Sustainable Land Management

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    Spatio-Temporal Dynamics of Land Use and Land Cover in Elgeyo Escarpment, Kenya
    (East African Agricultural and Forestry Journal, 2022) Kanda R.; Sang C.; Letema S.
    The Elgeyo Escarpment has undergone land use and land cover (LULC) changes over the last five decades. However, past LULC change assessments focused on forests and river basins and little on LULC changes and their drivers in the escarpment. This paper, therefore assesses spatio-temporal dynamics of LULC and their drivers. Satellite images were analyzed to assess LULC changes using remote sensing and geographical information system (GIS) techniques; and validated using ground-truthing. Structured questionnaires were administered to 180 household heads, eight focus group discussions and key informant interviews conducted to determine LULC change drivers. The survey participants were over fifty-five years of age, to provide historical LULC change trends. The images were pre-processed and classified using the maximum likelihood algorithm in Environment for visualizing images (ENVI), with images overall classification accuracies being over 70%. The results indicate LULC conversions varied in trends and magnitude. Between 1995 and 2014, grassland and shrubland decreased by 78.15% and 24.41%, respectively. Conversely forest, built-up and cropland gained by 411.82%, 200.95% and 13.62%, respectively. In 2014- 2020, forest cover increased by 63% while grassland, built-up, shrubland and cropland decreased by 79.69%, 39.14%, 21.57% and 11.80%, respectively. Overall, forest, built-up and cropland gained while shrubland and grassland decreased. Notably, forest gained by 734.52% while shrubland decreased by 40.72%. Population growth is the primary LULC driver triggering increased demand for food (88.9%), settlements (52.2%) besides cattle rustling (44.4%) and forest evictions. Periodic LULC assessments are crucial to guide policies and guidelines formulation for the sustainable management of the escarpment.
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    Influence of Land Use Land Cover Changes on Soil Erosion in Elgeyo Escarpment, Kenya
    (East African Agricultural and Forestry Journal, 2022) Kanda R.; Sang C.; Letema S.
    Land use land cover changes (LULC) are known to cause land degradation in various forms including soil erosion. The Elgeyo Escarpment is within the Kenya’s Rift Valley, a mountainous section with rugged terrain and receives fairly high rainfall. These factors, coupled with unsustainable LULC changes, make the escarpment prone to soil erosion challenges. Despite this vulnerability, information on soil loss is scanty. This paper evaluates the impact of LULC changes on soil erosion occurrence in the Elgeyo Escarpment between 1995 and 2020. Revised Universal Soil Loss Equation model, remote sensing and ground truths were used. The results revealed that the average intolerable soil erosion rates were 14.0 t/ha/yr and 18.76 t/ha/yr in 1995 and 2020, respectively. Scrubland, cropland, grassland, forest and built-up areas contributed 67.1%, 20.1%, 7.8%, 4.8% and 0.2%, respectively of the total soil loss in 1995. By 2020, the contributions of shrubland and forest to erosion had dramatically declined to 39.8% and increased to 39.4%, respectively. Cropland, shrub/grassland and built up areas contributed 20.2%, 0.3% and 0.3%, respectively. The highest rates of soil erosion occurred in built-up areas converted from shrub/ grassland (1.04 t/ha) followed by cropland converted from forest (0.59 t/ha). Soil erosion rate increased with increased slope angle owing to high velocity and runoff erosivity, with areas having slope >300 experiencing the highest rate (1225 t/ha/y). Therefore, there is need to review land use and soil conservation practices to ensure sustainable management of the escarpment.
