.7 software of Landsat imageries yielded seven land use/cover classes: rangeland, bare ground, rocky areas, water bodies, built-up areas, xxiv crop land, woodlots and riverine vegetation. Descriptive statistics, Chi-square and regression analysis were applied at 95% confidence levels in describing the trends in land use/ cover changes for the period 1980-2010. Landsat images analysis for years 1984, 2004 and 2010 present the state of the environment whereby significant declining changes (p<0.001) of rangeland 31.42% were observed. While increasing significant (p<0.001) changes were observed in built-up, crop land, woodlots and riverine vegetation. Overall the result indicates an increase in fragmentation due to population increase accompanied with degradation, as 34% of the respondents indicated. The driving forces were the demand for land in the community due population growth and migration to facilitate livelihood activities. The spatial regression analysis using ArcGIS 9.3 software on land use/cover change maps results showed that the urban centres had an influence of up to 93% on the change in land use/cover while roads had up to 33% and rivers up to 22 % by the year 2010. The stresses on the environment were experienced in form of competition for resources and decrease in mobility/ accessibility to resources. The fast appreciation of land was given as a major challenge since the indigenous people are tempted by speculators who project huge returns with the proposed infrastructures like standard gauge railway and Konza Technocity. There was no good will to enforce LUMP while the incentives for WCLP were not adequate in compensating those who leased the land due to the high value of land and alternative uses. Therefore to stop peri-urban fragmentation of areas at the fringe of national parks it will be appropriate to create buffer zones with compatible land use systems that support/integrate wildlife conservation.