Seasonal Distribution of Livestock in Samburu County, Northern Kenya: A Response to Variable Pasture and Water in Semi-Arid Rangelands

Published on : 6th July 2023

Journal: Africa Journal of Range and Forage Science


GL Lelenguyah, MM Nyangito, OV Wasonga & RC Bett


Spatial and temporal climate variability dictate herd mobility of transhumant communities, and therefore understanding this interrelationship is key to sustainable management of rangelands, especially in the face of the changing climate. This study was undertaken in Samburu county in Kenya, an area characterised by varying climatic conditions, land uses and agro-ecological zones, to determine the interrelationship between rainfall and temperature variability and the mobility of herds. To achieve the research objectives, 20 years of data for temperature, rainfall, normalised difference vegetation index (NDVI) and georeferenced data (GIS) together with field data obtained through household interviews and community participatory mapping were utilised. Only Samburu Central is endowed with good rainfall and the pastoralists graze their animals around their homes all year round. Rarely does livestock in Samburu East graze around homesteads due to low rainfall and degraded pastures. The spatial distribution patterns of the herds followed pasture availability as shown by vegetation NDVI patterns. Areas with higher NDVI of over 0.3 attracted herd concentration but with high in situ mobility to maximise on grazing of the most nutritious pastures. This study proposes grazing management embedded in observed herd mobility and grazing resource use patterns as a strategy towards adapting the pastoral communities to the changing climate.