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    Comparative assessment of prevalence, risk factors and economic losses of lameness in smallholder zero- and pasture-grazed dairy cows in Kenya
    (Egerton University, 2019-03-25) Darboe, Momodou
    Lameness is a cause of worry to dairy producers for being indicative of welfare problem with resultant economic losses from reduced milk yield, veterinary cost or premature culling. Risks for lameness are both animal and herd level factors, but the magnitude varies with housing conditions of the cows. This study compared farmer estimated and observed prevalence, types of lameness, risk factors and economic losses from lameness of cows in farms practicing zero- and pasture grazing. The study was conducted in Nakuru County, Kenya where zero- and pasture-grazed cows were obtained in an observational study design. In a random sample of 172 smallholder farms, 485 cows were examined for lameness, individual records and performance histories. Data were subjected to Chi square test, means comparisons and spearman rank correlation. Results showed that lameness prevalence was not different between zero-grazed (23.0%) and pasture grazed (20.2%) cows. The prevalence of lameness observed (22.1%) and that estimated by farmers (22.7%) closely matched with a strong positive and significant correlation (r=0.959; p<0.05). Four types of lameness were identified of which prevalence was in the order: laminitis (43.1%), digital dermatitis (32.1%), white line disease (14.7%) and sole ulcer (10.1%), but their prevalence did not vary with the grazing system. Lameness was more prevalent among the zero than pasture -grazed cows for cows kept on earth floor (46.4% vs 20.4%), small dairy breeds (46.0% vs 27.5%) or those kept on dry bedding (15.0% vs 4.9%). Estimated economic loss from lameness was 51% higher in zero- than in pasture grazing (KES 4,695.49 vs 3,109.41/farm/year) with a larger proportion attributable to production losses and veterinary costs. The loss is equivalent to loss of 104 to 157 litres of milk in a herd in a year for farmgate milk price of KES 30 a litre. Production losses were more in zero- than in pasture grazing (68.3 vs 55.7%) but veterinary costs were lower in zero- than in psture grazing (29.1 vs 34.4%). It is recommended that farmer training focuses on skills upgrading on routine care of claws and hooves to reduce incidences of lameness and the resulting economic losses from lameness.
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    Effects of tillage depth and speed on drawbar power and performance of disc and Mouldborad ploughs in silt loam soil
    (Egerton University, 2019-09-25) Alele, Joseph Odero
    A research was carried out at the Ngongongeri Farm Kenya to determine effects of tillage depth and speed on drawbar power and performance of disc and mouldboard ploughs so as to develop a mathematical model that would assist farmers, machinery managers and policy makers to properly match implements to tractors and the size of tractors to import based on soil types and conditions. The implements used were a standard 2-bottom mouldboard plough and a 3-bottom disc plough. Tillage depths used were 6.5 cm, 12.5 cm and 22.5 cm while the forward speeds were 1.3 km/h, 2.3 km/h and 3.0 km/h with the width of both implements fixed at 80 cm. Preliminary field studies of soil parameters were conducted and the analysis of parameters showed homogeneity hence a completely randomized design was used. Two tractors were used with a digital pull dynamometer located in between the tractors to take the readings of draught at various depths and speeds of tillage. The measured draught was used to calculate the drawbar power and specific power. The results showed increase in drawbar power with increase in tillage depth and forward speed at all the levels of the parameters tested for both the ploughs used with mouldboard plough having higher values of power requirement at all levels of the parameters investigated. The specific drawbar power increased with increase in forward speed and decreased with tillage depth for the implements used. Mathematical models were developed to predict specific drawbar power given by: Ys  0.27 X1  X 2  0.13X 3 and Ys  0.41X1  3.43X 2  0.15X 3 for disc and mouldboard ploughs respectively based on depth (X1), speed (X2) and width of cut (X3). The predicted values from the models fitted well to the measured values with some minimal residuals, hence can be used in matching of these implements to tractors in silt loam soils. Soil pulverization ratio increased with increase in speed while trench specific resistance decreased with increase in tillage depth. Mouldboard plough had better soil inversion at all levels of interaction between speed and depth of tillage as compared to disc plough. The results of the study showed that the mouldboard plough had better performance in terms of soil slice inversion and pulverization as compared to the disc plough at all levels of the factors tested. Therefore, based on the tillage power and specific power disc ploughs should be encouraged to minimize the cost of tillage. While looking at the field in terms of performance in primary tillage then shallow mouldboard tillage should be encouraged to take advantage of good inversion properties.
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    Risk of Environmental Chemical Contaminants Associated with Animal Feeding in Peri Urban Areas of Kisumu Town
    (Excellent Publishers, 2022-05-10) Inyagwa, Charles Muleke; Orengo, Kenneth; Amanya, Price; Mdachi, Raymond
    The objective of this study was to determine, quantify and disseminate the level of environmental chemical contaminants in the topsoil, water, pasture, milk, blood, feaces, kidney, and adipose tissues from cattle reared in peri-urban slum of Kisumu County. Various samples were collected from Mamboleo, Nyalenda and Otonglo in Kisumu County in the months of April and August 2019 respectively to determine possible seasonal or environmental variability of contaminants. Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass Spectrometry (ICP-MS) was used to identify and quantify the level of toxic heavy metals and the results were compared to WHO food safety limits.Flotation method was used to determine Helminth’s infections. Viable bacterial cell counts were determined using the Spread-Plate method. The heavy metals analyzed were: Lead (Pb), Mercury (Hg), Cadmium (Cd), Arsenic (As) and Copper (Cu). One-way ANOVA (Analysis of Variance) test was used to determine significant difference in the mean level of heavy metals. There were variations in mean heavy concentration levels between the two visits (p<0.05). Helminthosis was prevalent (59.5%) and total Fecal Egg Count (FEC) varied across samples. Study findings show varying heavy metal concentration levels which exceed WHO/FAO food safety limits implying livestock kept in peri-urban setting of Kisumu town are at a risk of ingest contaminated pasture, threatening food safety among consumers. This study recommends policies aimed at mitigating pollution from chemical contaminants and other anthropogenic activities and farmer sensitization on better farming system with limited risks on food safety and animal-human food chain.
