Biodiversity, Ecosystem services, Social sustainability and Tipping points in African drylands

Lead Research Organisation: University College London
Department Name: Anthropology

Abstract

BEST addresses the research issue that African drylands are fast approaching a tipping point of range enclosure, with associated loss of wild and domestic grazer mobility, and attendant loss of ecosystem services and of poor people's livelihoods. The shift to an enclosed (or conversely back to an open) state is driven by the interplay of changing policies on land tenure and natural resource management. The effects of these policies, which are integrated at the level of household tradeoff decisions and subsequent land use choices, are expressed in environmental and social sustainability implications. BEST asks the research question: How do different policy and economic drivers shape household decisions on land use choices, and with what ecosystem services and poverty implications? BEST's objectives are therefore: (1) to develop a conceptually innovative approach focusing on the intersection of changing land tenure and NRM policies and their impact on tipping drylands from open, resilient rangelands with mobile domestic and wild animals and often cash-poor but relatively secure and resilient pastoral livelihoods, into a closed, impoverished state (2) to leverage existing datasets (biophysical and socioeconomic), extract maximum analytical power and develop policy relevant lessons from cross-border comparative analyses of Kenya/ Ethiopia Boran and Kenya/Tanzania Maasai systems (3) to model household-level decisions on drylands resource use choices in different policy and economic contexts, integrating biophysical and socioeconomic dimensions, maintaining a disaggregated level of analysis across household types and conditions, and exploring policy and economic incentives fostering conservation-compatible choices (4) to develop policy scenario evaluations to support better ecosystem management, making more visible and comprehensible poor people's resource use choices, and enhancing their livelihoods (5) to build on local knowledge, engaging stakeholders at all levels, through networking, field consultation, workshops, and media outputs, from concept to beyond project end. BEST will also share knowledge and build capacity across the whole partnership and beyond, through collaborative working, stakeholder engagement and a wide range of outputs pitched at policy as well as scientific audiences - to build capacity across the collaboration and beyond, - to ensure maximum impact, leveraging dissemination through non-funded project partners, research and practitioner networks alongside the stakeholder engagement activities BEST research design, methods and materials use conceptually innovative modelling, alongside major extant datasets, and a cross-border comparative analysis encompassing three of the poorest African countries, to develop understanding of household decisions over land use. The BEST partnership combines in depth experience of the biophysical and socioecological dimensions of the ecosystems studied, advanced modelling capabilities, and outstanding experience in communications and engagement, with significant research, policymaker and practitioner networks. UK and non-UK members of the BEST partnership already manage major datasets necessary for the work. Together with non-funded partners ASARECA, STEPS and TAWIRI, and the involvement of BEST research partners with current research collaborations, the BEST partnership aims not only to deliver findings that will help evaluate policy scenarios, giving credible and relevant insight into the ecosystem services and poverty implications of different land tenure and NRM policies, but also to ensure those findings and tools are embedded into policymaking and practice.
 
Description East African rangelands represent a hotspot of both biodiversity and pastoralist production. While pastoralism underpins livelihoods and national GDP, most pastoralists remain in poverty. Although savanna wildlife draws tourist revenues important to the national economy, wildlife populations are in sharp decline. This research asks how policy and economic incentives may be used to encourage more environmentally and socially sustainable land use and livelihoods choices. Building on past ethnographic and ecological work in East African rangelands, BEST used economic games, choice experiments, and modeling to explore pastoralist household decision-making in Kenya and Tanzania Maasailand. Key findings reveal the relative values placed on livestock, crops, cash investments and income from conservation set-aside. They show the ways that land use and livelihoods choices shift with changing levels of payment for wildlife conservation, with household wealth, and with land tenure policies. They reveal unanticipated links between conservation set-aside, illegal grazing and household wealth, and an unexpected shift back from cattle to small stock with dwindling communal grazing land. Men and women's preferences diverge in unexpected ways with respect to species herded (women prefer cattle, which yield milk for the household food system, where men see market profit in shifting to small stock) and with respect to men's cash earnings (to which women have little or no access).
Exploitation Route BES findings have been disseminated and incorporated into national and international policy guidelines and advisory bodies as listed elsewhere on Researchfish

Following consultation with policymakers, practitioners, community leaders and tourism entrepreneurs, the following applications of the BEST approach and findings are still being considered:

• local language summaries illustrated by a local artist

• video showing how different scenarios or economic games develop through time, with for example land areas shrinking, herds growing or declining, etc

