East African pastoral adaptation and vulnerability to climate variability and climate change is assessed, using data from decision-making processes and ecological data of the Maasai of Ngorongoro Conservation Area as an example. The paper uses integrated modeling, linking PHEWS, a household model, to Savanna, an ecosystem model to look at the effects of drought and a series of wet years on the well-being of Maasai pastoralists. Model results suggest that the ecosystem is quite resilient and suggests that the Maasai of the NCA are not very vulnerable to climate variability. However the economic situation in the NCA is precarious and food insecurity is prevalent without drought. The result is that drought has a very negative effect on people.
Keywords: adaptation and vulnerability, modeling
African Journal of Range & Forage Science 2004, 21(3): 183–189