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Local Urban Observatory for Nakuru Municipality, Kenya
NCCR North-South,
The Nakuru Local Urban Observatory Project aims at providing a framework for sustainable urban planning and management practices through building technical skills and improving participation of the various local stakeholders. To achieve this goal, a Local Urban Observatory (LUO) was created to stimulate the development of municipal spatial and environmental planning and management practices, informed by accurate, timely and accessible information. Available for download: click here
Lessons From Two Long-term Hydrological Studies in Kenya and Sri Lanka
Mungai, D. N.
The rate and characteristics of land use change in tropical watersheds due to changing demographic, economic and policy factors have important consequences for catchment health and environmental services. Few tropical watershed studies have lasted long enough to facilitate a credible analysis of the long-term effects of land use change on the environmental services provided by watersheds. This paper examines the driving forces and patterns of historical land use change in two long-term watershed studies in Kenya and Sri Lanka and their hydrological impacts. Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment 2004, 104, pp. 135–143 Available online from: Science Direct
Sensing Soil Properties in the Upper Ewaso Ng'iro Basin by means of Reflectance Spectroscopy and GIS
Hett, Conny
Master's Thesis, University of Bern, Switzerland This thesis is a proof of method study of the Soil Sensing Approach, a new approach for rapid assessment of soil properties using near-infrared spectroscopy. The study was carried out in a small tests area of ten by ten km in the Upper Ewaso Ng’iro Basin, Kenya. The topical aim was to assess soil chemical properties in relation to land cover/land use. Through application of chemometric models soil carbon and nitrogen were predicted based on their near-infrared reflectance curves. CART classification and regression trees were used for modelling the two properties. It was shown that classification trees did not perform nearly as good on the samples as the regression trees. Finally relationships between land cover/land use and soil carbon and nitrogen were assessed and soil carbon and nitrogen showed very similar results. The good results of the Soil Sensing Approach make its use possible for mapping soil carbon and nitrogen properties using satellite imagery. Download
Mitigating Conflicts Over Scarce Water Resources in the Highland-lowland System of Mount Kenya
Wiesmann, Urs
The Mount Kenya region offers a great deal of beautiful scenery and attracts tourists from all over the world. What these tourists may not see, however, is the crucial function of Mount Kenya as a water tower for its footzones and adjoining lowland areas. This function is becoming ever more crucial, as populations in these areas are growing at a rapid pace and new land use systems require far more water. These developments have set the stage for increasing conflicts over water resources; to make things worse, water is becoming ever scarcer, especially in the dry areas of the Laikipia Plateau and the Samburu Plains to the north and west of the mountain. This article summarizes the complex ecological and socioeconomic dynamics prevailing in the highland-Blowland system of Mount Kenya—the Ewaso Ng'iro North Basin—and presents a multilevel strategy for mitigating the emerging conflicts over water resources. Mountain Research and Development 2000, 20(1), pp. 10-15. Order via your university library from: BioOne
Multi-dimensional approaches to more sustainable natural resources management in highly dynamic contexts in East Africa
Kiteme, Boniface
PhD Thesis, University of Bern, Switzerland For further information please contact the author
Monitoring and modelling for the sustainable management of water resources in tropical mountain basins.
MacMillan, Lindsay
This paper presents a rare example of a relatively intensive, variable scale, monitoring network in tropical highland Africa. Examples of results from this monitoring are given, which reveal the importance of vegetation cover and landuse in the generation of storm flow, groundwater recharge and decline in river flows. The calibration of a hydrological model developmed for this region, together with some early results from the simulation of landuse change scenarios, are also presented. In: Bugmann H et al. Global Change and Mountain Regions: An Overview of Current Knowledge. Springer, pp. 605-616.