• app for mobile phones or a simple computer version of the games for use as a learning tool among pastoralists, helping to demonstrate the value of appropriate herd management decisions

• radio broadcasts in the vernacular

• further field visits using local learning networks (eg via elders, traditional leaders such as Maasai Ilaigwenan, etc)

• more participatory exercises around additional variants of the games
Project findings have been presented to policymakers, practitioners and communities as well as other researchers, through a series of in-country workshop and field-based meetings and documents. The team are now preparing policy briefings and parliamentary concept notes for use at this key policy moment, with respective governments preparing to implement Kenya's Vision 2030 and Tanzania's Vision 2025. In-country project team members (ILRI, ATPS) have key roles in these policy processes. The team is also exploring further media outputs, including local language outputs for wider public dissemination, alongside scientific publications.



In addition to these routes to exploitation of the results, BEST findings and approach form the basis for a further ESPA-funded research programme 2013-2106, exploring the social and environmental outcomes of wildlife management areas in Tanzania.
Sectors Communities and Social Services/Policy,Environment

URL http://www.ucl.ac.uk/best/
 
Description Poor rural people need the information in order to better negotiate with state and entrepreneurs. Practitioners from government agencies to NGOs need the findings to improve the performance of PWC interventions for poverty alleviation and biodiversity conservation. Donors need the findings and approach in order to evaluate which interventions have been effective and to what extent, where, how and why, making optimal allocation of scarce resources possible. In-depth stakeholder engagement, from pre-project through to project completion, alongside rigorous, differentiated analyses, have delivered robust findings which are being checked against local knowledge at grassroots, national and regional levels. Incorporating and building on that feedback, findings are being communicated at every level, from local community meetings to media outputs (web, radio, print) to policymaker, practitioner and community representative meetings, through to scientific reports and peer-reviewed papers. Local summaries and media outputs are produced in English, Maa and Swahili. Co-investigators are all active across wide networks of scientific activity, with findings being disseminated through their attendance at and presentations to international meeting, and through their contributions as expert members of panels and boards formulating new research agendas, reviewing funding applications and refereeing subsequent publications., as well as through the new research programmes they themselves initiate and lead. Through the outputs described in preceding sections we expect this work to have significant impact on practice in Kenya and Tanzania, and more broadly across Africa . we also expect significant impact on donor and international agendas, national policymaking, and on the state of scientific knowledge.
First Year Of Impact 2014
Sector Communities and Social Services/Policy,Environment,Leisure Activities, including Sports, Recreation and Tourism
Impact Types Societal,Economic

 
Description Adviser, Swiss National Scientific Research Foundation, Research for development
Geographic Reach Multiple continents/international 
Policy Influence Type Membership of a guideline committee
URL http://www.snf.ch/en/funding/programmes/r4d-programme/Pages/default.aspx
 
Description Arid and semi-arid land Stakeholder Forum ASF
Geographic Reach Africa 
Policy Influence Type Citation in other policy documents
Impact Mohammed Said was nominated as member of the ASAL Stakeholder forum (ASF). The ASF brings together all stakeholders (communities, researchers, NGOs, Private sector) working in the ASAL. It has functions as link between stakeholder and government.
 
Description ESRC Expert advisory group on international development
Geographic Reach Africa 
Policy Influence Type Membership of a guidance committee
 
Description ESRC International Development Expert Group
Geographic Reach Multiple continents/international 
Policy Influence Type Participation in a advisory committee
Impact Since 2005, the ESRC has committed approximately £40 million to development research, leveraging an additional £160 million from DFID and other funders, including other UK Research Councils. ESRC-DFID funded research has been commissioned across three programmes: the Joint Fund for Poverty Alleviation, the Growth Research Programme, and the Raising Learning Outcomes in Education Systems Programme. Our ESRC-DFID joint schemes fund world-class research on a broad range of topics to enhance the quality and impact of social science, and contribute to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (formerly the Millennium Development Goals). A key feature of these initiatives is that they are open to research organisations from anywhere in the world as bid leaders. Over 200 research projects have been funded under the partnership since 2005. A report produced by an Expert Advisory Group in 2014 (PDF, 970Kb) outlines challenges and future priorities in international development research. In order to meet these challenges we aim to maintain and develop our outstanding working relationship with DFID, but also seek out new partnerships and collaborations. Through this we hope to continue to deliver research which has far-ranging and diverse impacts on the research community, on policymakers and practitioners, and on the lives of poor people in some of the world's poorest countries.
URL https://esrc.ukri.org/research/international-research/international-development
 
