FORUM FOCUS 1602 - page 7

7
CONSERVATION INACTION
February 2016 IssueNo. 5
T
he Northern Rangelands
Trust
(NRT)
now
supports 33 community
conservancies in northern Kenya.
At the heart of community
conservation lies the belief that
the preservation of wildlife and
landscape is inextricably linked
to the sustainable development
of rural communities. In a
primarily pastoralist region, this
means finding ways to manage
livestock andwildlife together, by
maintaining a rangeland healthy
enough to support both in a semi-
arid climate.
As well as fundraising for
conservancies, NRT provides
pastoral communitieswith training
andadviceonhow tomanage their
activities, without diminishing
the ownership and independence
of the communities and their
programmes. The
NRT Trading
BeefWorks
programme buys cattle
selectively from high-performing
conservancies at market price.
This not only provides pastoralists
with an incentive to adhere to
NorthernRangelandsTrust
supportsgrazingcommittees forahealthier landscape
their
conservancy’s
grazing
management plans, but it also
minimises the losses experienced
when trekking cattle tomarket.
Each
NRT
member
conservancy has their own,
elected, grazing committee and
many have established rangeland
management plans. This includes
experimenting with bunched
grazing techniques, as well as
designating no-grazing and dry-
season-only grazing zones. Over
1,800,000 million hectares have
been brought under improved
grazingmanagement so far.
However, pastoralists travel
long distances with their livestock
in a single season, and transcend
the borders of their conservancies,
and their home counties. These
long distance movements often
result in clashes with other
livestock
owners,
especially
during dry seasons.Many of these
clashes end in violence.
In 2015 NRT supported the
establishment of regional grazing
committees. The aim is to help
manage grazing at a wider,
landscape level, ensuring better
coordination.Sofar,thishashelped
to diffuse a lot of competition and
conflict, especially during the
last dry season. Landscape level
grazing plans are underway.
The
regional
grazing
committees are made up of
selected members of the grazing
committees from clusters of
conservancies. More effective
coordination of grazing plans
will not only improve grasslands
and help to maintain peace, but
also start to address the long-term
over-population of livestock and
resulting rangeland degradation.
The regional grazing
committees aremadeup
of selectedmembers of
the grazing committees
from clusters of
conservancies
Healthy livestockgrazing ina
healthy landscape
Livesof Laikipia
Henry “Rasta Love”
C
ontrary to
popular belief,
conservationists inLaikipia
do not only operate from
conservancies andother
protected areas.Many
Laikipians cherish the
surrounding landscape,
with its abundance of
natural resources and large
populations ofwildlife
species. Even individuals that
live andwork inNanyuki
town embrace principles
around conservation, playing
their part in trying to keep the
environment intact for future
generations. 
Aconservationist at heart and craftsman.
“ I have beenworking in the crafts industry for
over 10 years now. Everything inmy shop is
completelyhandmade.We basically are thema-
chines thatmake the art, andwe are proud of this
considering that there are players that have come
in,mass producing curio artifacts, but that is an-
other story.Most of the rawmaterials used in the
pieces that I togetherwithmy partners produce,
are sourced from right here inLaikipia. The land
gives uswhat weneed tomake a living andwe
onlyusewhat is available. I think conservation
and art gohand inhand.We get our inspiration
and good vibes fromnature and that’swhywe
always pass themessage on that weneed to all be
conservationists in our ownway. That’s the only
way that our kidswill also be able to enjoywhat
wehave enjoyed all our lives”.
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