Development of conservation agriculture: Application and spread
Schäfer, Natalie
Master Thesis at University of Bern Download
Assessment of Development Disparities in the Pangani basin
Lörcher, Sylvia
Master's thesis at University of Bern Download
People’s Choice First
Lüthi, Christoph
NCCR North-South Dialogue, No. 22 Bern, NCCR North-South
Strengthening policies and institutions to support adaptation to climate variabiliy and change in the drylands of East Africa
Ifejika Speranza, Chinwe
We analysed how policies in Tanzania and Kenya address the strategies of agro-pastoralists for coping with and adapting to climate variability and climate change, based on data from semi-structured household surveys, group discussions, policy documents and other material. Many policies indirectly address climate variability and change by focusing on drought, suggesting that some form of mainstreaming already exists. We show that by integrating the perspective of agro-pastoralists, i.e. the majority of the rural poor, policies and pro-poor adaptation strategies can be strengthened. In: Hurni H, Wiesmann U, editors. Global Change and Sustainable Development: A Synthesis of Regional Experiences from Research Partnerships. Perspectives of the NCCR North-South, University of Bern, Vol. 5. Bern, Switzerland: Geographica Bernensia, pp 107-130. Download
Researchers' roles in knowledge co-production: Experience from sustainability research in Kenya, Switzerland, Bolivia and Nepal
Pohl, Christian
Co-production of knowledge between academic and non-academic communities is a prerequisite for research aiming at more sustainable development paths. Sustainability researchers face three challenges in such co-production: (a) addressing power relations; (b) interrelating different perspectives on the issues at stake; and (c) promoting a previously negotiated orientation towards sustainable development. A systematic comparison of four sustainability research projects in Kenya (vulnerability to drought), Switzerland (soil protection), Bolivia and Nepal (conservation vs. development) shows how the researchers intuitively adopted three different roles to face these challenges: the roles of reflective scientist, intermediary, and facilitator of a joint learning process. From this systematized and iterative self-reflection on the roles that a researcher can assume in the indeterminate social space where knowledge is co-produced, we draw conclusions regarding training. Science and Public Policy 37(4):267-281. DOI: 10.3152/030234210X496628
Indigenous knowledge related to climate variability and change: insights from droughts in semi-arid areas of former Makueni District, Kenya.
Ifejika Speranza, Chinwe
This article describes the indigenous knowledge (IK) that agro pastoralists in larger Makueni District, Kenya hold and how they use it to monitor, mitigate and adapt to drought. It examines ways of integrating IK into formal monitoring, how to enhance its value and acceptability. Data was collected through target interviews, group discussions and questionnaires covering 127 households in eight villages. Daily rainfall data from 1961–2003 were analysed. Results show that agro-pastoralists hold IK on indicators of rainfall variability; they believe in IK efficacy and they rely on them. Because agro-pastoralists consult additional sources, the authors interpret that IK forms a basic knowledge frame within which agro-pastoralists position and interpret meteorological forecasts. [...] Climatic Change. doi:10.1007/s10584-009-9713-0 Download
Exploring Pathways for Sustainable Development in the ASALs in Transition in Kenya
Kiteme, Boniface
Kiteme BP, Wabwire PN. 2003. Exploring Pathways for Sustainable Development in the ASALs in Transition in Kenya. Proceedings of the JACS East Africa Syndromes Workshop, 15th May 2003, Nairobi.
Dimensions of global change in African mountains: The example of Mount Kenya
Kiteme, Boniface
This paper discusses the effects of global change in African mountains, with the example of Mount Kenya. The geographical focus is the northwestern, semi-arid foot zone of the mountain (Laikipia District). Over the past 50 years, this area has experienced rapid and profound transformation, the respective processes of which are all linked to global change. The main driving forces behind these processes have been political and economic in nature. To these an environmental change factor has been added in recent years – climate change. Kiteme BP, Liniger HP, Notter B, Wiesmann U, Kohler T. 2008. Dimensions of global change in African mountains: The example of Mount Kenya. IDHP International Human Dimensions Programme. IHDP UPDATE 2:18-23. Download
Droughts and famines: The underlying factors and the causal links among agro-pastoral households in semi-arid Makueni district, Kenya
Ifejika Speranza, Chinwe
"Famines are often linked to drought in semi-arid areas of Sub-Saharan Africa where not only pastoralists, but also increasingly agro-pastoralists are affected. This study addresses the interplay between drought and famine in the rural semi-arid areas of Makueni district, Kenya, by examining whether, and how crop production conditions and agro-pastoral strategies predispose smallholder households to drought-triggered food insecurity. If this hypothesis holds, then approaches to deal with drought and famine have to target factors causing household food insecurity during non-drought periods. Data from a longitudinal survey of 127 households, interviews, workshops, and daily rainfall records (1961–2003) were analysed using quantitative and qualitative methods. This integrated approach confirms the above hypothesis and reveals that factors other than rainfall, like asset and labour constraints, inadequate policy enforcement, as well as the poverty-driven inability to adopt risk-averse production systems play a key role. When linking these factors to the high rainfall variability, farmer-relevant definitions and forecasts of drought have to be applied." Global Environmental Change 2008, Vol. 18, Issue 1, pp. 220-233. Available from: Global Environmental Change