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    Promotion of Terminalia brownii in Reforestation by Development of Appropriate Dormancy Breaking and Germination Methods in Drylands; Kenya
    (Elsevier, 2020-06-01) Okeyo, Michael; G., Obwoyere; Makanji, Lubanga; Njuguna, Jane; Omondi, Jackline
    Terminalia brownii Fresen in the Combretaceae family, is one of the indigenous tree species used in agroforestry, afforestation and reforestation programmes in drylands of Kenya. It is widely distributed in the semi-arid lands of East, Central and West Africa. It is an important drought tolerant and multipurpose agroforestry species whose potential is underutilized due to poor seed germination. Its products such as timbers, posts, charcoal and curving wood among others are not available in required quantities for domestic and industrial use. Exploitation of T. brownii is on the increase, but efforts to promote its planting are thwarted by lack of seedlings attributed to poor seed germination. This study investigated dormancy and germination of T. brownii seeds. Mature T. brownii fruits were harvested from Ikanga, Mbumbuni, Kabururu and Kimose sites; in Kitui, Makueni, Tharaka Nithi and Baringo counties of Kenya respectively. Flowering and fruiting was monitored and mature fruits harvested for dormancy and germination tests. To conduct germination tests, one hundred fruits and extracted seeds were subjected to each of the following treatments: mature whole fruits (control), dewinged fruits, fruits nipped at the distal and proximal ends and extracted seeds in four replicates. Extracted seeds started germinating after incubation for 7 days, while fruits nipped at the distal end took 21 days. The control and all other treatments from all sites failed to germinate after an incubation period of 60 days. Extracted T. brownii seeds recorded the highest germination with the best at 76% from Ikanga, while those nipped at the distal ends recorded a mean germination of 13% across all sites. There is evidence suggesting that T. brownii fruits recorded poor germination due physiological seed dormancy probably imposed by the hard samara fruit. These findings suggest that T. brownii fruits from Kimose should be nipped at the distal end, while those from Eastern Kenya (Kitui and Makueni Counties) should be extracted completely by removing the seed from the fruit to enhance germination. These results will inform choice of propagation of T. brownii seeds and enhance its planting in various agroforestry practices and afforestation programmes.
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    Fungal diseases attacking floral phenology of Terminalia brownii in Drylands, Kenya
    (CEON/CEES, 2019) Okeyo, Michael M.; Obwoyere, Gilbert O.; Makanji, Dickson L.; Njuguna, Jane W.; Omond, Jackline A.
    Terminalia brownii is among the dominant multipurpose tree species in the Kenyan drylands whose regeneration is hampered by poor seed germination. It is used for building, fencing, herbal medicine, wood carving, and woodfuel among others. A study to assess fungal pathogens that infest T. brownii floral phenophases was conducted in Baringo, Kendu Bay and Kitui Bay. Flower-buds, flowers and immature were sampled for culturing from 30 trees selected randomly within 5.0 ha area in each site and GPS coordinates recorded. Samples of 100 flowerbuds, flowers, immature and mature fruits were surface sterilized using 10% sodium hypochlorite for 2 minutes and rinsed in distilled water. These were plated on Malt Extract Agar (MEA) media and incubated at 28 ± 2°C for seven days; fungal colonies were evaluated and subcultured to obtain pure cultures and pathogens were identified using morphological characteristics. Statistical analyses were carried out using GENSTAT version 18 and means separated using Turkeys test. Common fungal pathogens isolated were Pestalotia (53-57%), Fusarium spp (12-19%), Rhizopus (16-21%) and Cladosporium species (1-5%). While that of Bostrosphaeria, Trichoderma and Alternaria species were less than 2.5% in all sampled floral phenophases. There were significant differences (p<0.05) of fungal infestation between flowerbuds, flowers, immature and mature fruits, but not across sites. Flower-buds had the least of isolated fungal pathogens, thus indicating that infestation took place during and after flowering. These fungi may affect seeds and germination by either causing seed deterioration or affecting the germinants hence lowering seed quality.
