Technologies

Dedha grazing system as a natural resource management technology [Kenya]

Jars Dedha

technologies_3403 - Kenya

Completeness: 82%

1. General information

1.2 Contact details of resource persons and institutions involved in the assessment and documentation of the Technology

Key resource person(s)

SLM specialist:
Name of project which facilitated the documentation/ evaluation of the Technology (if relevant)
Strengthening Adaptation and Resilience to Climate Change in Kenya Plus (StARCK+)
Name of the institution(s) which facilitated the documentation/ evaluation of the Technology (if relevant)
Resource Advocacy Programme (RAP) - Kenya

1.3 Conditions regarding the use of data documented through WOCAT

The compiler and key resource person(s) accept the conditions regarding the use of data documented through WOCAT:

Yes

1.4 Declaration on sustainability of the described Technology

Is the Technology described here problematic with regard to land degradation, so that it cannot be declared a sustainable land management technology?

No

Comments:

The technology is a sustainable land management practice that had been used for time immemorial by Boran pastoralists to manage land and land-based resources.

2. Description of the SLM Technology

2.1 Short description of the Technology

Definition of the Technology:

The Dedha grazing system is an ancient, traditional governance system for land and its resources practiced by Boran pastoralists. It carefully balances how pastoralists use rangeland resources. The basis of the technology is three grazing rangeland governance zones: wet season grazing, dry season grazing, and drought reserves. There is also water governance based on a traditional hierarchy of rights. Through this system, Boran pastoralists adapt to severe and recurrent droughts.

2.2 Detailed description of the Technology

Description:

This grazing system is applied in Isiolo County, Northern Kenya. The Waso rangelands are inhabited by Boran pastoralists with Somali, Samburu, Rendille and Turkana herders sharing cross-border resources through negotiation. The technology is based on the maintenance of a delicate balance between livestock numbers, the supply of water, and the amount/ quality of standing pasture within the vast grazing area which is water scarce and prone to extreme seasonal variations. Through its main tenet of governing grazing patterns (wet, dry season grazing area and drought reserve) planned use of pasture is decided in large pastoralists’ assemblies attended by elders from a particular “Dedha” (a grazing area, which administratively can be as big as two wards). This process is complicated by dry seasons and droughts of unknown length, with pressure from the community to open grazing reserves. Wrong decisions can spell the end of livelihoods for some families. An ability, which has been gradually eroded over time and by external factors which don’t understand its enormous benefit but there is a project which is using an integrated approach to revive and empower this system.
The Jars a Dedha use water points to manage grazing. Different types of water sources need specific forms of management. The most intensive management occurs during droughts at deep wells and boreholes which require the most labour to operate and maintain, and are the most reliable sources of water. Due to the strategic importance of these resources, management falls to the Jarsa Dedha (council of elders). The use of shallow wells is tightly controlled by both the aba ella (the person who first dug it) and aba erega (the owner of the rotter ) working together. Aba ella is assigned first rights to water. If there is spare capacity then ‘second rights’ are decided by aba erega. Second rights would typically fall to those of a different clan, while ‘third rights’ might fall to a different ethnic group. The Borana customs and culture defines both access to certain wells but also the order of priority for watering animals.
In addition, in consultation with the Dedha council of elders, aba erega manages the use of dams and access to rivers. Generally, use of flowing river water is restricted to the dry season and access is limited to designated watering points. These are located some distance downriver from settlements to minimize disruption to inhabitants and to reduce contamination. Temporary water sources during and after the rains are not subject to control except when their use conflicts with restrictions on grazing areas. After watering their livestock, pastoralists traditionally fill their troughs for wildlife at night. This is intended to prevent wildlife from falling into wells - and to seek God’s blessings.
The high variability of rainfall in pastoral areas leads to similarly variable pasture availability. Therefore, management of grazing resources needs to balance maximizing productivity while ensuring survival. Long-term viability of the system depends on the maintenance of adaptive traits within local breeds, and both maintaining and managing resources strategically. Only within these broader goals is the concept of ‘maximizing productivity’ meaningful.
Mature livestock (gues) which are not lactating are moved to remote pastures. The gues, which make up the majority of community livestock, are herded by young unmarried men. By utilizing remote pastures, grazing resources closer to permanent water sources can be preserved for the dry season and droughts. Pasture within the vicinity of homesteads (maar qaae – literally ‘near grass’) is protected from grazing by non-lactating livestock (this is similar to kalo but a kalo reserve need not be next to the homestead ). This pasture is set aside for young animals (calves, lambs, and kids). Migrating livestock have predefined routes that maintain distance from maar qaae. The Dedha council of elders, therefore, controls settlement patterns to preserve key migratory routes. Movement of livestock between different Dedhas must be prearranged with the respective Dedha council of elders who assess spare capacity in terms of water and grazing.
The floodplain grazing area (chaafa) is crucial because it acts as a refuge for livestock during extreme drought. Grazing in chaafa is strictly prohibited during the wet season and one of the critical decisions for the Jarsa Dedha is when to open chaafa after rains have failed. Due to the relatively moist conditions in chaafa, there are additional challenges to animal and human health: namely trypanosomiasis, ticks, pneumonia, and malaria. Jarsa Dedha make decisions primarily concerning seasonal movements from wet to dry season grazing and also the opening of boreholes and chaafa. The overwhelming local consensus is that efficient resource use depends on the ability ofJarsa Dedha to enforce these regulations