Preventing and Resolving Water Use Conflicts in the Mount Kenya Highland–Lowland System through Water Users' Associations
Kiteme, Boniface
"In recent decades, the Mount Kenya highland–lowland system, which includes the Ewaso Ngiro North Basin, has experienced complex ecological and socioeconomic dynamics. These are reflected in changing land use systems and practices as well as in a rapidly growing human population, especially in the footzones and adjacent lowlands. These changes have exerted unremitting pressure on water resources, especially because the demand for water by different user groups has continued to grow, against the backdrop of expensive alternative sources (rainwater and groundwater harvesting) and increasingly dwindling river water resources. As each of the user groups moves to make substantial claims to available river water, competition for the resource becomes even sharper, thus setting the stage for conflicts related to scarcity that intensify during the dry season, at times resulting in fatal physical conflicts among different user groups in the basin, especially between upstream and downstream users. Different approaches have been used to address these scarcity-related conflicts. The present article discusses Water Users' Associations as one of the most effective initiatives launched to address the problem of water use conflicts in the basin in the recent past." Mountain Research and Development 2002, Volume 22, Issue 4, pp. 332-337 Available from: BioOne
A Methodological Framework for Incorporating Socio-economic and Socio-political Issues and Dynamics in Forest Health Monitoring, Conservation and, Management in the Eastern Arc Mountains of Kenya and Tanzania
Madoffe, Seif
Madoffe S, Kiteme BP, Wiesmann U, Mvena ZK. 2004. A Methodological Framework for Incorporating Socio-economic and Socio-political Issues and Dynamics in Forest Health Monitoring, Conservation, and Management in the Eastern Arc Mountains of Kenya and Tanzania. Proceedings of the 6th Conference of the African Mountain Association.
River Water Shortage in a Highland–Lowland System
Aeschbacher, Jos
The highland–lowland system of the Upper Ewaso Ng'iro Basin, with Mount Kenya functioning as a crucial water tower, has reached and repeatedly exceeded the limits of water availability in the past decade. In contrast to the heavily decreasing low flow discharge, the mean discharge does not show any decreasing tendency. This is due to higher flood flows, which may be induced by accelerated runoff generation due to land use change. The present study seeks to support Water Users' Associations (WUAs, ie self-help initiatives aiming to mitigate conflicts over the allocation of water) by providing them with up-to-date information about demand, supply and use of river water, as well as tools and methods for improving water management. Mountain Research and Development 2005, 25(2), pp. 155-162 Order via your university library from: BioOne
Gender Based Analysis of Vulnerability to Drought among Agro-Pastoral Households in Semi-Arid Makueni District, Kenya
Ifejika Speranza, Chinwe
This study analyses how gender relations shape vulnerability to drought in the semi-arid areas of Makueni District, Kenya. The study area is a marginal environment of low argicultural potential and poverty is widespread. The interplay and socio-economic pressures on agro-pastoral households, and the compulsion to conform or to be perceived as conforming to the prevailing gendered traditional rules and norms, influences the capabilities of men and women to secure their livelihoods in non-drought periods. In times of drought, gender relations also shape the coping strategies of women and men in various ways, and the impacts of drought on household welfare challenge the traditional roles of men. In:Premchander S, Müller C, editors. 2006. Gender and Sustainable Development: Case Studies from NCCR North-South. Perspectives of the Swiss National Centre of Competence in Research (NCCR) North-South, Bern: Geographica Bernensia, pp. 119-146.
La contribution des biens naturels du Patrimoine Mondial au développement régional durable: Deux études de cas dans le Nord et le Sud
Wiesmann, Urs
Les sites naturels du Jungfrau-Aletsch-Bietschhorn et du Mont Kenya sont tous deux inscrits au Patrimoine Mondial de l'Unesco. Dans le cas de Grindelwald, le paysage culturel est plus menacé que le paysage naturel protégé du patrimoine mondial, alors que dans le cas du système des hautes et basses terres du Mont Kenya, l'important potentiel en ressources subit une forte pression anthropique. Dans les pays du Nord, où l'apport à une conscience régionale identitaire de la population peut revêtir une importance considérable, la contribution des biens naturels du patrimoine mondial au développement régional durable est probablement plus élevée en termes socioculturels. Dans les pays du Sud, le statut de patrimoine mondial peut assurer la protection des paysages naturels d'un point de vue écologique, mais les pertes potentielles encourues par la population en termes de production primaire ne sont compensées que de façon très limitée. Revue de géographie alpine 92(3):73-83.