Description ESRC Strategic Advisory Network
Geographic Reach Multiple continents/international 
Policy Influence Type Participation in a advisory committee
Impact ESRC SAN guides investment for ESRC's part in UKRI. as such we steer the training of young researchers; scope research calls (internal to ESRC; and in conjunction with UKRI/GCRF) fund the best research in social sciences and in interdisciplinary collaboration internationally and with other research councils, industry and third sector partners; maintain and develop longitudinal and other data collection and retrieval systems which are the go-to sources underpinning government policy and investment etc.
URL https://esrc.ukri.org/about-us/governance-and-structure/strategic-advisory-network
 
Description Kenya: Natural Capital Valuation programme
Geographic Reach Africa 
Policy Influence Type Citation in other policy documents
Impact Mohammed Said is providing technical assistance to Kenya?s natural capital valuation programme (Ministry of Environment and Mines). The outputs will be used to provide guidance of value natural capital in Kenya's national accounting system in developing key natural resource management policies . Pre-project ideas from his role in ESPA-funded BEST fed into and our continuing exchanges during ESPA_funded PIMA have ensured further dissemination of this policy
URL http://naturalcapitalcoalition.org/kenyas-natural-capital-a-biodiversity-atlas/
 
Description Member of both ESRC's Research Committee, and of ESRC's International Development Expert Group (EIDEG),
Geographic Reach National 
Policy Influence Type Participation in a advisory committee
URL http://www.esrc.ac.uk/about-us/governance-and-structure/advisory-committees/research-committee/
 
Description Member, ESRC Research Committee
Geographic Reach National 
Policy Influence Type Membership of a guideline committee
 
Description Membership of guiding panel, and Citation in policy document: FAO's technical guide on Governance in Pastoral lands
Geographic Reach Multiple continents/international 
Policy Influence Type Citation in other policy documents
URL http://www.fao.org/publications/card/en/c/cfec9870-d873-4dd4-b7e8-1d61fe3eb501/
 
Description National Policy for sustainable development of northern Kenya and other arid lands
Geographic Reach Africa 
Policy Influence Type Citation in other policy documents
Impact Mohammed Said was involved in the review of the ASAL and Environmental policies in Kenya. The National Policy for the Sustainable Development of Northern Kenya and other Arid Lands was launched 5th of February, 2013.
 
Description Panel member, indicators for SDGs relating to indigenous people and local communities' tenure of, access to and use of common property resources
Geographic Reach Multiple continents/international 
Policy Influence Type Membership of a guideline committee
URL http://www.unep.org/post2015/Portals/50240/Documents/Indicator_Workshop_3-5_December_2014.pdf
 
Description UNEP Senior Expert member: integrated measures for monitoring
Geographic Reach Africa 
Policy Influence Type Membership of a guidance committee
URL http://unep.org.uneplive
 
Description Vision 2030
Geographic Reach Africa 
Policy Influence Type Citation in other policy documents
Impact Mohammed Said is providing technical assistance to mapping wildlife corridors (Vision 2030 project). The outputs of this project will be used to develop key policies to manage wildlife corridors (through various instruments) .
URL https://cgspace.cgiar.org/bitstream/handle/10568/12430/Said%20etal%202011_Spatial%20Mapping_Livestoc...
 
Description ESPA synthesis
Amount £125,000 (GBP)
Funding ID NE/P008097/1 
Organisation Natural Environment Research Council 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 03/2017 
End 03/2018
 
Description Open access publications award
Amount £4,326 (GBP)
Funding ID OAG-2012-114 
Organisation Ecosystem Services for Poverty Alleviation (ESPA) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 11/2014 
End 12/2014
 
Description Pathway to Peste des Petits Ruminants Virus Elimination - methods for complex ecosystems
Amount £457,199 (GBP)
Funding ID BB/P023002/1 
Organisation Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 05/2017 
End 04/2019
 
Description Kenya Rangelands Coalition 
Organisation TanSat (CarbonSat) mission
Country China 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution Mohammed Said and Aidan Keane participated in August 2011 inception meeting of KRC, designed to represent interests of Southern Kenya drylands users Partly on the basis of this early engagement, Katherine Homewood was invited onto the advisory panel of KRC/ ACC and McGill University's 'Canopy of Conservation' project, now ongoing.
Collaborator Contribution Participation in project meetings ensure communication, dissemination and feedback with this user network Although initial engagement pre dates the PIMA project, these contacts were and remain vital pre- and post-project activities ensuring effective research design and ultimately ensuring dissemination and impact
Impact information flow; dissemination to and feedback from user groups
Start Year 2011
 
