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Urbanization Poses Risks to Integrated Landscapes in Kenya

Climate change effects are harder to model in multi-functional landscapes. Photo by Neil Palmer (CIAT), of ploughed fields in Kibirichia, Mount Kenya region. Via Flikr - bit.ly/KBQf7i.

Climate change effects are harder to model in multi-functional landscapes. Photo by Neil Palmer (CIAT), of ploughed fields in Kibirichia, Mount Kenya region. Via Flikr – bit.ly/KBQf7i.

By Isaiah Esipisu  – Freelance journalist specializing in agriculture and climate change reporting

Kenya is one of the leading countries in Africa to embrace the Integrated Landscape Approach, though experts attending the Landscapes for People, Food and Nature in Africa Conference say that urbanization and the quest for development is a real threat to this progress.

“Urbanization is a major conflict for rural landscapes in Kenya, hence, there is an urgent need for the government to develop a policy for rural development, and an acceptable plan for land use,” said Hon. Joshua Irungu, the Governor for Laikipia County.

Hon. Irungu referred to Rwaka area in Kiambu County in Central Kenya, which just a few years ago was a coffee plantation, but has now been converted into an urban centre. “We have other examples like Kitengela and Konza regions in Eastern Kenya, which are quickly transforming into urban centers – thus leading to human wildlife conflict,” he told a plenary session.

Recent work by the Landscapes for People, Food and Nature Initiative has investigated pathways for integrated management of urban regions. Land use planning was found, indeed, to be a key component. The Naivasha landscape in Kenya is a case study of the report.

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