Innovation in managing natural & social capital in Kenyan group ranches
The paper “Tracing innovation pathways in the management of natural and social capital on Laikipia Maasai Group Ranches, Kenya”, published in Pastoralism: Research, Policy and Practice (2016: 6:16), looks at changes in resource management since group ranches (GRs) were established in Kenya starting in the 1960s. A case study of a GR in Laikipia County examines reasons for and impacts of these changes. It reveals that innovations in natural resource management driven by households or communities included trading of grazing rights, expansion of land enclosures, adoption of ‘new’ livestock species and/or breeds and crop cultivation. Household-driven innovations were influenced by wealth status, age and level of education. Economic returns and, to some extent, the greater good influenced community-driven initiatives. Formal groupings such as self-help groups and business associations are replacing traditional social networks based on clans and age sets. Innovations that fragmented natural and social capital tended to limit socio-ecological resilience. Interventions must factor in the possibility of transformation and/or emergence of new innovations beyond what was initially planned. Supportive policies that recognise the increasing complexity of using common property are needed to address emerging land-use changes, nurturing the promising innovations and stopping those detrimental to the sustainability of the local socio-ecological systems.