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    Communities attitudes and perceptions towards the status, use and management of Kapolet Forest Reserve in Kenya
    (Academic Journals, 2020-10-31) Rotich, Brian; Makindi, Stanley; Esilaba, Moses
    Forest communities play a vital role in the conservation of forest resources. Understanding communities’ use, attitudes and perceptions of forests and management measures is significant in attaining conservation goals and reducing forest resource use conflicts. This study sought to assess local community’ forest resources use and their perception towards forest status, use and management. Data was collected through household surveys using semi-structured questionnaires, participant observation, Key Informant Interviews (KII), and Focus Group Discussions (FGD). A total of 112 respondents from three adjacent villages within 5 km from the forest boundary were randomly sampled for the household survey while descriptive statistics were used for data analysis. Most (94.6%) of the households reported using products from forests. These products formed an integral part of the households’ energy needs, construction materials, medicine, income generation and daily dietary needs. Firewood was the most collected product from the forest (76.4%) whereas bush meat was the least (4.7%). There were mixed views on the forest management with more than half (54.5%) expressing dissatisfaction with the current management regime citing insecure land tenure system, inadequate integration of the community in forest management and corruption. There was perceived forest degradation due to illegal logging, illegal grazing, forest fires, climate change and encroachment for farming. For sustainable forest management practice therefore, there is a need for incorporating Indigenous knowledge (IK) in forest management plans and putting in place grievance address mechanisms to cater for the needs of local communities when designing forest policies and implementing forest restoration programs.  
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    African Journal of Agricultural Research Physiological response of soybean [Glycine max (L) Merrill] to soil moisture stress
    (Academic Journals, 2019-03-22) Mwamlima, Louis; Ouma, Josephine; Cheruiyot, Erick
    This study was done to determine the effects of varying soil moisture regimes on CO 2 assimilation of soybean [Glycine max (L.) Merrill] in pots under greenhouse conditions during 2017 and 2018 cropping seasons. The experiment was conducted as a Randomized Complete Block Design (RCBD) in a 4 x 6 factorial treatment arrangement and replicated 3 times. Soil moisture regimes (80, 60, 40 and 20% of field capacity) and cultivars (Gazelle, Nyala, EAI 3600, DPSB 8, Hill and DPSB 19) were first and second factors, respectively. Collected data were subjected to Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) using Linear Mixed Model in GENSTAT. Significantly different treatment means were separated using Tukey's test at 0.05 significance level. Leaf relative water content, stomata conductance, photosynthesis rate and sub-stomatal CO 2 concentrations significantly (P < 0.001) declined with increasing soil moisture stress. Total leaf chlorophyll content increased (P < 0.001) with increased soil moisture stress. Cultivars DPSB 19 and DPSB 8 had relatively higher leaf relative water content and stomata conductance at reduced soil moisture regime at 20% moisture from field capacity indicating moisture stress tolerance potential of the cultivars.
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    Fire-induced negative nutritional outcomes for cattle when sharing habitat with native ungulates in an African savanna
    (Scientific Research Publishing (SCIRP), 2021-11-15) Odadi, Wilfred O.; Kimuyu, Duncan M.; Sensenig, Ryan L.; Veblen, Kari E.; Riginos, Corinna; Young, Truman P.
    Prescribed burning is used in tropical savannas to improve habitat conditions for domestic and wild herbivores, but its effects on the ecological interactions between these herbivore guilds have never been assessed experimentally. Understanding such effects will contribute towards more informed management of both guilds in landscapes where they share habitats. We investigated the effects of burning on the nutritional outcomes for cattle sharing habitat with wildlife in a Kenyan savanna ecosystem. We compared forage availability and cattle forage and nutrient intake rates across burned and unburned areas cattle accessed exclusively, and those they shared with medium-sized wild ungulates, both with and without megaherbivores (elephants and giraffes). We performed these measurements in May 2013 (wet period, 2 months post-burning) and February 2014 (dry period, 11 months post-burning). Additionally, we monitored wildlife use of these areas. Prescribed burning enhanced cattle nutrition, but only in areas cattle did not share with wildlife. Shared foraging with wildlife reduced cattle forage and nutrient intake rates by 37–97% in burned areas (burns), but not in unburned areas; these reductions corresponded with reduced herbage availability in the shared burns. In May (the wet period), cattle met their nutrient intake requirements in burns, regardless of whether they were sharing these areas with wildlife. However, in February (the dry period), nutrient requirements were unmet or tended to be unmet in burns shared with wildlife; requirements were met or significantly exceeded in the unshared burns. Experimental exclusion of megaherbivores did not moderate these effects, suggesting that they were primarily caused by medium-sized wild ungulates which were highly attracted to burns. Synthesis and applications. Prescribed burning produces negative nutritional outcomes for cattle when sharing habitat with wild ungulates. Because these effects could negatively influence livestock–wildlife coexistence, burning should be applied prudently in such human-occupied savanna landscapes. Specifically, because unburned areas serve as refuge foraging areas during the dry season, interspersing burns with unburned areas could minimize fire-driven negative interactions between cattle and wild ungulates. Conversely, burning could be used to draw wildlife away from valuable cattle foraging areas, such as those near available water.
