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Range Rehabilitation Using Opuntia Enclosures in Lake Baringo Basin

Range Rehabilitation Using Opuntia Enclosures in Lake Baringo Basin

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Published by willem van cotthem
Degraded rangeland can easily be rehabilitated by fencing it with prickly pear cactus (Opuntia ficus-indica)
Degraded rangeland can easily be rehabilitated by fencing it with prickly pear cactus (Opuntia ficus-indica)

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Categories:Types, Research, Science
Published by: willem van cotthem on Jun 26, 2011
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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Range Rehabilitation using Opuntia Enclosures in Lake BaringoBasin, Kenya
Stephen MUREITHI, Elizabeth MEYERHOFF and Willem VAN COTTHEM)
Land in the Njemps Flats in the Lake Baringo Basin in Kenya is legallycommunity owned. Uncontrolled utilization, overgrazing and mismanagementhave precipitated in decades a ‘tragedy of the commons’-scenario,manifested in severe land degradation. To address the socio-economic problems caused by severe soil degradation,the
Rehabilitation of Arid Environments (RAE) Trust
, initiated in 1982,established large-scale “communal” enclosures, rehabilitating the landfollowing a participatory approach.Communal enclosures, varying in size from 6 to 400 ha, are perimeter-fencedusing a solar-powered electric fence. After de-branching the noxious woodyvegetation, mainly
 Acacia mellifera
, the land was prepared for plantingthrough chiseling to break the surface crust and through construction of micro-catchments, e.g. embankments.A mixture of drought-resistant trees and grasses, such as the fast-growingexotic
tree species and the indigenous grasses
Cenchrus ciliaris
Enteropogon macrostachyus
Eragrostis superba
, hadbeen selected for planting and reseeding respectively.Direct benefits derived from the enclosures include grazing resources, sale of cut grass for fodder or thatching, grass seed, poles and fuelwood, and beekeeping, amongst others. The rehabilitation success attained in thesecommunal enclosures soon fostered many local inhabitants to establish“private” enclosures. This gave rise to a mosaic of enclosures, differing withrespect to the years since establishment, and based on two distinctmanagement types.A good vegetation cover has been reported (see herehttp://tinyurl.com/6eje59u) within these enclosures, resulting in a very sharpcontrast between the enclosure and the surrounding open rangeland. Theprivate enclosures, reseeded and managed by individual farmers with limitedfinancial and technical resources, range in size from less than 1 to 13 ha.Fencing of these private enclosures is done using cut thorn bushes (
sp.) and/or planted Pricky Pear cactus (
Opuntia ficus-indica
).Read more about the enclosure story here(http://www.springerlink.com/content/p5058m7107034l5m).
2005-08 : Private enclosure without any fence in Lamalok, Lake Baringo Basin(Photo Stephen Mureithi)2011-01 : The same private enclosure using an Opuntia live fence (PhotoStephen Mureithi)2
2011-01 : Another private enclosure established using Opuntia live fence inLamalok, Lake Baringo Basin (Photo Stephen Mureithi)3

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