The impact of subdivision and sedentarization of pastoral lands on wildlife in an African savanna ecosystem

Western, David
Groom, Rosemary
Worden, Jeffrey
Biological Conservation
Publication Year: 
This study looks at the impact of subdivision and sedentarization of pastoral lands on wildlife numbers and production in a savanna ecosystem of southern Kenya. The study uses aerial counts over a period of 33 years to compare changes in wildlife populations on two adjacent and ecologically similar Maasai group ranches. During the period under study, one group ranch was subdivided and settled. The other remained communally owned under shifting seasonal use. Wildlife populations decreased sharply on the privatized ranch following subdivision and increased steadily on the adjacent ranch where pastoralists continued mobile pastoralism. The results of multivariate analysis show that sedentarization and settlement distribution accounts for wildlife declines on the subdivided ranch. Both the direct displacement of wildlife and the reduction in grass production following a switch from seasonal to permanent grazing associated with sedentarization are discussed as causes of wildlife loss. Given the demand for title deeds among pastoralists to counter land losses, the resulting sedentarization is likely to become the biggest threat to wildlife in the East African savannas.
Name of Journal: 
Biological Conservation
Resource Type: 
Document Type: 
Journal Issue/Article
Grassland Society of Southern Africa

The Grassland Society of Southern Africa (GSSA) is involved and concerned with the science and practice of range and pasture management. This broad field involves primarily the use and conservation of natural resources. It encompasses applied fields such as livestock production, wildlife management, nature conservation, water catchment management and range and mine-dump rehabilitation. The disciplines include, amongst others, ecology, botany zoology, range and pasture science, animal science, soil science and genetics. This collection includes journal articles from the African Journal of Range and Forage Science as well as related articles and reports from throughout the Southern African region.