Mapping accelerating fencing processes in the Greater Mara

This project will investigate the status and forecast of the compartmentalization and fencing process in the 30,000 hectare Mara North Conservancy area. More specifically, it aims to map the magnitude of these ongoing fencing processes, both geographically and in a long-term perspective.

Fencing is a major threat to the freedom of movement of both wildlife and livestock, which in turn jeopardize the future existence of the MME. Therefore quantifying the degree of fencing and developing a monitoring infrastructure of the process is important to the goals of the MMSDI and could be useful for conservation in general.

For this purpose, a digitization of historical satellite pictures from 1976 to 2016 is carried out. The time frame of digitalization is a total four weeks; the subsequent analyses should take 1-2 months. Furthermore, we wish to establish collaborations with ongoing initiatives of compiling fencing data, e.g. as seen from the perspectives of large feline predators (the Mara Lion project headed by Niels Mogensen,) and scholars at the Land Resource Department at the Maasai Mara University.  

Only thereby is it possible to identify phases  of acceleration, how the fencing processes spread as well as make predictions of the possible evolution of this phenomenon.

This mapping project will contribute to initiating a larger project “The collapse of the Land Tenure System” with substantially larger budget and larger number of participating researchers. Moreover, the project will be linked to another ICOA/MMSDI project focusing on the socioeconomic drivers supporting either compartmentalization or communal grazing. The mapping project itself including the elaborated spatial analysis will be written as a report targeted for publication in one of the many scientific journals concerned with eco-socio-sustainable land use.

Project period: 2016

Project manager: Assistant Professor Mette Løvschal, School of Culture and Society - Prehistoric Archaeology

Project partners: 

GIS Coordinator Peder Klith Bøcher, Ecoinformatics & Biodiversity, Department of Bioscience

Assistant professor Lars Bach, Interacting Minds Centre, Department of Culture & Society, ARTS and ICOA

Professor Jens-Christian Svenning, Ecoinformatics & Biodiversity, Department of Bioscience

Irene Amoke, PhD, Program Manager Kenya Wildlife Trust/Maasai Mara Wildlife Conservancies Association

Jeppe Pilgaard, Ecoinformatics & Biodiversity, Department of Bioscience

Dr. Alice Odingo, Department of Geography and Environmental Studies, University of Nairobi

Prof. Aggrey D. M. Thuo (Ph.D, MKIP), Dean School of Tourism and Natural Resource Management Associate professor, Dept of Environmental Studies, Forestry and Agriculture, Maasai Mara University

Project result

This project has resulted in an article published January 2016 in Nature Scientific Reports " Fencing bodes a rapid collapse of the unique Greater Mara ecosystem".