KLEE: a long-term multi-species hervivore exclusion experiment in Laikipia, Kenya

  • TP Young Department of Environmental Horticulture, University of California, Davis, CA 95616, U.S.A.; Mpala Research Centre, P.O. Box 555, Nanyuki, Kenya; Ecology Graduate Group, University of California, Davis, CA, United States of America
  • BD Okello Mpala Research Centre, P.O. Box 555, Nanyuki, Kenya; Department of Range and Forage Resources, University of Natal, Private Bag X01, Scottsville, 3209 South Africa
  • D Kinyua Mpala Research Centre, P.O. Box 555, Nanyuki, Kenya; Ecology Graduate Group, University of California, Davis, CA, United States of America
  • TM Palmer Mpala Research Centre, P.O. Box 555, Nanyuki, Kenya; Ecology Graduate Group, University of California, Davis, CA, United States of America; Ecology Graduate Group, University of California, Davis, CA, United States of America
Keywords: botany, cattle, exclosures, exclusion experiment, fencing, Kenya, Kenya Long-term Exclosure Experiment, Laikipia district, livestock, megaherbivore, Mpala Research Centre

Abstract

Livestock and wildlife share much of their respective ranges throughout the semi-arid ecosystems of the world. As the profitability of livestock becomes more marginal and wildlife values increase, there is a need to understand the interactions between livestock and wild large mammalian herbivores (and other indigenous biodiversity). To address this, we have established a long-term multi-species herbivore exclusion experiment in the Laikipia ecosystem in Kenya. Using a series of semi-permeable barriers, we are differentially excluding various combinations of cattle, large wild mammalian herbivores, and mega-herbivores (giraffes and elephants) from a series of replicated four-hectare plots. We are monitoring soil, plant, and animal responses to these treatment characteristics. This multi-disciplinary project is one of the first to include controlled, replicated exclusion of combinations ofmultiple guilds of rangeland herbivores in the same place at the same time. We report here (1) the first quantitative vegetative vegetation analysis of this important grazing ecosystem; (2) details of the experimental design; (3) evidence of the effectiveness of the herbivore exclosures; and (4) a summary of some preliminary results.

Keywords: Africa; cattle; fencing; livestock; mega-herbivore

Arfican Journal of Range and Forage Science 14(3): 94–102
Published
2007-07-03
Section
Articles

Journal Identifiers


eISSN: 1727-9380
print ISSN: 1022-0119