2.3 Photos of the Technology

2.5 Country/ region/ locations where the Technology has been applied and which are covered by this assessment

Country:

Kenya

Region/ State/ Province:

Isiolo

Further specification of location:

Kinna town, Kinna Ward, isiolo County

Specify the spread of the Technology:
  • evenly spread over an area
If precise area is not known, indicate approximate area covered:
  • > 10,000 km2
Comments:

Kinna Town, Kinna Ward, Garbatulla Sub County, Isiolo County
Isiolo County has area of 25,000Km2 but 80% of the area is used for Nomadic pastoralism.

2.6 Date of implementation

If precise year is not known, indicate approximate date:
  • more than 50 years ago (traditional)

2.7 Introduction of the Technology

Specify how the Technology was introduced:
  • as part of a traditional system (> 50 years)
Comments (type of project, etc.):

It is inherited from generations before.

3. Classification of the SLM Technology

3.1 Main purpose(s) of the Technology

  • reduce, prevent, restore land degradation
  • conserve ecosystem
  • protect a watershed/ downstream areas – in combination with other Technologies
  • preserve/ improve biodiversity
  • reduce risk of disasters
  • adapt to climate change/ extremes and its impacts
  • mitigate climate change and its impacts
  • create beneficial economic impact
  • create beneficial social impact

3.2 Current land use type(s) where the Technology is applied

Grazing land

Grazing land

Extensive grazing:
  • Nomadism
  • Semi-nomadic pastoralism
Intensive grazing/ fodder production:
  • Improved pastures
Animal type:
  • goats
  • camels
  • sheep
  • cattle
Species:

camels

Count:

39100

Species:

goats

Count:

399000

Species:

sheep

Count:

361900

Comments:

Number of growing seasons per year: 2
Grasses and shrubs which nourishes livestock grows during the rainy seasons
Livestock density: Isiolo county is endowed with a substantial livestock resource base that includes 198,500 cattle, 399,000 goats, 361,900 sheep and 39,100 camels

3.4 Water supply

Water supply for the land on which the Technology is applied:
  • rainfed
Comments:

The pastoralists depend on attendant pasture after the rains which are bi-modal in Isiolo County (Long and Short rains).