Description Pastoralist Civil Society Organisations 
Organisation PINGOS Pastoralist Integrated NGOs Forum
Country Tanzania, United Republic of 
Sector Learned Society 
PI Contribution this organisation represents an important network of Tanzanian pastoralist community and civil society groups with which we engage in the course of formulating our research, carrying it out, disseminating and seeking feedback on the findings. we have contacted them, visited them in Arusha and discussed the research issues, approach and findings with them on several occasions
Collaborator Contribution This organisation is an important channel for engagement and communication among pastoralist communities in Tanzania. ResearchFish queries the fact that the start date of the collaboration pre-dates the start date of this award to which the collaboration is attributed. I must make it clear that with this type of collaboration there is very significant pre-project investment in engaging users and partners, in order to ensure the best possible conditions for project collaboration and lasting impact. it was in anticipation of working with PINGOS and on the basis of pre project work engaging in the collaborative relationship that we were able to submit a successful grant application and a genuinely engaged impact pathway and, more importantly, achieve genuine societal impact.
Impact Informal but essential engagement and communication
Start Year 2011
 
Description Pastoralist Women's council 
Organisation Pastoral Women's Council of Tanzania
Country Tanzania, United Republic of 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution 1. 2015-6: we contributed a volunteer (Masters graduate related to project research group) who is now based in a remote location in Maasailand and helps with administrative matters. 2. 2016-7: PWC is a collaborating partner on a further ESPA-funded award (IMPACTS: PI Emily Woodhouse: Homewood Co-I, acting PI during Woodhouse's maternity leave)
Collaborator Contribution 1. PWC Staff attend our project workshops and conferences, contribute to formulating research issues and approach, and to discussing and disseminating findings. they have extended this role into unfunded partnership in a new ESPA-funded collaboration (IMPACTS; PI Woodhouse) 2. PWC are a grassroots organisation of considerable local significance in supporting issues of women's livelihoods and wellbeing in the north of Tanzania, where PIMA has operated and where engagement and impact continue to play out. they provide an important channel for discussing and evaluating project findings dissemination and feedback 3. ResearchFish queries the fact that the start date of the collaboration pre-dates the start date of this award to which the collaboration is attributed. I must make it clear that with this type of collaboration there is very significant pre-project investment in engaging users and partners, in order to ensure the best possible conditions for project collaboration and lasting impact. it was in anticipation of working with PWC and on the basis of pre project work engaging in the collaborative relationship that we were able to submit a successful grant application and a genuinely engaged impact pathway and, more importantly, achieve genuine societal impact.
Impact multi disciplinary ongoing collaboration on research formulation and user engagement gender, community and development aspects
Start Year 2012
 
Description Poverty Conservation Learning Group 
Organisation Poverty Conservation Learning Group
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution KH joined the Poverty Conservation Learning Group http://povertyandconservation.info/. KH co authored chapter in PCLG book Homewood K, P. Chenevix-Trench and D.Brockington (2013) Pastoralism and conservation: who benefits? In D.Roe, M.Walpole and J.Elliott (eds) Biodiversity Conservation and Poverty Alleviation. Informed by BEST, though based primarily on prior work
Collaborator Contribution PCLG provides a network of considerable international and multilevel reach which is active in disseminating findings and garnering feedback from user groups. they are performing this role for the present PIMA project but also for subsequent ESPA_funded work (IMPACTS project: PI Emily Woodhouse)
Impact information, dissemination and critical feedback network of user groups at the conservation/development interface
Start Year 2011
 
Description Grassland Society of Southern Africa, 47th Annual Congress 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Keynote: Said, M.Y., et al 2012 Natural resource management and biodiversity conservation of Eastern Africa. Grassland Society of Southern Africa, 47th Annual Congress (16-20 July 2012), Club Mykonos, Langebaan, Western Cape, South Africa.

dissemination
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2013
URL http://www.zsl.org/science/what's-on/symposium-remote-sensing-for-conservation
 