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    Propagation And Regeneration Of Important Indigenous Tree Species In Kakamega Forest, Kenya
    (International Journal of Innovative Research and Advanced Studies (IJIRAS), 2018-08-01) Busuru, Carolyne; G., Obwoyere; Kirui, Bernard
    This study evaluated regeneration potential of P. africana vis a vis Olea capensis and Croton megalocarpus, identified the seed for propagation and suitable sowing media that gives optimum germination results. An experiment was set to evaluate these. Seeds were collected prepared, germinated under the different media types and germination percent monitored. The data was collected on mean germination percent in different media ratio and statistical analyses conducted. The results indicated that There was significant difference in the timing of the collection of seeds (F 2, 60, f=24.47, P<0.001). Germination rate was significantly lower in stored seeds compared to the other two seed collection stages i.e. mature green seeds and mature ripe. There was a significant ‘medium’ effect on the germination of C. megalocarpus (F6,62, f=4.84, p<0.001), Prunus africana (Chi- square test = 14.10, d. f= 6, p = 0.029) and O. capensis (Chi –square test = 18.33, d. f= 6, p = 0.005). From the results, it was concluded that the best seed for propagation of P. africana is seed freshly harvested, mature and ripe even without any pre-treatment. It is therefore recommended that P. africana seed should be sown in sand: sawdust 1:1 immediately after harvesting for optimum germination.
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    Evaluation of Spatio-Temporal Soil Moisture Variability in Semi-Arid Rangeland Ecosystem, Maasai Mara National Reserve, Kenya
    (Journal of Engineering Research and Reports, 2021-09-02) Kapkwang, Charles C.; Onyando, Japheth O.; Kundu, Peter M.; Hoedjes, Joost
    Aim: To evaluate the spatio-temporal soil moisture storage and retention capacities in semi-arid rangeland ecosystem, Maasai Mara National Reserve (MMNR), Kenya Study Design: Randomized complete block design (RCBD) of reference Cosmic Ray Neutron Sensor (CRNS) station, ten-(10) spatially distributed (soil moisture and temperature capacitance) probes (5TM-ECH20) sites. Place and Duration of Study: Kenya, MMNR, the oldest natural semi-arid rangeland ecosystem and globally unique for the great wildebeest migration, between May 2017 and April 2019. Methodology: Soil moisture (SM) variation data was collected using (CRNS) at spatial and point-scale 5TM-ECH2O probes, and gravimetric water content from (10) spatially distributed stations. Both CRNS and 5TM-ECH2O probes were used to monitor near-real time moisture levels at different soil layers ranging between 0-5cm, 5-10cm, 15-20cm, 35-40cm, and 75-80cm. Soil physical and chemical properties were laboratory analyzed. Calibration and validation datasets were obtained from 5TM-ECH2O probe and gravimetric soil samples extracted from respective layers and sites.
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    The role of the private forestry sector in response to climate change in central Africa: the case of Cameroon
    (The Commonwealth Forestry Association, 2019-08-01) Tieguhong, J.C.; Ketchatang, P.T.; Chia, E.; Assembe-Mvondo, S.; Oeba, V.O.
    This paper outlines the role of private forestry sector actors in response to climate change in Cameroon using literature reviews, field consultations and stakeholders’ analyses. National policy and institutional frameworks on climate change initiatives linked to forests were analysed. Three local non-governmental organisations in partnership with the private sector and one logging company are actively engaged in climate change-related activities such as sustainable forest management, certification, enrichment planting, afforestation, community tree planting and adoption of improved fish-smoking technologies. Although logging companies are the traditional private sector players in forestry, increasing global concerns about climate change have led to new entrants and emerging prominent players in tackling forestry and climate change-related issues. Overall, the analyses suggest low active participation of the private sector in climate change-related activities in Cameroon. This could be reversed by putting in place the correct institutional arrangements and overhauling strategies to ensure the active participation of several other logging companies in the country. From a business perspective, climate change funding facilities need to engage logging companies in climate change activities including rehabilitating disturbed forest sites such as logging gaps, old logging yards and gantries.
