Payments for biodiversity conservation in the Masai Mara: What impacts on pastoral livelihoods?
Payments for biodiversity conservation in the
Masai Mara: What impacts on pastoral
Claire Bedelian, Graduate Fellow, PLE Theme, ILRI
PhD Student, University College London
Introduction New payments for conservation
• People, livestock and wildlife are competing for space in • A fixed monthly payment is made to Maasai
the Masai Mara. landowners who move off their land and leave it
• The Masai Mara has experienced serious declines in undeveloped in terms of settlement and agriculture.
wildlife in the last 20 years (Ogutu et al., 2009). • Livestock grazing is prohibited or limited.
• Few Maasai benefit from conservation incomes • A conservancy is set up for wildlife conservation and
(Homewood et al., 2009). tourism.
• There is increasing privatisation of the rangelands - • Payment is administered through tourism partners who
Koyiaki Group Ranch, adjacent to the Masai Mara have exclusive rights to high-end eco-tourism facilities
National Reserve is now fully subdivided. within the conservancy.
Study area – Masai Mara Case study - The Olare
Set up in 2006, the OOC is a
partnership between 154
Maasai landowners and 4
tourism investors. The OOC
directly borders the Masai
Mara National Reserve and
now provides 20,000 acres of
wildlife only habitat as
settlements and livestock
have been removed. Each
The Masai Mara National
Reserve is situated on the
KSH15,000 per month based
border of Kenya/Tanzania on a 150 acre plot. No
livestock grazing is currently
Map showing new conservancies adjacent
to the Masai Mara National Reserve
Methods Findings...in progress...
• Questionnaire to assess the
contribution of conservation payments
The good... The bad... And the unknown...
to overall household income, and to • Payments can • Tends to benefit • The nature of the
compare member and non-member bring substantial the elite as based partnership between the
households. returns to on (prime) land community and tourism
landowners. ownership. partners.
• Semi-structured interviews to explore
Maasai perception of conservation • Payment system • Constrains • The effect of payments on
payments, and to investigate removes previous livestock grazing wildlife distribution and
conservancy institutional and distributional and and mobility. abundance.
partnership arrangements. corruption issues. • Neighbouring non- • The long term vision as
• Time series mapping of Maasai • Payments members lose out people and livestock are
settlements to investigate changes in discourage the on both payment moved out into increasingly
number and distribution of settlements development and and grazing areas. confined and crowded
in relation to conservancies. onward sale of land. spaces.
To be continued...
The good news is … And the not so good news is …
Payments for biodiversity conservation in rangelands can protect the Payments for biodiversity conservation in rangelands may not be
environment and generate real ﬁnancial incentives for landowners to compatible with other livelihood activities: This research is helping to assess
provide environmental services. the trade-offs for pastoral livelihoods versus biodiversity conservation to aid
in designing effective conservation payments.
Homewood K., Kristjanson, P, and Chevenix Trench, P. 2009. Staying Maasai? Livelihoods, conservation and
development in East African Rangelands, New York, Springer.
Ogutu, J.O., Piepho, H-P, Dublin, H.T., Bhola, N., and Reid, R.S. 2009. Dynamics of Mara –Serengeti ungulates
in relation to land use changes. Journal of Zoology, 278: 1-14