Theme 7: Capacity--Oral Sessions

Description

Although the management of livestock numbers within the bounds of carrying capacity of African rangelands is a way to manage risks, both scientists and practitioners, caution against a momentary and local use of carrying capacity as a management indicator. Carrying capacity should be seen in wider spatial and temporal/seasonal context as well as in a social and economic context. Given the large numbers of conservancies across Kenya, and its Maasai Mara region in particular, with many more landowner members, it is difficult for conservancies’ managers to contextualize phenomena such as carrying capacity and market price over space and time.

We report the results of an investigation in the Maasai Mara rangelands, into functional characteristics a tool for spatial-temporal carrying capacity assessment and livestock markets prices monitoring should have to provide relevant management information to conservancy managers and conservancy members. A scalable web-application called the Mara Rangeland Information System, or MARIS, was developed, which assesses, at 23 meter resolution and 10 day historic or 1-day near-future intervals, both grassland dry matter production, and consumption by 19 wildlife and livestock species, as well as rangeland carrying capacity. MARIS facilitates managers to develop scenarios by varying input variables of either grass production or consumption, or by drawing different management blocks on a carrying capacity map assessing different management practices under scenarios of rainfall. Managers can relate the carrying capacity scenarios to offtake prices at different markets that MARIS monitors over time.

After testing MARIS in 6 workshop iterations across the whole development process, Maasai Mara rangeland managers concluded that the prototype is ready for pilot use in management plan development.

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MARIS: Scalable Online Scenario Development Tool for Rangeland Conservancy Managers Using High Spatial-Temporal Resolution Carrying Capacity Maps and Livestock Market Data

Although the management of livestock numbers within the bounds of carrying capacity of African rangelands is a way to manage risks, both scientists and practitioners, caution against a momentary and local use of carrying capacity as a management indicator. Carrying capacity should be seen in wider spatial and temporal/seasonal context as well as in a social and economic context. Given the large numbers of conservancies across Kenya, and its Maasai Mara region in particular, with many more landowner members, it is difficult for conservancies’ managers to contextualize phenomena such as carrying capacity and market price over space and time.

We report the results of an investigation in the Maasai Mara rangelands, into functional characteristics a tool for spatial-temporal carrying capacity assessment and livestock markets prices monitoring should have to provide relevant management information to conservancy managers and conservancy members. A scalable web-application called the Mara Rangeland Information System, or MARIS, was developed, which assesses, at 23 meter resolution and 10 day historic or 1-day near-future intervals, both grassland dry matter production, and consumption by 19 wildlife and livestock species, as well as rangeland carrying capacity. MARIS facilitates managers to develop scenarios by varying input variables of either grass production or consumption, or by drawing different management blocks on a carrying capacity map assessing different management practices under scenarios of rainfall. Managers can relate the carrying capacity scenarios to offtake prices at different markets that MARIS monitors over time.

After testing MARIS in 6 workshop iterations across the whole development process, Maasai Mara rangeland managers concluded that the prototype is ready for pilot use in management plan development.