Holistic Grazing Land Management and Restoration

Hausner Wendo
Publicado: 30 Julio 2018
Última edición: 06 Febrero 2023
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Pastoralism is a livelihood system that currently faces pressure from various factors. Key among them are climate change-driven droughts and pasture depletion from overgrazing; this has been evident in most parts of Mt. Kulal area, Marsabit County. The main resultant problem from the foregoing situation is degradation of grazing lands beyond ability to support livestock. This trend needs to be stopped and reversed to avoid total collapse of pastoralism as a source of livelihood.

Working in the area, VSF Germany, utilizing an approach called Holistic Natural Resource Management, implemented community-based grazing land management and restoration, focusing on local pasture species and traditional land management practices. The solution is composed of three key approaches or building blocks: improved grazing land management; restoration of degraded grazing land and local grasses; community linking and learning; and livelihood support through introduction of fruit and fodder trees.


África Oriente y África del Sur
Scale of implementation
Ecosistemas de pastizales
Pradera tropical, sabana, matorral
Actores locales
Adaptación al cambio climático
Conectividad / conservación transfronteriza
Conocimientos tradicionales
Diversidad genetica
Gestión de tierras
Servicios ecosistémicos
Lluvia errática
Degradación de tierras y bosques
Pérdida de la biodiversidad
Fuegos silvestres
Cosecha insostenible, incluida la sobrepesca
Gestión ineficaz de los recursos financieros
Falta de capacidad técnica
Falta de conciencia del público y de los responsables de la toma de decisiones
Deficiente vigilancia y aplicación de la ley
Deficiente gobernanza y participación
Falta de seguridad alimentaria
Sustainable development goals
ODS 2 - Hambre cero
ODS 3 - Salud y bienestar
ODS 5 - Igualidad de género
ODS 13 - Acción por el clima
ODS 15 - Vida de ecosistemas terrestres
ODS 16 - Paz, justicia e instituciones sólidas
Aichi targets
Meta 1: Aumento de la sensibilization sobre la biodiversidad
Meta 2: Valores de biodiversidad integrados
Meta 5: Pérdida de hábitat reducida a la mitad o reducida
Meta 10: Ecosistemas vulnerables al cambio
Meta 14: Los servicios ecosistemicos
Meta 15: Restauración de ecosistemas y resiliencia
Meta 18: Conocimiento tradicional
Meta 19: Intercambio de información y conocimiento
Marco de Sendai
Meta 1: Reducir la mortalidad global por desastre para 2030
Meta 2: Reducir el número de personas afectadas a nivel global para 2030


Marsabit, Eastern Province, Kenya


  • Climate change-related unpredictable rainfall trends disorganizes community-managed grazing patterns.
  • Overgrazing due to human and livestock population increase threatens biodiversity and diminishes ecosystem services as rangelands exceed their carrying capacity.
  • Low resource allocation to County departments of Agriculture, Livestock, Water and Environment hampers ability of technical resource officers to support communities.
  • Decline of customary grazing and natural management systems has resulted to inter-communal competition for pasture and water leading to rangeland over-exploitation and resource-based conflict.
  • Climate change and over-grazing is diminishing or leading to the disappearance of some local resilient and nutritious species of grasses suitable for the local agro-ecological system.
  • Weak local resource governance structures hamper enforcement of community natural resource management bi-laws, regulations and codes of conduct.


  • Local communities in 8 villages.
  • Women and children benefit most from improved livestock productivity.
  • Local government rangeland resource managers.

¿ Cómo interactúan los building blocks en la solución?

The building blocks are integrated to form an approach known as Holistic Natural Resource Management, which is a variation of landscape management of ecosystem management and restoration. The understanding is that sustainable management of ecosystems like rangelands providing imprortant pasture, fodder, and water resources to sustain a socio-ecological system like pastoralist requires consideration of factors across the entire environmental spectrum i.e. Ecological, Economic, Social, and Cultural. This this approach tries to bring together ecological approaches like management and restoratio of ecosystems with social, economic, and cultural considerations such as governance, inter-communcal relationships and livelihoods. Only when these factors are considered together in a synergistic relationship can there be sustainable management of biodiversity and ecosystem services for livelihood support in pastoralist areas.


Environmental Impacts

  • Pasture enclosures and reseeding of degraded grazing lands allows natural rangeland regeneration as trees, shrubs, and local grasses are allowed to thrive.
  • Management of invasive species through clearing enables useful local species to thrive, particularly grasses and other forms of undergrowth.
  • Controlled grazing under community-managed rangeland governance enhances ecosystem health and species diversity by improving grass and fodder productivity.

Socio-economic Impacts

  • Improved ecosystem health enhances pastureland productivity thus supporting viable pastoralism for food security and income generation.
  • Introduction of fodder trees enhances productivity of small stock (goats and sheep) and is an effective disaster risk reduction strategy as the fodder supports and minimizes loss of weak animals during drought.
  • Introduction of fruit trees improves nutritional diversification by providing vitamin particularly for children while supporting food security and improved household incomes for those that can produce enough to sell.

Long term Socio-ecological Impact

  • Strengthened socio-ecological resilience for pastoralist communities and supportive ecosystems in Mt. Kulal area.
  • Protection and enhancement of bio-diversity and ecosystem services for pastoralism around Mt. Kulal biosphere.


VSF Germany

“We thank VSF Germany and GIZ for giving priority to peace dialogues: all the communities in Mt. Kulal have had honest, serious talks amongst themselves on peace and sharing the scarce pasture and water resources. We met all other communities in Loiyangalani and discussed issues of pastureland management and restoration, resource sharing and friendly coexistence."

Lepalo Ledungu, Environmental Management Commitee Member (Larachi - Mt. Kulal)

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Hausner Wendo Adaptation Consortium

Other contributors

Adaptation Consortium