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Livelihood, land use and environment interactions in the highlands of East Africa. Eija Soini

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Livelihood, land use and environment interactions in the highlands of East Africa Eija Soini Department of Geography Faculty of Science University of Helsinki Academic dissertation To be presented with
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Livelihood, land use and environment interactions in the highlands of East Africa Eija Soini Department of Geography Faculty of Science University of Helsinki Academic dissertation To be presented with the permission of the Faculty of Science of the University of Helsinki, for public discussion in the University of Helsinki Main building (Unioninkatu 34) Auditorium XII, on the 30 th of October, at 12 o clock. Helsinki 2006 Pre-examiners: Deborah Fahy Bryceson, African Studies Centre, Oxford University David Mungai, Department of Geography, University of Nairobi Opponent: Ole Mertz, Department of Geography, University of Copenhagen Custos: John Westerholm, Department of Geography, University of Helsinki Julkaisija: Helsingin yliopisto, maantieteen laitos Department of Geography Faculty of Science P.O. Box 64, FIN University of Helsinki Finland ISBN (nid.) ISBN (PDF) ISSN Helsinki 2006 Dark Oy, Vantaa Table of contents Abstract... iii Abstract in Finnish / suomenkielinen tiivistelmä...iv Acknowledgements...v List of figures...vi List of tables...vi Introduction...1 Study sites...6 Methods...7 Results and discussion...9 Site characteristics: Similarities and differences...9 Livelihood, land use, and environment interactions...12 Livelihoods-land use linkages Land use-environment linkages Environment-livelihood linkages Conclusions...30 References...32 Papers included in the thesis Soini E. 2005a. Land use change patterns and livelihood dynamics on the slopes of Mt. Kilimanjaro, Tanzania. Agricultural Systems 85: Reproduced with the permission of Elsevier Ltd. Soini E. 2005b. Changing livelihoods on the slopes of Mt. Kilimanjaro, Tanzania: Challenges and opportunities in the Chagga homegarden system. Agroforestry Systems 2: Reproduced with the permission of Springer. Soini E. 2006a. Livelihood capital, strategies and outcomes in the Taita hills of Kenya. Paper under review. Soini E. 2006b. Bird diversity and land use on the southern slopes of Mt. Kilimanjaro, Tanzania. African Zoology 41, in press. Reproduced with the permission of African Zoology i ii Abstract This study aims at improving understanding of the interactions of livelihoods and the environment focusing on both socio-economic and biodiversity implications of land use change in the context of population pressure, global and local markets, climate change, cultural and regional historical factors in the highlands of East Africa. The study is based on three components (1) two extensive livelihood surveys, one on Mt. Kilimanjaro in Tanzania and the other in the Taita Hills of Kenya, (2) a land use change study of the southern slopes of Mt. Kilimanjaro focusing on land use trends between 1960s and 1980s and 1980s and 2000 and (3) a bird diversity study focusing on the potential impacts of the future land use change on birds in the main land use types on the slopes and the adjacent plains of Mt. Kilimanjaro. In addition, information on the highlands in Embu and the adjacent lowlands in Mbeere of Kenya are added to the discussion. Some general patterns of livelihood, land use and environment interactions can be found in the three sites. However, the linkages are very complex. Various external factors at different times in history have influenced most of the major turning points. Farmers continually make small adaptations to their farming practices, but the locally conceived alternatives are too few. Farmers lack specific information and knowledge on the most suitable crops, market opportunities and the quality requirements for growing the crops for markets. Population growth emerges as the most forceful driver of land use and environmental change. The higher altitudes have become extremely crowded with population densities in some areas higher than typical urban population densities. Natural vegetation has almost totally been replaced by farmland. Decreasing farm size due to population pressure is currently threatening the viability of whole farming systems. In addition, capital-poor intensification has lead to soil fertility depletion. Agricultural expansion to the agriculturally marginal lowlands has created a new and distinct group of farmers struggling constantly with climate variability causing frequent crop failures. Extensification to the fragile drylands is the major cause of fragmentation and loss of wildlife habitat. The linkages between livelihoods, land use and the environment generally point to degradation of the environment leading to reduced environmental services and ecosystem functions. There is no indication that the system is selfregulating in this respect. Positive interventions will be needed to maintain