Pressure on the Land: The Search for Sustainable Use in a Highly Diverse Environment

Mbuvi JP, Liniger H, Gichuki FN, Njeru L, Kironchi G. "Pressure on the Land: The Search for Sustainable Use in a Highly Diverse Environment.". 1998.


This paper presents for the highland-lowland system of Mt Kenya und the Ewaso Ng'iro bosin: ( l) the current use of land re:sources and effects oJ'the growing pressure on land resottrces, (2) the possibilities of improving lttnd rnanagement and produclivity, and (3) the challenges of trying to achieve sustainable ttse of land resources. Land use and its dynctmics are assessed ctnd presented as afirst step in identiJying ctu'rent loncl resource ttse and degradation. An overview of the main soil types and their chctracteristics shovvs potentials and lirnitations for land use. lvtajor intpucts oJ'hnd use urulsoil tnunagement on nuturul resources cre presentedJbr 3 nrclor zones along the highland-lowland system. These are. (a)The elfect of land use on the water rechcu'ge of the rivers onwet motrntain slopes; (b) water conservalion measures and their elfect on productivity in the semi-humid to semi-arid lotver ntountain zone and the highlond plaleuu and (c) the effect of overgrazing on water cwailability ctnd procluctivity in the semi-arid to aricl areas of the Laikipia plateau and the lower part of the basin. African highland-lowland systems like the Ewaso Ng'iro basin pose a major challenge in terms oJ'sustainable re,source use: increasing pressure on limited natttral resources. Redttcing the polential con/lict over resource use and the danger ofresource degradation reqttires inrproved knowledge and practices in resource management. In order to optimize land munagement practices in a highland- lowland system that do not deprive the clownstream Ltsers, goocl local and regionttl knowletlge, a good clatabase, ctnd suitctble managemenl tools ure neecleLl. 1'he scarcer the resources, the better the knowledge and the management of the resources and lheir optimtrnt use nntsl be arlaptecl to the local situation"s.

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