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    Socioeconomic factors influencing the choice of climate-smart soil practices among farmers in western Kenya
    (Elsevier, 2021-06-01) Mogaka, Bwema; Bett, Hillary Kiplangat; Karanja, S.
    The effects of climate change and variability cause a shift in climatic patterns and increasing shocks. These changes and shocks are affecting soil that is the backbone of many, particularly the farming communities. Climate-Smart soil (CSS) practices among farmers are known to rehabilitate and protect it. These practices will improve soil fertility, increase crop productivity and mitigate climate change as soil act as carbon sinks. The CSS practices uptake is low and varied among the farmers due to differences in farmer attributes, resource endowment, farm characteristics, CSS practice requirements, and climate change perceptions. This study examines the socio-economic factors that influence the adoption choice of CSS practices among farmers in three Counties: Kakamega, Bungoma, and Siaya, in western Kenya. Using a multi-stage sampling technique, the data was collected through structured interviews with the aid of a close-ended questionnaire. A multinomial logit model was used to analyze the socio-economic factors influencing the choice of CSS practice among farmers. The findings indicate that the household head age, education level, gender, farming experience, duration of the practice, farm size, plot size, number of plots in the farm, form of land ownership influenced the adoption of CSS practices. Therefore, development practitioners should consider these factors that inform the CSS practices adoption when rolling out programs that aim to increase the uptake. Policies, which improve agricultural education levels, climate change sensitization and financing, access to resources, and gender mainstreaming to address inequalities should be put in place to increase and bridge the gap of varied uptake of CSS practices among farmers.
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    Seed Borne Fungal Organisms Associated with Germination Success of Terminalia brownii (Fresen) in Kenya
    (Scientific Research Publishing, 2021-09-24) Atieno, Jackline; Obwoyere, Gilbert O.; Makanji, Dickson L.; Okeyo, Michael M.
    Terminalia brownii is an indigenous tree species highly valued in the Kenyan drylands for its products such as timber for wood curving, medicine, and charcoal production, among others. Due to this high value followed by overutilization, its population in the drylands is dwindling. Concern about the species’ low regeneration as shown by low germination has been raised. This research was conducted on the seed borne fungal organisms that are associating with the germination of this species. T. brownii seeds were collected from cluster patches of the species in Kendu Bay, Kimose and Ndumoni in Homabay, Baringo and Kitui counties of Kenya respectively. The seeds were harvested for fruit probing for maturity confirmation. Random sampling was used in selecting thirty trees, 50 meters apart, from which fresh fruits were uniformly collected from the crowns. The research adopted a complete block experimental design where one hundred seeds each from the three sites, were subjected to a germination test, seed borne fungal organisms’ presence, identified organisms cultured and DNA and DNA sequencing carried out for identification. Fungal organisms associated with germination success of T. brownii were Fusarium equiseti, Pestalotia sp, and Alternaria alternata. Paired t test run between germinants versus the number of sown seeds gave N = 12, p-value of 0.000, t = 16.29. On the other hand, paired t test run between fungal infected seeds with the number of germinants gave N = 12, p-0.000, t = 8.78. Fungi associated with germinants included Penicillium sp, and the data analyzed using Mann-Whitney U test run showed significant difference at a p value of 0.000. Identified organisms associating with none germination and germination success on the other hand were analyzed using descriptive analysis. Fungal organisms associating with germination success of T. brownii significantly affect germination of freshly extracted seeds from the field, hence, for maximum germination achievement, seeds should be sown while still fresh.
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    Impact of soil acidity and liming on soybean (Glycine max) nodulation and nitrogen fixation in Kenyan soils
    (Taylor and Francis, 2020-11-16) Bakari, Rukia; Mungai, Nancy; Thuita, Moses; Masso, Cargele
    There is a wide application of rhizobia inoculants to legume crops in Africa, irrespective of the soil acidity, though the latter limits the effectiveness of inoculants. Two trials were conducted in a controlled environment to determine suitable soil pH and impact of liming on soybean nodulation and nitrogen fixation to inform proper application of the rhizobia-inoculant technology on acid soils. In the first trial; soil, variety and inoculation had significant influence (p < 0.05) on weighed nodule effectiveness (WNE) and N fixation. Strongly acidic soils recorded low WNE and N fixation. In the second trial, WNE and N fixation significantly increased with co-application of lime and inoculation (p < 0.05). The results showed that soybean inoculation is effective in increasing nodulation and N fixation in moderate acidic soils, contrarily to strongly acidic soils. Interestingly, co-application of lime and inoculation has potential of increasing nodulation and N fixation in strongly acidic soils. The WNE is recommended as a robust formula to report nodule effectiveness, compared to the current percentage method.