3.5 SLM group to which the Technology belongs

  • pastoralism and grazing land management

3.6 SLM measures comprising the Technology

management measures

management measures

  • M2: Change of management/ intensity level
  • M3: Layout according to natural and human environment
  • M4: Major change in timing of activities

3.7 Main types of land degradation addressed by the Technology

biological degradation

biological degradation

  • Bc: reduction of vegetation cover
  • Bh: loss of habitats
  • Bf: detrimental effects of fires
  • Bs: quality and species composition/ diversity decline
water degradation

water degradation

  • Ha: aridification
  • Hs: change in quantity of surface water
  • Hp: decline of surface water quality
  • Hw: reduction of the buffering capacity of wetland areas

3.8 Prevention, reduction, or restoration of land degradation

Specify the goal of the Technology with regard to land degradation:
  • prevent land degradation
  • adapt to land degradation

4. Technical specifications, implementation activities, inputs, and costs

4.1 Technical drawing of the Technology

Technical specifications (related to technical drawing):

The technology is implemented in a vast area of rangelands in Isiolo County which covers around 20,000 km2 inhabited by Boran pastoralists under common management of Isiolo Jars Dedha (Council of elders). The rangelands are subdivided into around 14 arthas (localities) which are separately managed by artha elders and within which there are also ollas (homesteads) which the elders oversee. The elders manage key resources that are essential for pastoral livelihood. The resources are; prime pasture/grazing areas, water points e.g. streams, rivers, springs, shallow wells and pans, wildlife, forests, minerals, sand and other valuable stones e.g. gemstones (bojimine) and quarry, Trees and their products e.g. makuti, medicinal herbs, wild, fruits, resins, gum arabic.

Author:

Ibrahim Jarso

Date:

02/05/2017

Author:

Ibrahim Jarso

Date:

06/03/2017

4.2 General information regarding the calculation of inputs and costs

Specify how costs and inputs were calculated:
  • per Technology area
Indicate size and area unit:

20,000km2

Indicate average wage cost of hired labour per day:

2,500 Kenya Shillings

4.3 Establishment activities

Activity Timing (season)
1. Dedha elders meetings All seasons
2. Surveillance of grazing areas Largely after the rains
3. Settling resource based disputes Largely during dry seasons and drought
4. Deciding on when to access reserved pasture lands Dry seasons and drought reserves
5. Negotiations on access to pasture within and across borders Drought and Long dry seasons
Comments:

Regarding Surveillance of grazing areas, they observe pasture conditions and unwarranted access to preserved grazing areas and report on conditions. The surveillance is elevated after the rains as communities are in wet season grazing area depending on sub-surface water from the rains.

4.5 Maintenance/ recurrent activities

Activity Timing/ frequency
1. Meetings All seasons
2. Surveillance of grazing lands After the two rainy seasons

4.7 Most important factors affecting the costs

Describe the most determinate factors affecting the costs:

This is a traditional technology of governing rangelands which was started and done voluntarily by the pastoralists. The costs considered are for subsistence of elders undertaking the meetings and discussions on range governance but the process still goes on even without the financial support as the actors involved do it for their own benefits.

5. Natural and human environment

5.1 Climate

Annual rainfall
  • < 250 mm
  • 251-500 mm
  • 501-750 mm
  • 751-1,000 mm
  • 1,001-1,500 mm
  • 1,501-2,000 mm
  • 2,001-3,000 mm
  • 3,001-4,000 mm
  • > 4,000 mm
Specifications/ comments on rainfall:

The rains are bimodal (Long rains of March-April-May and Short rains of October-November-December). The rains are unpredictable, erratic and not evenly distributed but pastoralists move to take advantage of difference in pasture quality and quantity.

Indicate the name of the reference meteorological station considered:

Garbatulla automatic weather station

Agro-climatic zone
  • semi-arid
  • arid

5% of the area is Semi-arid and 95% is Arid.

5.2 Topography

Slopes on average:
  • flat (0-2%)
  • gentle (3-5%)
  • moderate (6-10%)
  • rolling (11-15%)
  • hilly (16-30%)
  • steep (31-60%)
  • very steep (>60%)
Landforms:
  • plateau/plains
  • ridges
  • mountain slopes
  • hill slopes
  • footslopes
  • valley floors
Altitudinal zone:
  • 0-100 m a.s.l.
  • 101-500 m a.s.l.
  • 501-1,000 m a.s.l.
  • 1,001-1,500 m a.s.l.
  • 1,501-2,000 m a.s.l.
  • 2,001-2,500 m a.s.l.
  • 2,501-3,000 m a.s.l.
  • 3,001-4,000 m a.s.l.
  • > 4,000 m a.s.l.
Indicate if the Technology is specifically applied in:
  • not relevant

