Continuity & change among Maasai herders in Kenya

In the article Continuity and change within the social-ecological and political landscape of the Maasai Mara, Kenya (published in Pastoralism, 2016), the lens of continuity and change in applied to understand how Maasai herders interpret environmental change. It explores traditional rangeland indicators used by the herders and highlights some forces of change that constrain them from applying their local knowledge of rangeland health. Findings of the fieldwork suggest that continuity exists in many of the traditional methods of observing land and livestock, but various obstructions are surfacing in a political landscape in which local knowledge holders are not always able to put their knowledge and observations into practice. These obstructions of knowledge, practices and skills occurred through three broad forces involving acculturation, prohibition and applicability. These forces illustrate the unbalanced nature of overlap between heterogeneous users, conflicting interests and power differentials. It is concluded that, in order to facilitate continued growth of local knowledge, managers of natural resources and protected areas must recognise local knowledge holders and regard it as more than only anecdotal. By encouraging co-production and hybridisation of knowledge, resource management decision-making can be broadened to include the pastoralists.

Posted on 31 January 2016 in Pastoralism & Natural Resources