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    The Effect of Participation in Farmer Groups on Household Adoption of Sustainable Land Management Practices in Kenyan Drylands
    (Sciencedomain International, 2020-12-15) Karaya, Rebecca N.; Onyango, Christopher A.; Ogendi, George M.
    Land degradation is a major cause of declining yields and loss of dryland ecosystems resilience in the Lake Baringo Basin in Kenya. One of the solutions to land degradation in drylands is the application of Sustainable Land Management (SLM) technologies. Improving farmers’ capacity to adopt SLM technologies has been an important strategy of the Kenyan government and her development partners to addressing land degradation. State agricultural extension services are charged with the role of building this capacity. Unfortunately, such extension services have had little impact in the Kenyan drylands. To counter this inadequacy in extension services, farmers have formed grass-root organisations to foster networks of support and information sharing. In this paper, we analysed the effect of participation in farmers organisation in promoting adoption of SLM practices by agropastoralists in the Lake Baringo Basin. Data were collected through in-depth household interviews with 150 farmers, 79 of them group members and 71 non-group members. Level of knowledge, sources of information and challenges of SLM adoption were studied. The study revealed significant and positive association between group participation and adoption of SLM practices at X2 (3, N=150=63.209, P=0.000). Additionally, group partnering with development agencies like Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) and government departments was reported to have significant influence on household adoption of SLM practices at X2 (3, N=79=13.147, P=0.004). The results indicated that farmer groups can effectively be used to leverage farmers' adoption of SLM innovations and potentially improve household income and food security in the Kenyan drylands. We recommended organizational and resource capacity building for farmer groups to promote their effectiveness in provision of resources and services to their members. In addition, government research and extension agencies and academia should consider forming collaborations with farmer groups in generation of SLM technologies that are suited to the farmers location and prevailing context.
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    Effect of land terracing on soil physical properties across slope positions and profile depths in medium and high altitude regions of Rwanda
    (Taylor and Francis, 2020-03-14) Fashaho, Aloys; Ndegwa, George M; Lelei, Joyce J; Musandu, Amos O; Mwonga, Samuel M
    Although land terracing is promoted as a management practice for effective soil conservation in hilly areas, construction of terraces causes changes in soil properties. This study evaluated the effect of land terracing on some soil physical properties across slope positions and profile depths in medium and high altitudes of eastern and north-eastern Rwanda. Soil samples were collected from top, middle and bottom slopes of four year-old terraced and non-terraced lands. Results showed that soil textures were mainly sandy clay loams. At medium altitude, silt (19.6, 18.6%) and hydraulic conductivity (237.9, 129.8 mm h−1) were significantly (p < 0.05) higher in terraced than non-terraced land, while clay (29.2, 27.8%) and total available water content (TAWC) (222.2, 201.7 mm m−1) were higher in non-terraced than terraced land. At the high altitude, hydraulic conductivity (194.3, 124.1 mm h−1) was higher in terraced than non-terraced land, while soil bulk density (1.42, 1.35 g cm−3) and TAWC (251.6, 235.3 mm m−1) were higher in non-terraced than terraced land. Terracing increased silt content and hydraulic conductivity, and slightly decreased clay and water retention capacity. These changes are important in soil water and fertility management, and therefore need to be considered when using terraced lands.
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    Avian and Habitat Diversity in the Semi-Arid Lands of Baringo South, Kenya
    (Scientific Research Publishing, 2020-08-04) Ogendi, George Morara; Ondieki, Rhoda N.
