In Kenya’s Taita Taveta County, several ranches are undergoing a transformation into conservancies, driven by a shared commitment to conservation and sustainable land use. The Tsavo Ecosystem, known for its diverse flora and fauna, has faced challenges from human-wildlife conflicts and habitat degradation. To address these issues and promote coexistence between wildlife and local communities, ranch owners are voluntarily converting their land into conservancies.
Kasigau Ranch, one of the ranches becoming a conservancy, covers an area of 52,305 acres and has over 3,000 members. By creating a conservancy, the ranch can participate in protecting the region’s natural heritage while also supporting the local community. Through their conservation efforts, the ranch has secured carbon credits, which provide financial rewards for sequestering carbon dioxide through forest protection and reforestation projects. The revenue from these carbon credits, around Sh40 Million per year, has been used to improve infrastructure, expand education, establish sustainable businesses, and invest in anti-poaching measures and wildlife monitoring technologies.
Mgeno Conservancy, formerly a ranch, faced challenges from drought and mismanagement, prompting a transition to small-scale goat farming. Today, the conservancy manages over 2,000 heads of cattle and focuses on breeding and fattening stock. Climate change has forced the conservancy to implement destocking initiatives and prioritize pasture development. They strategically rotate their cattle to allow pastures to regenerate and minimize overgrazing.
Lumo Conservancy is another example of a ranch turning towards conservation. The conservancy aims to protect endangered species and provide a safe haven for wildlife. Through community engagement, Lumo Conservancy has established programs that promote sustainable livelihoods for local residents, such as eco-friendly agriculture and ecotourism ventures.
Conservancies like Kasigau Conservancy are also capitalizing on the opportunity to participate in carbon credit schemes. These funds provide additional financial support to conservancies and contribute to international efforts to combat climate change.
Overall, the transformation of ranches into conservancies in the Tsavo Ecosystem is driven by a commitment to conservation, sustainable land use, and community engagement. These conservancies not only protect the region’s biodiversity but also provide economic benefits and support for local communities. Through carbon credits and other initiatives, conservancies are contributing to climate change mitigation and adaptation efforts.