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Integrating local ecological knowledge and management practices of an isolated semi-arid papyrus swamp (Loboi, Kenya) into a wider conservation framework
Terer, T.; Muasya, A.M.; Dahdouh-Guebas, F.; Ndiritu, G.G.; Triest, L. (2012). Integrating local ecological knowledge and management practices of an isolated semi-arid papyrus swamp (Loboi, Kenya) into a wider conservation framework. J. Environ. Manage. 93(1): 71-84. hdl.handle.net/10.1016/j.jenvman.2011.08.005
In: Journal of Environmental Management. Academic Press: London; New York. ISSN 0301-4797, more
Peer reviewed article  

Available in  Authors 
    VLIZ: Open Repository 244389 [ OMA ]

Keyword
    Cyperus papyrus
Author keywords
    Cyperus papyrus; Wetland; Sustainable utilization; Ethnobiology; Great rift valley; Kenya

Authors  Top 
  • Terer, T.
  • Muasya, A.M.
  • Dahdouh-Guebas, F., more
  • Ndiritu, G.G.
  • Triest, L., more

Abstract
    The current study documented local utilization of Cyperus papyrus L. (papyrus), harvesting patterns, threats, and local management practices among the Endorois community living around Loboi swamp (Kenya). Papyrus is a highly productive freshwater macrophyte that is widely utilized throughout tropical Africa. However, increased human population and poverty, has led to over exploitation and conversion of papyrus wetlands to agricultural fields. Nonetheless, users of papyrus hold important local ecological knowledge (LEK) and practices. We show that Endorois practices on papyrus uses are compatible with the management priorities of the swamp and a wider conservation framework using data obtained from three focus group discussions (FGD), interviews of 34 households and 15 key informants. The study revealed that papyrus support local livelihood notably as a source of income (papyrus mats are sold), cattle fodder, roofing materials (shelter), and cooking fuel. The study further revealed important LEK relating to harvesting patterns, recovery after harvesting and traditional management practices. Correlation and principal component analyses showed that experienced old harvesters (EXPERT) avoided harvesting repeatedly at the same location (REVISIT), thereby allowing recovery of papyrus when compared to younger harvesters (r = 0.63, p < 0.01). However, over 70% of harvesters predicted a decrease in papyrus coverage in the future due to the current diversion of water from the swamp, and frequent droughts, despite the instituted traditional management strategies (e.g. rotational harvesting) to curb overharvesting. The study concluded that the documentation of site-scale papyrus users’ profile, LEK, and traditional practices are vital for the conservation and management of Loboi swamp.

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