HABITAT – Harnessing Pasture Biodiversity and Productivity

Delivery partner: Bangor University

Project summary: The highlands of Kenya comprise some of the most biodiverse regions of the world. However, these regions are under significant threat to land degradation as a result of human-induced climate change, land-use change, and the unsustainable use of the natural resources. Smallholder extensive dairy farms that rely on pastures to feed their cattle play an especially important role in these ecosystems. While these vulnerable farmers rely inextricably on the ecosystem services of the natural resources, often their management practices contribute significantly to their degradation. As identified by local stakeholders, while some research exists dedicated to understanding pasture management practices in these systems and greenhouse gas emissions, little is known about the trade-offs and synergies with biodiversity, and productivity.

By adopting a multidisciplinary approach, the project will explore existing pasture management practices, identifying ones that lead to enhanced biodiversity indicators and improved productivity, thereby decreasing GHG emission intensities, tackling poverty and enhancing climate resilience. Project partners will work with the farmers in their communities to stimulate farmer to farmer dissemination and scaling of improved practices. This will be facilitated by analyses of the potential bottlenecks and opportunities for different farming household types to use improved pasture management practices. More nuanced recommendations for stakeholders and policy makers resulting from these processes will further enable the scaling of these practices to similar contexts in the African region.