ecosystem integrity. Keywords: Kilimanjaro, Taita Hills, land use change, landscape, sustainable livelihood framework, avian diversity Author s iii Abstract in Finnish / suomenkielinen tiivistelmä Tutkimus pyrkii ymmärtämään elinkeinojen/elinolosuhteiden (livelihoods) ja ympäristön vuorovaikutusta Itä-Afrikan ylängöillä tarkastelemalla maankäytön sosioekonomisia ja biodiversiteettivaikutuksia väestönkasvun, globaalin ja paikallisten markkinoiden, ilmastonmuutoksen, kulttuurin ja aluehistorian viitekehyksessä. Tutkimuksen perustana on (1) kaksi laajaa haastattelututkimusta elinkeinoista/elinolosuhteista, yksi Kilimanjaron vuoren etelärinteiltä Tansaniasta ja toinen Kenian Taita-vuorilta, (2) maankäyttötutkimus Kilimanjarolta, jossa tarkastellaan maankäytön muuttumista vuosien 1960 ja 1980 sekä 1980 ja 2000 välillä, ja (3) lintudiversiteettitutkimus tulevaisuuden maankäytön muutoksen potentiaalisista vaikutuksista lintuihin eri maankäyttöluokissa Kilimanjarolla ja viereisillä tasangoilla. Lisäksi diskussiossa on käytetty informaatiota Kenian ylängöillä sijaitsevasta Embusta ja viereisiltä Mbeeren tasangoilta. Joitakin yleisiä suuntauksia elinkenojen/elinolosuhteiden, maankäytön ja ympäristön vuorovaikutuksessa on havaittavissa. Tosin vuorovaikutussuhteet ovat hyvin kompleksisia. Erilaiset ulkoiset vaikutteet historian eri aikoina ovat olleet suurimpien muutosten takana. Paikalliset viljelijät tekevät jatkuvasti mukautuksia viljelmillään, mutta paikalliset parannusvaihtoehdot ovat vähäisiä. Viljelijöiltä puuttuu tieto sopivimmista viljelykasveista, markkinointimahdollisuuksista ja laatuvaatimuksista. Väestönkasvu on suurin maankäytön ja ympäristön muutoksen liikkeellepaneva voima. Ylängöt ovat käyneet ahtaiksi ja väentiheys on paikoin suurempi kuin monilla urbaaneilla alueilla. Maatalous on lähes kokonaan syrjäyttänyt alkuperäisen kasvillisuuden. Väestönkasvun seurauksena tapahtuva tilojen jatkuva pilkkominen uhkaa kokonaisia viljelyjärjestelmiä. Lisäksi pääomaköyhä intensifikaatio on johtanut maaperän köyhtymiseen. Maatalouden laajeneminen marginaalisille alangoille on synnyttänyt uuden ja selkeän ryhmän viljelijöitä, jotka yhtenään kamppailevat ilmaston vaihtelevuuden aiheuttamien katojen kanssa. Maatalouden levittäytyminen hauraille kuiville maille myös pirstouttaa ja hävittää eläimille elintärkeitä habitaatteja. Linkit elinkeinojen/elinolosuteiden, maankäytön ja ympäristön välillä viittaavat yleisesti ympäristön rappioitumiseen johtaen väheneviin ympäristöpalveluihin ja heikkeneviin ekosysteemitoimintoihin. Systeemin tasapainottumisesta itsestään ei ole havaittavissa merkkejä. Siten positiiviset interventiot ovat tarpeen ekosysteemien eheyden säilyttämiseksi. Kirjoittajan sähköposti: iv Acknowledgements Most of the research that forms the basis of the four papers in this dissertation was done in a full-time researcher post at the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF), Nairobi, where I worked from October 1999 to May The bulk of the funding came from the Department of Development Co-operation of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs, Finland, through an Associate Expert programme at ICRAF. I will always remain grateful for the opportunity offered by the ministry-funded programme to work at an international research organisation. It was an immensely valuable experience. Not only did it make a researcher out of me, but also and maybe more importantly it stimulated a lot of personal growth. I am very grateful for the valuable feedback, advice and assistance that I have received from various colleagues at ICRAF at different stages of my research. Robert Zomer (formerly of ICRAF, currently of the International Water Management Institute, IMWI) earns the biggest thanks for being the person who made me enrol as a PhD student and encouraged me to compile a PhD thesis based on my research at ICRAF. But I am equally grateful to Richard Coe, Frank Place and Brent Swallow of ICRAF for tirelessly commenting on the various versions of my manuscripts; Richard Coe for his assistance with some of the data analysis and for editing my English; and Jemimah Njuki (formerly ICRAF, currently of the International Centre for Tropical Agriculture, CIAT) for the valuable contribution and collaboration in designing the livelihood survey. The companionship and open work relations with the GIS technicians of the ICRAF GIS lab were also of great value over the years at ICRAF. Albin Kessy of Land-Care and Ecological management Association (KILEA) (formerly of Kilimanjaro Environmental Development Association, KEDA), and Adolf F. Makauki of Mzumbe University, Tanzania participated in the livelihood data collection in the Kilimanjaro site. Also, additional special thanks to Albin Kessy for helping me with his extensive knowledge of trees. Through Mr. Evan W. Mbinga, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Department of Agriculture and Livestock Production was my main collaborator while working in the Taita Hills. Mr. Aggrey Marinda Kiasi from the same department shared with me the responsibility of the livelihood