Keeping the wildlife in Amboseli
Amboseli National Park is one of the most famous wildlife parks in the world. Unfortunately, the park and surrounding areas are severely effected by extreme droughts of several years.
Until now we have succesfully re-greened 800 hectares of grass- and woodland in and around Amboseli National Park, together with our local implementation partner the Amboseli Ecosystem Trust (AET) and Maasai communities.
We use a combination of ancient and new techniques focusing on grazing management and rain water harvesting. The traditional Maasai Olopololi plots have enabled badly degraded lands to recover from extensive grazing and temporary elephant exclosures allow deforested areas to become woodland again, at a surprisingly fast rate!
Justdiggit strongly feels that the key to success of our projects is mobilization and ownership by local communities. That’s why we are proud to see that our projects have inspired neighboring Maasai groups to follow the good examples on their own initiative. This resulted in multiple new Olopololi plots already! Another important result is knowledge sharing between this project and the projects in Kuku, Kenya. With little help, the Maasai community took further initiative, combining a new Olopololi plot with rainwater bunds to speed up the process of vegetation recovery!
But we are not finished yet! Scroll down to read more about our new activities and to see the re-greening results so far.
“The recovery of the fever trees in this plot (Kitirua) is amazing. It is growing so fast and soon we might get back our traditional meat rituals. We can’t wait to realize this sentimental and memorable site that was lost for long!”
- Olopololi grass plots
- Olopololi with bunds
- Woodland exclosures
Olopololi grass plots
Olopololi plots are a traditional Maasai grazing management technique which became out of practice. We re-introduced this system of dry season grazing grounds and combined it with grass seed banks. This enables Maasai women to generate income from the plots by harvesting seeds and grass to produce fodder. The plots have been a great success and a source of inspiration. Other local communities have re-adopted the method and created more Olopololis on their own initiative!
Grazing management committees were appointed by the community to prevent further overgrazing.
Olopololi with bunds
An important result of the Justdiggit projects in Kenya is the adaptation of our techniques, because we believe this is the way forward in upscaling from single project sites to a complete Hydrologic Corridor.
We are thus very proud of the knowledge sharing happening with the project in Kuku. The communities took initiative to share the positive experiences and to adopt the techniques within their own new project. With little help of Justdiggit, this resulted in a new Olopololi plot combined with the Kuku rainwater bunds, to speed up the process of vegetation recovery within the plot! Check also the photo slider below with before and after photos of the combination plot.
We’ve developed three temporary woodland exclosures to protect deforested areas from elephants. This methodology is a proven success by Dr. David Western. It enables fast recovery of previously almost barren areas into woodland. This is of major importance to the local climate and biodiversity in the park, since it cools down the area and provides shade, food and cover for birds, insects and animals.
The photo slider below shows the almost unbelievable before and after, with only 2.5 years of exclosure in between!
At the end of 2017, together with the African Conservation Centre (ACC) and the Amboseli Ecosystem Trust (AET), we started with the development of new exclosures within the Amboseli Nation Park. Different areas, among which a forested area at Oltukai, will be fenced and protected thereby allowing trees to grow back.
Another new activity is the creation of an Olopololi grass land plot of 1,000 acres in the Imbirikani Group Ranch, which will be maintained by local households who understand the importance and function of the plots.
Additionally, water bunds will be created in this Olopololi plot, to retain water, prevent erosion and flooding and allowing vegetation to return quickly.