An Inventory of the Environmental and Socio-Cultural Aspects of the Kibokokibwezi

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Kenya Agricultural Research Laboratories
The target semi-arid environment in South-Eastern Kenya districts of Makueni and Kajiado for the Desert Margins Programme (DMP) is composed of a host of similar representative socio-economic and biophysical conditions of the arid and semi arid areas that has not been characterised. The human population in such areas is on the increase making the area unsuitable for human, wildlife and natural resource management (i.e. soils, water and forest resources) through uncontrolled exploitation for agriculture (crop and animal) and to some extent urbanisation. A participatory characterisation by relevant stakeholders (i.e. KARl, KEFRI, KMD, KWS. MOA&I, MOWD, NMK, DRSS and NEMA) was carried out to provide a synergetic guidance towards sustainable utilisation of this environment. It was observed that the area largely lies in the medium to low potential zones (i.e. Upper-Midland agro-ecological zones 4 to 7 and Lower Midland agro-ecological zone s 4 to 7), has low fertility with flows of major nutrients (i.e. N, P and K) being zero or negative (i.e. 0, 0 and -18 kglha) although in pastoral areas of Kajiado (e.g. Enkorika), K is in relatively high supply (i.e. 175% above critical levels). Soils are also highly susceptible to severe wind and water erosion during flush floods and surface sealing. The natural vegetation consisting of associations of Acacia spp. and other wooded bush land is under constant decline due to deforestation for firewood and building materials as demand for agricultural land also increases. Water resources are scarce and seasonal in occurrence, but scarcity also arises from combined domestic, urban and irrigational use often leading decline in water quality and quantity.