data collection in the Taita Hills. Your participation as local professionals was crucial: Thank you! I would also like to warmly thank all the families in Kilimanjaro and the Taita Hills who happily took part in the interviews. Thank you for sharing part of your lives with us! I am also grateful to Matti Nummelin from the Finnish Ministry for Foreign Affairs, Department of Development Policy for the useful comments on the bird diversity paper; Petri Pellikka and John Westerholm of the University of Helsinki, Department of Geography for the comments on the working paper draft on the land use change in Kilimanjaro; and Peter Oliver from Marangu for his useful feedback on the bird list. Some operational resources were provided by the Government of France to ICRAF for the Kilimanjaro work. Part of the fieldwork costs in the Taita Hills was covered by an Academy of Finland grant (201505) to the Department of Geography, University of Helsinki. A three-month grant from the University of Helsinki enabled writing both v the article on the livelihoods in the Taita Hills and the summary section of this dissertation. I am very grateful for these contributions. I am also very grateful to Kris van Houtte and Richard Coe who volunteered to check the summary section for language and style and Brent Swallow who sacrificed part of his very busy time to comment on the content. Warm thanks to my spouse and colleague Ric for the many interesting and productive conversations on livelihoods, land use, remote sensing, data analysis, birds, biodiversity, environment, development, poverty and the many other endless subjects we always talk about, and for the constant encouragement and support in compiling the thesis. List of figures Figure 1. Livelihood, land use and environment interactions in a rural agricultural setting in the highlands of East Africa... 4 Figure 2. The two main study sites, the southern slopes and the adjacent plains of Mt. Kilimanjaro in Tanzania and the Taita Hills in Kenya Figure 3. Some of the farmland in the Taita Hills is well terraced: Terraced vegetable cultivations (left), and a new terraced farm on a very steep slope (right) in the Taita Hills Figure 4. Differing ecological conditions, differing agricultural opportunities, differing levels of well-being: A lush homegarden on Mt. Kilimanjaro (upper left), and lowland fields only ten kilometres away (upper right); Productive vegetable fields in a highland valley (middle left) and farmland on the northern slopes in the Taita hills (middle right); An attractive house on the upper slopes of Mt. Kilimanjaro (bottom left) and a poor lowland household next to a river on the adjacent plains (bottom right) Figure 5. Partly abandoned degraded farmland with eroded old terraces on a very steep slope along Nanga valley on Mt. Kilimanjaro (left). Volcanic brick cutting leaves enormous scars on the hill slopes but the bricks are important building material for houses (right) Figure 6. Trees form an integral part of the Taita farming system. However, tree density and species diversity are much lower than in the Chagga homegarden system on the slopes of Mt. Kilimanjaro Figure 7. The remaining bushlands are islands in the middle of the agricultural fields in the lowlands of Mt. Kilimanjaro List of tables Table 1. Some farmer and farm characteristics in Kirua Vunjo, Kilema and Marangu on Mt. Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, and the study transect in the Taita Hills of Kenya according to the interview surveys of 45 and 51 households respectively Table 2. Main challenges perceived by farmers on Mt. Kilimanjaro, Tanzania, and in the Taita Hills, Kenya (Problems mentioned by only one farmer not listed) vi Livelihood, land use and environment interactions in the highlands of East Africa Introduction Livelihoods based on agriculture are closely linked with and dependent on the environment. But agricultural activities also powerfully shape the environment. Agriculture is, in fact, a human activity that affects the greatest proportion of the earth s surface, it is the single biggest user of fresh water (Pagiola & Holden 2001), and is still by far the largest single source of livelihoods and income (Ohlsson 2000). It is specifically through land use that the interaction of livelihoods and the environment is most clearly demonstrated. Land use acts as an interface between the two as it forms a unifying concept in which socio-economic and agro-ecologic variables coincide (Kruseman et al. 1996). However, some environmental changes are caused by natural processes and would happen without a human influence, and some changes are human induced but set in motion outside of the immediate realm and scope of the land user and his land. As the interaction usually happens in time with varying time lags of response and impact, it is not always easy to detect the underlying cause-effect relationships. Livelihoods comprise of resources or assets or capital (human, natural, social, physical and financial capital and access to use these) that enable strategies to be employed in order to