5.3 Soils

Soil depth on average:
  • very shallow (0-20 cm)
  • shallow (21-50 cm)
  • moderately deep (51-80 cm)
  • deep (81-120 cm)
  • very deep (> 120 cm)
Soil texture (topsoil):
  • coarse/ light (sandy)
  • medium (loamy, silty)
Soil texture (> 20 cm below surface):
  • coarse/ light (sandy)
  • medium (loamy, silty)
Topsoil organic matter:
  • medium (1-3%)

5.4 Water availability and quality

Ground water table:

> 50 m

Availability of surface water:

medium

Water quality (untreated):

good drinking water

Is water salinity a problem?

Yes

Specify:

Many boreholes dug in the area is saline

Is flooding of the area occurring?

Yes

Regularity:

episodically

Comments and further specifications on water quality and quantity:

The Ewaso Nyiro River floods every rainy seasons

5.5 Biodiversity

Species diversity:
  • medium
Habitat diversity:
  • medium

5.6 Characteristics of land users applying the Technology

Sedentary or nomadic:
  • Semi-nomadic
  • Nomadic
Market orientation of production system:
  • subsistence (self-supply)
Off-farm income:
  • less than 10% of all income
Relative level of wealth:
  • very poor
  • poor
Individuals or groups:
  • individual/ household
  • groups/ community
Level of mechanization:
  • manual work
  • animal traction
Gender:
  • men
Age of land users:
  • youth
  • middle-aged

5.7 Average area of land used by land users applying the Technology

  • < 0.5 ha
  • 0.5-1 ha
  • 1-2 ha
  • 2-5 ha
  • 5-15 ha
  • 15-50 ha
  • 50-100 ha
  • 100-500 ha
  • 500-1,000 ha
  • 1,000-10,000 ha
  • > 10,000 ha
Is this considered small-, medium- or large-scale (referring to local context)?
  • large-scale

5.8 Land ownership, land use rights, and water use rights

Land ownership:
  • communal/ village
Land use rights:
  • communal (organized)
Water use rights:
  • communal (organized)

5.9 Access to services and infrastructure

health:
  • poor
  • moderate
  • good
education:
  • poor
  • moderate
  • good
technical assistance:
  • poor
  • moderate
  • good
employment (e.g. off-farm):
  • poor
  • moderate
  • good
markets:
  • poor
  • moderate
  • good
energy:
  • poor
  • moderate
  • good
roads and transport:
  • poor
  • moderate
  • good
drinking water and sanitation:
  • poor
  • moderate
  • good
financial services:
  • poor
  • moderate
  • good

6. Impacts and concluding statements

6.1 On-site impacts the Technology has shown

Socio-economic impacts

Production

animal production

decreased
increased
Quantity before SLM:

0

Quantity after SLM:

2

Comments/ specify:

The frequent and Severe drought has reduced the number of livestock and created a big group of pastoral dropouts but with improved rangeland management through the revived traditional systems animal production is gradually improving.

land management

hindered
simplified
Quantity before SLM:

0

Quantity after SLM:

2

Water availability and quality

drinking water availability

decreased
increased
Quantity before SLM:

0

Quantity after SLM:

1

water availability for livestock

decreased
increased
Quantity before SLM:

0

Quantity after SLM:

2

Ecological impacts

Water cycle/ runoff

water quantity

decreased
increased
Quantity before SLM:

0

Quantity after SLM:

2

harvesting/ collection of water

reduced
improved
Quantity before SLM:

0

Quantity after SLM:

2

Biodiversity: vegetation, animals

Vegetation cover

decreased
increased
Quantity before SLM:

0

Quantity after SLM:

2

invasive alien species

increased
reduced
Quantity before SLM:

0

Quantity after SLM:

1

habitat diversity

decreased
increased
Quantity before SLM:

0

Quantity after SLM:

2

Climate and disaster risk reduction

drought impacts

increased
decreased
Quantity before SLM:

-2

Quantity after SLM:

2

micro-climate

worsened
improved
Quantity before SLM:

