Abstract

Traditional Ecological Knowledge in Management of Dryland Ecosystems among the Maasai Pastoralists in Kiteto District, Tanzania

Understanding the way the Maasai pastoralists' Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK) affects management of natural resources in dry lands is of practical importance, failure to recognize its contribution in resources management and use can result into mismatch of varied land uses leading to loss of biodiversity and deterioration of livelihood conditions. The study was done in Kiteto district (Maasai Steppe), data was collected using Participatory Rural Appraisal (PRA), Focus Group Discussions and key informants interviews. Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) was used to analyze quantitative data, PRA data was analyzed by the help of communities and content analysis was used to analyze qualitative data. Findings show that socio-economic factors; sex, age, education level, income from livestock, household size and time spent in keeping livestock influenced the perceived usefulness of TEK. Practices such as herd splitting, grazing patterns, livestock mobility, co-existence of wildlife and livestock, water sources management and construction of settlement played role in management. TEK thus, enables pastoralists to control and manage rangeland resources by regulating access to users and sanctioning abusers. Using medicinal plants to treat some diseases and ailments instead of conventional medication could be due to high costs or availability of drugs and proximity to health centers. Government and actors should work on policies that undermine pastoral ways of life and range ecologists should design a TEK model to be used in dry lands ecosystems management.


Author(s): Samwel K Olekao and Anthony Z Sangeda

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