survive and attain desirable livelihood outcomes such as income, food security, well-being and sustainable use of natural resources (Carswell 1997; Carney 1998; DFID 2001). This process of transforming the resources into commodities or outcomes is influenced by a myriad of external factors such as laws, culture, policies, and institutions. In addition, livelihood dynamics are strongly influenced by personal characteristics and desires, and one s relation to others. A livelihood is considered to be sustainable if it meets three conditions: firstly, it should be adequate for the satisfaction of self-defined basic needs, secondly, it should be resilient to shocks and stresses (Chambers 1995), and thirdly, it should not undermine the natural resource base that forms the basis of the future options (Hyden 1998; Scoones 1998). In classic French geography (Claval 1974 in de Haan 2000) a livelihood system (i.e. livelihoods of groups of actors) was an integrated set of livelihood strategies of a human group in a specific region, in which the interaction between society and natural environment played a major role. A livelihood system was characterised as having a clear spatial identity: the region. Nowadays livelihoods, even in the most remote corners of the world, are subject to a multitude of influences from the national, international and global context. However, locality continues to occupy an important position in sustainable livelihood thinking, because natural resources are placespecific. Perception of shocks and stresses are also dominated by a local and regional orientation (de Haan 2000). Many land use practices are absolutely essential because they either directly provide critical natural resources and ecosystem services or through land use practices natural resources are converted into useful products. But some forms of land use degrade ecosystems and the services they provide (Foley et al. 2005). Malthus (1798, 1803) developed the first comprehensive theory of population-land use relationship. He 1 predicted that population growth would lead to famine and an eventual population crash, since, he noted, whereas human populations grow geometrically, food production tends to increase only arithmetically. Malthus also said that since the most productive land tends to be used first, as a population grows and the area used for agriculture expands with it, the average quality of new agricultural land brought into production declines, and thus mean land productivity also declines. In addition, where land area for cultivation is fixed, classical economists noted that increased applications of labour lead to a fall in mean output per worker through the law of variable proportions, more commonly referred to as the law of diminishing returns (e.g. Ricardo 1887). In addition to being a local issue through extraction of resources in a specific locality, or regional through changing landscapes 1 and landscape functions, land use is increasingly becoming a global issue (Foley et al. 2005). Just as our collective land use practices are increasingly degrading ecological conditions across the globe, we have become dependent on an ever-increasing share of the biosphere (Vitousek et al. 1986). Global croplands, pastures, plantations and urban areas have expanded in recent decades, accompanied by large increases in energy, water and fertiliser consumption, along with considerable environmental degradation and losses of biodiversity 2. Even though it has been recognised that biodiversity is important for the functioning of all ecosystems, and that excessive loss of biodiversity imposes real costs on resource users (Heywood 1995), short term benefits are realized at the expense of long term environmental services that we depend on. Extensive agricultural growth is considered to be a major contributor to loss of habitat and the reduced environmental resilience that buffers agro-ecosystems against environmental and market shocks (Cassells et al. 1987; Chomitz & Kumari 1996; Pagiola & Holden 2001). Following more than a century of technological advances since Malthus (1803), including in agriculture, Boserup (1965) introduced the notion that technological change could mitigate the effect of population growth on food supply by facilitating increases in food production. As available arable land becomes scarce relative to labour, societies adopt more labour intensive techniques, which take advantage of increased labour-land factor ratios. Bilsborrrow (1987) groups theoretical views on responses to population pressures as economic (land intensification and extensification), demographic (fertility responses), and economic-demographic (outmigration). He hypotheses that households traditionally exhaust economic options first, beginning with land expansion. If that is insufficient, then available land intensification technologies are adopted. If such adjustments together still are inadequate, the next reaction is likely to be out-migration. Fertility reduction is claimed to occur in traditional societies
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