Description discussant in Cambridge University workshop 'The Wealth Economy: Natural and Social Capital.' led by Prof Diana Coyle 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact exploratory workshop, convening 20-25 experts to help brainstorm and develop better metrics of social and natural assets
for integration into national statistics; significant potential for policy impact.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
URL https://www.bennettinstitute.cam.ac.uk/blog/measurements-better-future/
 
Description BEST Project Closing Workshop 2013 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Type Of Presentation keynote/invited speaker
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact The project's closing workshop for policy-makers, practitioners, community users and researchers was hosted by ATPS and held at ILRI's Nairobi campus on 13th August, 2013: the full attendance list and the programme are available on the website at ucl.ac.uk/best. Besides the presentations, participants played the decision-making games used during the project (to research decision rules underpinning pastoralist behavioural choices), and were able to compare their results with pastoralist choices. participants from government, tourism industry and civil society experienced 'aha!' moments as a result, and expressed enjoyment and interest in the experience and lessons learnt.


Project researchers have been invited onto a number of policy advisory groups, described elsewhere in Researchfish.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2011,2013
URL http://www.ucl.ac.uk/best/materials.htm
 
Description Cambridge UCCRI graduate conference 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact 50 new PhD students attended my opening plenary for this conference on interdisciplinary methods in conservation research

subsequent correspondence with individual PhD students on their research and approaches
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
URL http://research-institute.conservation.cam.ac.uk/grad-conf
 
Description ESPA in-country regional East African science meeting. 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? Yes
Type Of Presentation paper presentation
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Dr. Mohammed Said gave a talk summarising BEST's work to the ESPA Researchers and Stakeholders Workshop held in Mombasa, Kenya on 11th June 2013. see presentation at http://www.ucl.ac.uk/best

Dr Said appointed to a range of policy advisory groups in East Africa, detailed elsewhere on researchfish
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2013
URL http://www.ucl.ac.uk/best/materials
 
Description ESPA science conference 2013 plenary 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? Yes
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact 50-100 ESPA researchers from around the world attended the plenary and the lively panel discussion with other keynote speakers that followed. Videostreaming ensured a wider audience

Numerous invitations for further plenary talks and invited keynotes. I was also invited to become a member of the ESRC Expert Advisory Group for International Development, and external examiner for University of Cambridge Conservation Leadership MPhil programme
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2013
URL http://www.espa.ac.uk/news-events/events/espa-2013-conference
 
Description ESRC science festival 2013 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact the ESRC science festival 2013 focused on "CONFLICTING INTERESTS? EXPLORING CONSERVATION AND HUMAN-ANIMAL RELATIONSHIPS"
was held at the Horniman Museum in South London (2nd November) and attracted a wide cross section of general public, students third sector and others. Several speakers presented and the talks, films and other presentations generated lively discussion.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2013
URL https://www.flickr.com/photos/raieducation/albums/72157637557938824
 
Description International Congress for Conservation Biology in Baltimore 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Type Of Presentation paper presentation
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Dr. Aidan Keane presented a paper on Understanding drivers of illegal grazing in Kenya's Maasai Mara at the International Congress for Conservation Biology in Baltimore on 22nd July

interest and awareness among conservation researchers in the field of understanding and managing illegal resource use behaviour
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2013
URL http://www.ucl.ac.uk/best/materials.htm
 
Description Political Ecology programme opening workshop, SOAS 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Katherine Homewood presented invited keynote on "environmentally sustainable futures in East African rangelands", triggering lively discussion

considerable interest aroused, resulting in invitations to speak at Cambridge UCCRI (September 2014), Cambridge Conservation seminar (Feb 2015) and UCL's international 3-day event launching ABaCuS (Anthropology, behaviour and cultures of sustainability) Feb 2015.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
 
Description Wellcome Trust scientific conversation 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? Yes
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact lively presentation, conversation and debate, with considerable audience participation

subsequently contacted by students and aspiring science writers to develop topic further
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2012
URL http://www.wellcomecollection.org/what's-on/events/animals-v-people.aspx
 
Description field dissemination to study villages 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an open day or visit at my research institution
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Dissemination visits were carried out in all 42 study villages (WMA and non-WMA controls). in each case village government as well as a broad cross section of concerned citizens participated, with meetings including anywhere from 15-45 people, men and women and youth representatives. Study results relevant to the area in question were presented and discussed and local feedback sought. people were extremely appreciative of this exercise and in several cases project personnel carrying out the dissemination were told this helped villages arrive at their own decisions over land use and also that it helped in negotiations with state and entrepreneurs.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL http://ucl.ac.uk/pima