Potentials, limitations and risks of geo-information technology for sustainable development approaches in Kenya
Ehrensperger, Albrecht
PhD Thesis, University of Bern, Switzerland For further information please contact the author
Monitoring and Modeling Crop Growth, Water Use and Production Under Dry-Land Environment North-West of Mount Kenya
Gitonga, Jeremiah Njeru Lewis
PhD Thesis, University of Bern, Switzerland "This study was initiated with the aim of using long term monitoring data collected at two representative semi arid stations to examine the impact of biophysical environment (climate and soil) and cultivation method (with and without water conservation) on crop performance (growth and production). Using the knowledge gained from this analysis, the study evaluated and adapted the Agricultural Production Simulator (APSIM) model to develop a simulation tool for the production system practiced by the smallscale farmers in the study area. The adapted APSIM model was used to examine the impact of water conservation on maize growth and production." Download
Assessing and Managing Scarce Tropical Mountain Water Resources
Liniger, Hanspeter
The present article documents increasing water abstraction and the difficulties in establishing limits for low flows such as the Q80 value (flow available on 80% of the days per year). The article also presents the role of Water Users' Associations (WUAs) in mitigating water conflicts related to over-abstraction. Evaluation of the activities of 13 WUAs showed that they solved 45 of 52 conflicts. WUAs are also involved in activities such as environmental education, awareness creation, improved irrigation practices, afforestation, and regulating water. The recent restructuring of the government ministry resulted in a formalized role for WUAs. Long-term data on availability, abstraction, and use of water are needed to mitigate water conflicts within and between WUAs, negotiate water allocation, and establish allocation thresholds. Mountain Research and Development 2005, Volume 25, Issue 2, pp. 163–173 Order via your university library from: BioOne
Migration and Fertility Relationship
Omondi, Charles Ochola
"Migration patterns in Kenya in general differentially affect fertility levels, patterns and behaviour. For economically dynamic areas, out-migration and the associated spousal separation and differential sex ratios seem to be associated with falling fertility, though migration is not the only or even the principal factor involved. In lagging and/or peripheral areas, by contrast, the demographic effect of migration seems to promote high fertility by undermining some critical factors of fertility determinants and behaviour. Examples from Africa in general and Kenya in particular are invoked to examine and explain this important association between migration and fertility. Furthermore, the paper incorporates the geography of economic and social development to help understand the relationship between migration and fertility." African Population Studies 2003, Vol. 18, No. 1, pp. 97-113 Available from: Bioline
Drought vulnerability and risk in agro-pastoral areas
Ifejika Speranza, Chinwe
PhD Thesis, University of Bern, Switzerland For further information please contact the author
Sustainable River Basin Management in Kenya: Balancing Needs and Requirements.
Kiteme, Boniface
This chapter presents an example of transdisciplinarity based on 25 years of continuous research in the upper Ewaso Ng’iro north basin on the north-western slopes of Mount Kenya. It shows how the research facility evolved from a district and project planning support institution, based on needs, to a regionally oriented and integrated facility addressing the requirements of sustainability. Projecting on the basis of long-term implications of changes in ecological processes and socio-economic and institutional dynamics on water availability, research activities were embedded in a multilevel, multistakeholder transfer strategy to ensure integration of scientific and local knowledge systems and long-term ownership of preferred interventions. In conclusion, the chapter lists seven recommendations on salient issues of transdisciplinary research. In: Hirsch Hadorn et al, editors. Handbook of Transdisciplinary Research. Springer Verlag, pp 63-78. Available from: ScienceDirect
Kleinbäuerliche Besiedlung und die Ausprägung von Haushaltsstrategien am Mount Kenya
Kohler, Thomas
"Kleinbäuerliche Besiedlung und die Ausprägung von Haushaltsstrategien am Mount Kenya" in: Jeanneret F, Wastl-Walter D, Wiesmann U, Schwyn M. editors. 2003. Welt der Alpen - Gebirge der Welt. Ressourcen, Akteure, Perspektiven. Bern: Haupt Verlag, pp. 185-196 Order from: Haupt Verlag