Landscape management and governance, Garba Tula, Isiolo, Kenya
Ontiri, Enoch M.
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Communities organize themselves in unique ways into social/functional units based on their cultural aspirations, threats and resources that they depend on. In many cases, these resources and the ecosystems to which they pertain do not correspond either to individual communities or to administrative boundaries. Landscape approaches are being promoted as an alternative. At the level of landscapes, however, the interaction of different people’s aspirations complicate natural resources management (NRM). Success of NRM strategies depends on how well the complexity is addressed. Linkages which assist people and organizations to share information and resources across levels and scales can help provide opportunities to broaden their knowledge and understanding of new threats, of what works and what does not, and of the range of options available to enable them to adapt accordingly. We investigated a case in northeastern Kenya where a landscape approach is being applied to rangeland management. In Garba Tula as elsewhere in Kenya, post-independence provincial administration guided by decisions made at central government with total disregard of traditional governance and resource management systems greatly undermined the traditional system. As a result, over the years natural resources were misused and degraded. This has been manifested in the inability of livelihoods to adapt to weather variations and drought. Recently the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED), together with the local NGO Resource Advocacy Program (RAP) and communities in Garba Tula, initiated a process of reinvigorating the traditional management institutions and practices and integrating them into modern conservation strategies for the landscape.