    Semi-arid wooded-shrublands are important and critical habitats that provide breeding and feeding grounds for a variety of bird species, some of which are endangered, vulnerable or threatened with extinction. Habitat type and size influence abundance and diversity of birds globally and particularly in developing countries that are characterized by rapid human population growth and haphazard urban, agricultural and industrial development. The objective of this study was to assess avian and habitat diversity at Chemeron, a semi-arid land in the northern rangelands of Kenya. The study was guided by four questions: What kind of Habitat types are present at Chemeron study area? What kind of birds are found at Chemeron area? What is the conservation status of birds found at Chemeron area? What are the functional feeding guilds of birds that are found in the study area? How does the habitat type influence bird species abundance and diversity at Chemeron? Four 2-km long transects radiating from a central point within the study area were selected for a ground survey of birds that was conducted on foot. The surveys were conducted between 06:30 and 09:30 and 16:00 and 18:00 from October 2019 to April 2020. Bird species were observed and identified to the species level using high-resolution binoculars, field guidebooks and available taxonomic keys. Our surveys documented two main habitat types: Acacia-Balanites-Boscia woodlands dominated by Acacia senegal, Acacia mellifera, Acacia nilotica, Boscia angustifolia, and Balanites aegyptica. The second kind of habitat consisted of the invasive Acalypha fruticosa and Indigofera arrecta with Acacia reficiens-Acacia brevispica overstorey. A total of 53 bird species were sighted and identified the vulnerable Yellow necked spurfowl (Francolinus leucoscepus). Seventy-nine percent of the birds were sighted as singles or in pairs except for the gregarious white browed sparrow weaver (Plocepasser mahali), Apus caffer, Numida meleagris, Streptopelia senegalensis, Dinemellia dinemelli and Corythaxoides leucogaster. Significant differences in the various species diversity indices among the six transects were observed (p < 0.05). Approximately 60% of the birds belong to the insectivorous and omnivorous feeding guild. Charcoal burning and uncontrolled harvesting of wood are the major threats to the avian habitats in the study area. The high diversity of bird species in the study area can be attributed to the varied diversity of habitats that provide feeding, nesting, refuge and breeding grounds for the birds. From the foregoing findings, we can conclude that the ASALs of Baringo South offer ample habitat for a large number of bird species including the vulnerable Yellow necked spurfowl. The variations in various bird diversity indices can be attributed to the observed heterogeneity of habitats in the study area. We recommend wise use of rangeland resources and protection of critical avian habitats within the ASALs. Efforts should be geared towards livelihoods diversification and empowerment of the Lake Bogoria communities. This will reduce the pressure on the wooded shrublands that is widespread in the study area.
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    Seasonal Vegetation Response to Climate Variability on Land use Land Cover Changes using In-Situ and Satellite Imagery Observation Data for Semi-Arid Maasai Mara National Reserve Rangeland Ecosystem, Kenya
    (Journal of Engineering Research and Reports, 2021-11-15) Kapkwang, Charles; Onyando, Japheth; Kundu, Peter; Hoedjes, Joost
    Monitoring vegetation response through enhanced change detection by remote sensing and geographical information systems has tremendously improved real time information on surface features. Over the last few decades biomass monitoring at large scale has been made possible from information and metrics derived from satellite sensors. Maasai Mara National Reserve has been utilized in many decades as Kenyan natural grassland for wildlife grazing without periodic assessment of biomass production as affected by impact of climate variability yet it’s a tourism hub and one Kenyan economic contributor. This research evaluates the use of high spatial resolution satellite imagery such as the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectro-radiometer or the Project for On-Board Autonomy–Vegetation and latest SENTINEL-2 for deriving the Normalized Difference Vegetation Index values in relations to in-situ measurements of biomass production between 2009 and 2019 in Mara, Kenya. Area frame sampling of biomass per unit area in Kgha-1clipped from 50cm by 50cm quadrats were used in destructive sampling. The reserve grassland area coverage was estimated to be 717.203km2 (46.75%) where the in-situ total above ground grass biomass projected in dry season was 35.094 tonha-1. This was approximated as 2,516,952.208 tonnes per the season reserve cover while in wet season, 42.123 tonha-1 was approximated as 3,021,074.197 tonnes. The error matrices developed to assess the accuracies of the ecosystem classification indicated values that ranged between 80-100% and 87.5-100% for producer’s and user’s accuracy respectively. 3 out of 7 satellite imagery maps (2017, 2018, and 2019) were assessed for accuracy using reference data collected during fieldwork in 2018 and 2019 in ecosystem. The overall accuracy was 95.22% with Kappa index of 0.94 for 14 land cover classes shown in table 7. From the findings, potential factors influencing vegetation growth in different climatic regions are varied and complex. It can be noted that climate variability influence vegetation response in spatial scale to supply sustainable quality vegetation/pasture for wildlife feeds and ecosystem development. Vegetation mapping and monitoring of ecosystem behavior help stakeholders with information of vegetation characteristics Decision policy formulation and wildlife planning.