0

Quantity after SLM:

2

6.2 Off-site impacts the Technology has shown

water availability

decreased
increased
Quantity before SLM:

0

Quantity after SLM:

2

Comments/ specify:

The preserved grazing lands regenerate and is less degraded. The improved environment in the preserved areas lead to less erosion and proper recharge of underground water. This was observed in Kinna Village where the Odha Springs improved its flow and also the recharge to Moliti shallow wells were improved with proper grazing management in Kinna.

reliable and stable stream flows in dry season

reduced
increased
Quantity before SLM:

0

Quantity after SLM:

2

6.3 Exposure and sensitivity of the Technology to gradual climate change and climate-related extremes/ disasters (as perceived by land users)

Gradual climate change

Gradual climate change
Season increase or decrease How does the Technology cope with it?
seasonal temperature dry season increase very well
seasonal rainfall dry season decrease very well

Climate-related extremes (disasters)

Climatological disasters
How does the Technology cope with it?
drought very well
land fire well
Hydrological disasters
How does the Technology cope with it?
general (river) flood well
flash flood moderately
Biological disasters
How does the Technology cope with it?
epidemic diseases moderately

Other climate-related consequences

Other climate-related consequences
How does the Technology cope with it?
reduced growing period very well

6.4 Cost-benefit analysis

How do the benefits compare with the establishment costs (from land users’ perspective)?
Short-term returns:

slightly positive

Long-term returns:

positive

How do the benefits compare with the maintenance/ recurrent costs (from land users' perspective)?
Short-term returns:

slightly positive

Long-term returns:

slightly positive

6.5 Adoption of the Technology

  • > 50%
If available, quantify (no. of households and/ or area covered):

80% of Isiolo County (Around 24,500 Households)

Of all those who have adopted the Technology, how many did so spontaneously, i.e. without receiving any material incentives/ payments?
  • 91-100%

6.6 Adaptation

Has the Technology been modified recently to adapt to changing conditions?

Yes

If yes, indicate to which changing conditions it was adapted:
  • climatic change/ extremes
Specify adaptation of the Technology (design, material/ species, etc.):

The grazing patterns were made more flexible and the rules made stricter.

6.7 Strengths/ advantages/ opportunities of the Technology

Strengths/ advantages/ opportunities in the land user’s view
It is the cheapest and easiest way of managing the rangelands for now and for posterity.
It provides room for flexibility of decision making as seasonal variations occur.
Strengths/ advantages/ opportunities in the compiler’s or other key resource person’s view
It is conservative and less costly to implement in the vast rangelands with few incentives.
It is a legitimate system recognized by all pastoralist for management of their rangeland resources.
It can easily be adapted to govern any pastoral rangelands all over the world (Universal).

6.8 Weaknesses/ disadvantages/ risks of the Technology and ways of overcoming them

Weaknesses/ disadvantages/ risks in the land user’s view How can they be overcome?
There is no law protecting it. Government needs to establish a law that recognizes and protects this technology.
Rich pastoralists can forego local rules and corrupt the systems overseeing the grazing plans. Ensuring accountability for decisions made. As few lead elders can be corrupted and their decisions compromised but when the decisions on grazing are largely made in common meetings of all elders, the decisions are normally watertight and cant be influenced negatively.
Weaknesses/ disadvantages/ risks in the compiler’s or other key resource person’s view How can they be overcome?
Cross-border pastoralists are not aware of the Technology and tend to undermine it. Improve awareness of the technology among the cross-border pastoralists that also access Isiolo rangelands.

7. References and links

7.1 Methods/ sources of information

  • field visits, field surveys

2

  • interviews with land users

6

  • compilation from reports and other existing documentation

2

When were the data compiled (in the field)?

17/11/2017

7.3 Links to relevant online information

Title/ description:

Evolving customary institutions by patison and tari

URL:

pubs.iied.org/pdfs/10076IIED.pdf

Title/ description:

Strengthening Customary institutions the case of Isiolo County Northern Kenya by Caroline, Tari and Jarso

URL:

www.celep.info/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/Strengthening-local-institutions.pdf

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