Effects of fire on grassland ecosystem

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Kampala International University, College of Engineering and applied sciences
A study on effects of burning in rangeland on the environment was carried out in Mashuru Division, Kajiado District. Chapter one defines what is rangeland ecosystem, importance of rangeland ecosystem, need for protecting rangelands, laws and policies on range management and conservation in Kenya. Research questions and objectives were also realized. Objectives of study included; main activities carried out in Mashuru division, reasons for burning grass in Mashuru division, effects of burning grass on the environment and ways, suggestions and measures to minimize burning of grass in Mashuru division. Chapter two involved collection of literature from various institutions, libraries and inherent sources, this provided relevant regarding this study, by collection of information from other parts of the world having relevant case studies on effects of burning rangelands on the environment.. In chapter three, a general research design was used in carrying out the study, method of data collection included questionnaires, interviews, photographing and direct observations from different parts within Mashuru division. In chapter four; research findings revealed that, main activities practiced in Mashuru were Nomadic Pastoralism, cultivation of crops and marketing of animals and there products were among the major activities practiced. Accompanying practices included; burning of vegetation (grass), watering, and treatment, grazing and breeding of livestock’s were practices carried out by pastoralist in Mashuru division. While cultivators were involved in practices such as; cultivation of crops and clearing of land for cultivation. Reasons prompting people to burn grass in Mashuru was to; encourage fresh re-growth, control weeds, among other reasons. Consequences and effects of burning grass in Mashuru lead to ecological, economic and social effects through changes in natural ecological succession, soil structure, and micro climate, and pasture levels, loss of income, conflicts and migration of people to other regions. From above, chapter five summarized and concluded the way forward through suggested recommendations to control degradation of rangelands in Mashuru. Recommendations included range management and protection, community enhancement, controlled burning of rangelands, destocking of animals, provision of extension services, monitoring, provision of incentives, enacting by-laws to govern use of rangelands in Mashuru division and providing ways for future research studies on ways of improving and maintain rangelands ecosystem in Mashuru division and beyond Mashuru division.
A Dissertation Submitted to Department of Environmental Management, in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirement for the Award of Degree of Bachelor of Science in Environmental Management
Fire, Grassland ecosystem, Kenya