Park agencies collaborate to comprehensively tackle climate change impacts

Project implementation team in Lake Nakuru NP
Publié: 21 octobre 2015
Dernière modification: 05 octobre 2020
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Summary

Interventions to enhance the adaptive capacity of six national parks and adjacent local communities to climate change impacts were undertaken in a collaborative partnership between the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) and Parks Canada. Initiatives focused on ecological restoration of degraded habitats, management of invasive species, enhancement of water supply for people and wildlife during the dry seasons, and capacity building for KWS staff and local communities

Classifications

Region
Afrique de l'Est et du Sud
Scale of implementation
Intranational
Local
National
Ecosystem
Forêt sempervirente tempéré
Prairie tempérée, savane, maquis
Rivière, ruisseau
Zones humide (marécage, marais, tourbière)
Écosystèmes d'eau douce
Écosystèmes forestiers
Écosystémes des prairies
Theme
Acteurs locaux
Adaptation au changement climatique
Indigènes
Restauration
Sensibilisation et communications
Services écosystèmiques
Tourisme
Challenges
Sécheresse
Dégradation des terres et des forêts
Perte de biodiversité
Perte de l'écosystème
Espèces envahissantes

Emplacement

Kenya

Challenges

ecosystem degradation, loss of biodiversity, and intense human wildlife conflict The combined effects of prolonged droughts, reduced water availability, high concentration of animals in a few places with permanent water and an unprecedented spread of invasive species in prime national park habitats have resulted in severe and widespread ecosystem degradation, loss of biodiversity, low tourist appeal and intense human wildlife conflict.

Beneficiaries

Kenya wildlife service, farming communities, tourism industry, livestock industry, hydropower generating companies, and consumers of water in some rural and urban areas such as Nairobi and Mombasa

Comment les blocs constitutifs interagissent-ils entre eux dans la solution?

The purpose of the project was to enhance ecosystem and community adaptation to climate change. The collaborative partnership helped to create a common vision, agree on project design and implementation framework, identify capacity needs and define roles and responsibilities. Through collaboration and capacity building, it was possible to raise funds and tap into diverse skills that were necessary to initiate broad adaptation interventions in different parts of the country. The management of invasive species and ecological restoration of critical habitats were crucial for minimizing environmental stress, enhancing ecological integrity and increasing ecosystem resilience to climate change impacts. Protecting water sources and enhancing water availability during periods of scarcity enhanced the value of protected areas, improved relationships between parks and neighboring communities and reduced human wildlife conflict. Reducing conflicts also contributed to building meaningful partnerships for ecological restoration and other climate change adaptation strategies

Impacts

Protection of water sources and provision of more watering points in national parks and community areas increased water availability for people and wildlife, reduced human wildlife conflicts and minimized soil erosion. Rain water captured in dams is now available to people, wildlife and livestock 4-6 months into the dry season, reducing the need for wildlife to move out of parks into community land in search of water. Removal of invasive species has minimized biodiversity loss, availed more suitable habitat for wildlife and reduced conflicts caused when wildlife venture outside parks to seek better pasture. In addition, areas cleared of invasive species immediately attract grazers and improve wildlife viewing opportunities for visitors. Ecologically restored areas are showing tremendous recovery and will eventually provide improved wildlife habitats and increased supply of ecosystem services. Finally, capacity building enabled more effective project implementation while a collaborative partnership helped to pool resources, knowledge, experiences, skills and clout for broad implementation of adaptation actions.

Story

Over the last ten years, the natural vegetation at the source of the Mzima Springs in Tsavo NP has been progressively degraded by elephants and other wildlife that concentrate at the site in their thousands during prolonged droughts. Besides providing life support for wildlife, the springs also supply over 300 million litres of water daily to about 3 million downstream communities, including to Kenya’s second largest city of Mombasa. The most urgent intervention was to halt further habitat degradation by cordoning off about 100 hectares of the source of the springs using a high voltage solar-powered electric fence. The fence was designed so as to allow hippos that live in the springs to move in and out while restraining other large mammals. Water was made available to wildlife several hundred meters downstream and more was pumped out into artificial water troughs built outside the exclosure to discourage elephants from breaking the fence. KWS engaged tourists, schools, local communities, decision makers and political leaders in planting tree seedlings to speed up the restoration process and reduce soil erosion. These activities helped to create significant awareness of the status of the springs, a situation that attracted media interest. The Kenyan Minister for Water Development, the Governor of Taita Taveta County and Members of Parliament became interested in the springs and publicly underscored their importance in boosting the local and national economies, and in reducing human wildlife conflicts. Multi-million dollar water development projects have been initiated by both the local and national governments to enhance water supply to many local and urban communities. Though the springs had remained largely unappreciated as an important source of water since 1953 when the colonial government laid down the water works, the project helped to elevate their status from only being viewed as a tourist attraction, but also as an important national resource that must be protected and secured for the well-being of millions of local and urban populations. Their role in providing an essential ecosystem service that is in high demand is helping to draw public attention to the non-conventional values of protected areas.

Contribué par

Portrait de john.waithaka@pc.gc.ca

John Waithaka Parks Canada / Kenya Wildlife Service

Other contributors

John Waithaka
Parks Canada / Kenya Wildlife Service
Kenya Wildlife Service