AN ASSESSMENT OF CLIMATE CHANGE COPING STRATEGIES THAT INFLUENCE VEGETATION DISTRIBUTION WITHIN COMMUNITIES IN KALOLENI SUB-COUNTY, KENYA

ABSTRACT
Climate change coping strategies play a major role in curbing the effects of climatic shocks especially amongst communities living in Arid and Semi-Arid Lands (ASALS. The study revealed that there are various coping mechanisms applied by smallholder farmers in Kaloleni Sub County. These include marrying off daughters in order to get money for food purchase, stealing food from farm, water vending getting women to work outside home against traditions among others. Preferred coping methods include; use of waste water, livestock sales, wood and charcoal trade. In order to cope with change in biodiversity, use of old mosquito nets to protect free ranged chicken from the emergent black Indian crow was used and commercial tree planting adopted. To cope with rainfall variability, use of zai pits, fertility pits and water pan establishment is on the increase. Purposive sampling was employed in the selection of community and stakeholder representatives who participated in Focus Group Discussions (FGDs) and In-depth key informants’ interviews. Arc-Gis v 9.1 and Erdas software were used to analyze Landsat Thematic Mapper ™ imageries of Kaya Forests: Kambe, Bomu and Fungo for years 1991, 2003 and 2011. Quantitative and qualitative data were obtained using various methods: descriptive statistics (mean median) inferential statistics (cross tabulations) and correlations. Shifting forward of the start of the rainy season from March to May was the major climatic factor that led to late planting in June. The main coping strategy adopted to curb food insecurity was wood fuel harvesting and charcoal burning for sale. It was recommended that use of alternative source of energy and sale of Aloe and Neem products would be appropriate for livelihood diversification. Food processing plants and food banks to be established within an appropriate buffer zone for accessibility. The research findings herein would help Researchers, small holder farmers, Agriculture and Forest extension providers in decision making with regard to factors influencing the choice of coping strategies on the vagaries of climate change.

CHAPTER ONE
INTRODUCTION
Background Information
There is a general consensus that the African continent is particularly susceptible to the onset of climate change (Boko et al., 2007). FAO (2008b) identified 13 distinct ecosystems (Agro- ecological zones (AEZs) in Africa from which various farming systems exist and which could be affected differently by climate change. The various AEZ’s include; The Desert, High elevation dry savanna, High elevation humid forest, High elevation moist savannah, Lowland dry savannah, Lowland humid forest, Lowland moist savannah, Lowland semi-arid, Lowland sub-humid forest, Mid-elevation dry savannah, Mid-elevation humid forest, Mid- elevation moist savannah and High and Mid- elevation sub-humid forest. Kaloleni Sub County falls within the lowland semi-arid Agro-ecological zone which was further divided into four distinct AEZ’s according to Jaetzold et al., 1983.

Kaloleni Sub-County is situated at latitude 3o 48’ 00’’South of latitude and 39o 36’ 00’’East of longitude on the lower coastal region of Kenya. The Sub-County is endowed with a rich biodiversity of the remnant coastal forests (Burgeon and Clarke, 2000). Latest estimates show that the kayas constitute about 5% of the remaining coastal sub-tropical forests cover of Kenya. The kaya’s degradation has been heightened by human activities over time. High livestock densities outside protected areas reduced grass cover and therefore encouraged growth of woody vegetation (Western, 1994). The kayas also became more and more isolated, as connection between the chains of forests diminished, which is why the Government through the National Museums of Kenya took over its Management. Adaptation varies not only with climatic stimuli but also with other non-climatic conditions also known as intervening conditions which serve to influence the sensitivity of systems and the nature of their adjustments. Therefore for the improvement of any ecosystem, it has to cope to a certain degree by responding to a certain climatic or any other intervening stimuli as noted by Barry and Smit (1993)

Smallholder farmers in Kaloleni Sub-County depend on rain fed agriculture and spend considerable amounts of time and money on controlling East Coast Fever (ECF). Most of the Livestock are left to free range in search for pasture; a factor which exacerbates the spread of disease and pests among different livestock breeds. Although the Sub-County is endowed with a complex river network, little irrigation takes place. Due to high temperatures, evapotranspiration on crops and loss of soil moisture was evident. High temperatures cause hard pans which made it impossible for soil water retention. Where communities were highly dependent on agriculture, drought affects food security and their economic performance hence acting as an impediment to achieve MDG Goal one (eradication of extreme poverty and hunger).

