POTENTIALS OF LAND USE PLANNING IN RESOLVING LAND USE CONFLICTS AROUND PROTECTED AREAS IN KENYA –THE CASE OF NAIROBI NATIONAL PARK

Date

2019

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University of Eldoret

Abstract

Although land cover and land use changes are important processes that affect the ecological integrity of conservation areas, there are still gaps on how their planning is implemented so as to address the endless land-use conflicts that bedevil them. The purpose of this study therefore was to assess the potentials of land use planning in resolving land use conflicts around Nairobi National Park (NNP). Specifically, the study sought to (i) document different land use conflicts around NNP, (ii) assess trends of land use and land cover changes in the areas around NNP, (iii) examine the relationship between land use conflicts and land use/land cover changes around NNP and (iv) assess the impact of land use control systems on land use conflicts around NNP. A mixed method research approach involving use of qualitative and quantitative techniques was adopted. Through analysis of conflict maps of 2008 to 2016 and a household survey of 334 households, information on land use conflicts was elicited. Sets of Landsat images on land cover/land use for the period 1984 to 2016 were utilized to understand the spatial temporal dynamics of land cover/land use changes in the areas adjacent to the NNP. Analysis of land cover/land use and conflict maps was done using ERDAS IMAGINE 2015. Key informant interviews were utilized to acquire data on land use control systems which included land use conversions and land sub-divisions. Analysis of data acquired through survey and interviews was done with the assistance of IBM Statistical Package for Social Scientists. From the results, the main type of conflicts were the human-wildlife conflicts emanating from human activities being carried out in areas adjacent to the park which ultimately interfered with the park`s ecosystem. These activities were mainly residential and commercial uses of land. Most areas that experienced conflicts were found to be the areas south of the park, comprising the larger Olekajuado Trust Lands and in areas which fall under the wildlife dispersal areas. It was also observed that the rates of land use conflicts occurrences were higher during the rainy season. Moreover, findings revealed a cause-effect relationship between land use change and land use conflicts. There was significant reduction of agricultural lands with an increase in commercial and residential areas in the rangelands and into the buffer zone of the park both in Machakos and Kajiado Counties in the years 2012- 2014. During this time, conflicts around the park were on the rise too. Furthermore, proposed land use planning policies were not readilyimplemented and hence their inability to address challenges around protected areas. Thestudy concluded that while conflicts were as a result of human interference with areas around protected areas, land use and land cover changes and inadequate land use policies on the other hand, acted as catalysts and could be mitigated through planning and enforcement of the plans. The study recommends the adoption and integration of active and adaptive management to help protected area managers and policy makers reconcile environmental challenges.

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