East Africa Region
The LUCID team's field research and data analysis in all the sites was conducted within a common conceptual and methodological framework to permit the comparison of research results across sites. The result has been the development of generalizations-of common processes and trends that have occurred across the region-and identification of the impact of particular circumstances that have led to variations between sites.
The results of the East Africa cross-site and regional analyses are presented in several papers. The two main papers include one land use change patterns and root causes (# 47), and the other on the linkages between these land use changes, with changes in biodiversity and land degradation (# 42). In addition, land use change root causes are compared across the boundary near Mt. Kilimanjaro (# 44), and changes across ecological gradients in the region are analysed (# 45).
The team also produced conceptual and methodological frameworks, or guides, to conduct this type of research. The two comprehensive works include one on how to identify trends and linkages between changes in land use, biodiversity and land degradation (# 43), and another on how to identify the root causes of land use change leading to land degradation and changing biodiversity (# 48). Several other guides focusing on field research or specific methods are listed on the methodology page.
Regional Working Papers
WORKING PAPER 42:
WORKING PAPER 43:
WORKING PAPER 44:
WORKING PAPER 45:
Working Paper 46:
WORKING PAPER 47:
WORKING PAPER 48:
SUMMARY OF RESEARCH RESULTS
The overriding finding of the LUCID land use changes analyses is how rapidly farming and agro-pastoral systems have changed. Small-scale farmers and pastoralists have changed their entire system several times since the 1950's. New land uses have been developed, and existing land uses have been transformed. In sum, the most significant land use changes have been:
These changes have allowed many more people to live on the land as farmers and agro-pastoralists, and the systems have shown flexibility and adaptability in face of changing international and national economic and political structures. Diversification, towards a mixture of crops and livestock, cash and food crops, and farm and non-farm income, has been a critical means for households to reduce their risk in face of these changes. Despite the rapid evolution of systems responding to these forces, rural poverty is common and key environmental resources are becoming increasingly scarce, contested and/ or degraded. The LUCID team found that poverty, poor land management and land degradation are much more common and persistent in marginal environments, especially, the remote, semi-arid zones.
In general, as native vegetation is lost, indigenous plant and animal biodiversity, and plant cover are lost. Many indigenous species, products of long-term evolution of these ecosystems, do not tolerate heavy land use by farmers, grazers and settlers. Indigenous plant species decline and exotic, common species increase.
Pastoralism maintains native plant and animal species more effectively than crop cultivation. Pastures with moderate grazing support more plant species than un-grazed pastures. As croplands expand, soil fertility and moisture drops and soils erode more easily. As farming and settlement expands, less water is available for people, livestock, and wildlife. Irrigation for crops pollutes water sources. Farmers who grow many crops conserve native plant species better than those who grow only one crop. Some farmers cope with land degradation by increasing crop diversity.
Moderate farming in less forested areas is found to increase tree cover thus increasing the diversity of bird species. Farming in grassland, woodlands and bushland areas where there are fewer trees, increases the diversity of habitats due to introduction of agro-ecosystems that attract new species of birds. However, if the farming is intensified and the diversity of habitats is reduced the diversity of birds is also reduced.
|contact LUCID : Copyright 2003 © ILRI|