In Kaloleni Sub County, smallholder farmers suffer from the effect of pest infestation and hence are compelled to shift their planting dates, crop variety and farm management strategies; in the process, low yields are realized. Priority maize farming targeted 5000 hectares with an anticipated harvest of 15 bags per hectare. Yields are low because of minimal fertilizer use. With the current short rains in the district, production has gone down to 2 bags per hectare. Smallholder farmers suffer from great losses, as erratic rainfall affects vegetation distribution, causing massive soil erosion across the four agro ecological zones within the County. According to Sub County 2008-2010 Strategic Plan, Poverty index is 72% and manifested by the inability of the population to access their basic needs especially due to challenges posed by changing climatic conditions. This has forced the communities to find ways to adapt to these weather changes. Adaptation to Climate change and variability is increasingly being considered as a significant challenge and recognized in National and International policy debate on climate change (Smit, 1993; Tol et al., 1997). The ultimate objective of the UNFCCC as expressed in Article 2 is to stabilize the greenhouse concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference within the climate systems. With the application of indigenous coping strategies, required GHGs levels would be achieved within a time frame sufficient to allow ecosystems to adapt naturally to climate change; thus ensuring that food productivity is not threatened. There is an opportunity for improvement of the people’s livelihood and their environment depending on the type of indigenous coping strategies used by smallholder farmers in Kaloleni Sub-County.

Statement of the Problem
There is little information existing on the coping strategies used by Kaloleni smallholder farmers against food insecurity, land degradation, biodiversity loss, forest degradation, rainfall variability, and crop /livestock production. There was an indication of a direct link between climate change and development, where the impacts of climate change could largely impede development efforts in key sectors while at the same time development strategies and plans had a negative impact on coping capacity to climate change. It was imperative to assess all the coping strategies and based on the findings; select the most suitable that could be used by farmers across the four agro-ecological zones relating them to vegetation change detection maps and rainfall variability over years 1991, 2003, and 2011.

Objectives of the Study
General Objective
To evaluate coping strategies to changes in climate used by small holder farmers, that affects vegetation distribution in Kaloleni Sub County, Kenya.

Specific Objectives
1. To identify the coping strategies applied during food insecurity in Kaloleni Sub County.

2. To assess the effect of coping strategies on climate changes to livestock and crop production systems in Kaloleni Sub County.

3. To examine and document coping strategies on forest biodiversity loss in Kaloleni Sub County.

4. To identify and document coping strategies and their impact on rainfall variability and land degradation in Kaloleni Sub County.

5. To compare Kaloleni smallholder farmers’ coping strategies that effect vegetation distribution, using Land Cover maps of 1991, 2003 and 2011.

Research Questions
1. What are the coping strategies employed during food insecurity in Kaloleni Sub-County?

2. What are the coping strategies on livestock and crop production systems in Kaloleni Sub-County?

3. What are the coping strategies that affect Forest biodiversity in Kaloleni Sub-County?

4. What are the coping strategies that affect rainfall variability and Land degradation in Kaloleni Sub-County?

5. What are the coping strategies used by small holder farmers thus affecting vegetation distribution with reference to land cover maps in the range of years 1991, 2003 and 2011?

Justification
Analyses in Africa under the Assessment of Impacts and Adaptations to Climate Change (AIACC) project (Ludvine et al., 2003-2007) showed that marginalized populations which were dependent on natural resources were particularly vulnerable to climate change impacts, especially when their natural resource base was being severely degraded by overuse. Forest biodiversity continued to be under pressure from the study area that neighbors conservation units. According to studies by Eriksen and Kelly, (2007) indicators selected in studies of vulnerability often provided insight on the factors, processes and structures that determined adaptive capacity.

In recent times, small holder farmers in Kaloleni Sub-County have applied climate change coping strategies to cushion them against the effect of climate extremes; however, the situation worsened as they continued to suffer from the effects of severe drought, water scarcity, rainfall variability, floods, strong winds and pest infestations. Food insecurity was thus evident in Kaloleni Sub-County, as farmers used different means to cope. According to MOA (2008), several studies had established a direct relationship between drought and animal death; therefore, livestock production in Kaloleni Sub County had also been equally affected due to inadequate forage, leading them with no other alternative but to sell their livestock. It is therefore important that studies be carried out to find out the type of indigenous climate change coping strategies used by smallholder farmers across the four agro-ecological zones in Kaloleni Sub-County. This study eventually discerned the most suitable coping strategies that were used by small holder farmers per agro-ecological zone. The final document is expected to be used by managers from relevant and related fields in influencing policies related to climate change adaptation and coping strategies that may be formulated.

Scope of the Study
The study area encompassed the four Agro-ecological Zones in the Lower Coastal Area within Kaloleni Sub-County. Forests mapped were Kambe (CL3) Jibana (CL4) and Fungo (CL5).These forests were gazetted as National Monuments and are managed by Kenya National Museums. The study assessed the indigenous climate change coping strategies and their effect on vegetation distribution around conservation areas. Coping strategies were identified and evaluated to gauge their impact on a wide range of vegetation which led to food insecurity within the County. The study examined factors on socio-economic, institutional, land use, climate and biodiversity which acted as an impediment to the achievement of the anticipated positive goals by smallholder farmers in Kaloleni Sub- County. In particular the author was interested in the most suitable coping strategies used by smallholder farmers per every agro-ecological zone, so as to effectively cope with the emerging climatic extremes.

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Item Type: Kenyan Material  |  Attribute: 102 pages  |  Chapters: 1-5
Format: MS Word  |  Price: KSh900  |  Delivery: Within 30Mins.
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