TRENDS IN THE USE AND APPLICATION OF INDIGENOUS KNOWLEDGE: IMPLICATIONS ON NATURAL RESOURCE MANAGEMENT AMONG NANDI PEOPLE OF, KENYA
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University of Eldoret
Indigenous Knowledge (IK) has been widely reported by researchers and natural resource managers as a valuable contributor to natural resource management (NRM) and biodiversity conservation. The influences of modernity throughout Africa and the developing world have seriously contributed to the negation of traditional indigenous knowledge in ongoing efforts to ensure sustainable management of natural resources. This study sought to investigate the changing trends in use and application of IK in NRM; establish environmental implications of changes in use and application of indigenous natural resource management; and determine interrelationships between the Nandi indigenous natural resource strategies and modern natural resource strategies. The study adopted a case study design. The target population were all officers in charge of environmental management in the county, traditional specialists and household heads. A total of 385 household heads, 13 traditional specialist and 10 Nandi County natural resource management officers were selected through systematic, snowball and purposive sampling methods respectively. Quantitative data was collected using questionnaires while qualitative data was collected through key informant interviews and focus group discussions. Quantitative data was subjected to both descriptive and inferential analysis. Descriptive data were analyzed using frequencies, percentages, and means. For inferential statistics, chi square was computed to test relationships between study variables while qualitative data was analyzed thematically. The study established significant changes in the use and application of IK in NRM- specifically in Land use, water resources, forest cover and wildlife management. Modern approaches in NRM had taken precedence over traditional ecological knowledge as a result of this trend; Nandi County had experienced significant negative environmental effects ranging from shrinking of water bodies and vegetation cover to extinction of key endemic species particularly in Nandi forest. The study established that IK and modern NRM should be complimentary rather than contradictory. These findings suggest the need to encourage community-based NRM at grass root levels, and incorporation of rural participatory NRM strategies to ensure sustainable environmental management in the County. This will enhance the integration of indigenous knowledge in modern natural resource management strategies.