Bush Clearing Experiments in the South Nyanza District of Kenya

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In the Lambwe Valley in South Nyanza there is found a type of dense evergreen thicket which is difficult and expensive to remove. It occurs in large compact masses which occupy only some 7 per cent of the total area, so that its presence does not in itself constitute a serious waste of land. It is, however, a habitat of the tsetse flies Glossina pallidipes Austen and G. brevipalpis Newstead.G. pallidipes occurs in extremely large numbers, and, ranging out from its permanent habitat, makes it impossible to keep unprotected cattle in the valley. It would probably be possible to keep cattle under the protection of modern drugs, but such a system would introduce a serious medical risk, as G. pallidipesis, in Central Nyanza, the vector of Rhodesian sleeping sickness. This risk would be of indefinite duration, as the mere presence of people in the grasslands would not destroy the large thickets or remove G. pallidipes from them. The elimination of G. pallidipes, therefore, if not essential, is certainly a very desirable condition of occupying the valley. This elimination might perhaps be achieved by means of insecticides. This course has the disadvantage that, as the habitat is unchanged, there is always a risk of infestation. Another disadvantage is that the bush is the habitat of such vermin as bush-pig, which are always troublesome when near cultivation. The bush has little positive value. It is a source of building poles and of firewood, but if it were removed these could be obtained from individual plantations of such exotics as Eucalyptus, which are commonly grown in the district. In short, if it could be done economically, removal of the bush would be a good way to make cattle and men safe from trypanosomiasis
East African Agricultural And Forestry Journal, XXV (No 1), p. 31-34