ECOSYSTEM MANAGEMENT APPROACH FOR RESPONSIBLE NATURE BASED TOURISM: MT ELGON REGION OF KENYA
Jacqueline Kariithi and Michael Meadows
University of Cape Town, Department of Environmental and Geographical Science

 

Abstract:

Protected Areas, especially biosphere reserves, national and provincial parks, are established in part to preserve natural, unaltered ecosystems and species as benchmarks and as areas for scientific study (Slocombe, 1993). The Mt Elgon ecosystem forms part of the transboundary region cutting across the Kenya-Uganda border and on the Kenya side consists of the Protected Areas of Mt Elgon National Park, Trans-Nzoia Forest Reserve, Mt Elgon Forest Reserve and Chepkitale National Reserve. The Mt Elgon region is susceptible to environmental degradation resulting from divergent, uncontrolled and sometimes conflicting land uses. There is a need to address challenges of managing Protected Areas such as Mt Elgon ecosystem through integrative management to form a core linkage between the characteristics of the area and responsible nature based tourism development objectives. This study will interrogate the capabilities the Protected Area management agencies in the Mt Elgon region have for achieving those goals which include; maintaining viable populations of all native species in situ followed by ensuring representation within Protected Areas, all native ecosystem types across their natural range of variation. Further to this process there is a need to maintain evolutionary and ecological processes (i.e. disturbance regimes, hydrological processes, nutrient cycles, etc.) Finally, priority should be given in protecting the evolutionary potential of species and ecosystems concurrently with accommodating human use and occupancy within limits. The methodology will be carried out by collecting data from Mt Elgon Protected Area (PA) management agencies to assess and analyse ecosystem conservation reports, maps of fauna and flora distribution, natural habitats, and Protected Area management plans to establish if the PA managers have integrated a biodiversity conservation agenda within their management frameworks. The next phase will be to cross reference the ecosystem management approach as prescribed in the “Silthorp Principles” (1995) and the “Malawi Principles” (1996) which set out to identify principles that might underpin the ecosystem approach (Maltby 2000) with the specific ecosystem, governance and technical context that will provide direction to the Mt. Elgon PA managers. The final stage is to delineate the ecosystem management approach as a means for improving present management strategies for the protection, preservation and conservation of the Mt. Elgon ecosystem to substantiate the implementation of responsible nature based tourism and to provide guidelines for future work and criterion for Protected Area management and conservation in similar locations and destinations.

 

Presentation Topic
ECOSYSTEM MANAGEMENT APPROACH FOR RESPONSIBLE NATURE BASED TOURISM: MT ELGON REGION OF KENYA
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Email Jacqueline Kariithi