Livestock and their management are key to the future of Africa's wildlife.

Published online
04 Nov 2020
Content type

Western, D. & Tyrrell, P. & Brehony, P. & Russell, S. & Western, G. & Kamanga, J.
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Publication language
Africa South of Sahara & Tanzania & Kenya & Africa


Protected areas fall far short of securing the space needed to sustain biodiversity and ecosystem function at a global scale and in the face of climate change. The prospects of conserving biodiversity in working landscapes help buffer the insularization effects of protected areas and hold great potential for biodiversity conservation on a landscape scale but depend on finding adequate space and a meaningful place in the lives of rural land users. Results from a case study in southern Kenya showed that the conservation of large open landscapes, biodiversity and the coexistence between wildlife and livestock can be achieved indirectly by reinforcing pastoral practices that depend on open space, mobility, social networks and institutional arrangements governing common-pool resources. Pastoral practices and wildlife both depend on large multiscale interactions within interlinked social and ecological systems, which are threatened by land fragmentation, alienation and degradation. Results also showed that large open spaces can be maintained by using a conservation approach starting from within community aspirations that emphasize the links between livelihoods, productivity, efficiency and resilience in pastoral economies and the secondary benefits of wildlife enterprises. Scaling up from an ecosystem to multi-scale approach benefits pastoral communities by building resilience and new economic opportunities. In the process, the expanded scale conserves regional biodiversity and large free-ranging herbivore and carnivore populations underpinning ecosystem function and the nationally important tourism industry centered on the Kenya-Tanzania boundary. The 'inside-out' approach to the conservation of wildlife and biodiversity is place-based, draws on local knowledge and informal governance arrangements and avoids the stigma of wildlife conservation driven by outside agencies. The human-centered approach reinforces land health and spatial connectivity and encourages multi-level and distributed governance arrangements embedded in large regional and national jurisdictions.

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