Elephants and Sustainable Agriculture in Kenya
3168

Wildlife & Ecosystems

Elephants and Sustainable Agriculture in Kenya

Help local farmers to conserve elephants and their habitat in southeast Kenya by implementing sustainable agriculture practices.


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The facts

Why the research is important

Why the research is important

Sustainable agriculture could reduce crop raiding and help humans and elephants to peacefully coexist in Kenya.

Despite the reported success of sustainable agriculture in sub-Saharan Africa, its use has been slow or short-lived. Help farmers to improve their crop yield, conserve valuable resources, and reduce HEC in the process.

Chimpanzee

Help to empower local farmers to adopt agricultural methods that are resilient to a changing climate.

Climate-Smart Agriculture (CSA) involves reducing pesticide and herbicide use, planting new crops that are more resilient to a changing climate, agroforestry, and improving soil, land, and water management systems. These methods not only help to protect farmers’ livelihoods, they also promote biodiversity and have important conservation benefits.

In addition to promoting sustainable agriculture, researchers will test the effect of “repellents” on elephants, in an effort to keep them away from farmers’ crop fields. Elephants play an important role in maintaining their environment, such as by helping to regenerate forests and influencing the presence of other wildlife. However, these animals frequently come into conflict with humans as they can damage property, cause injuries, and compete with livestock over limited water supplies. Scientists have found that simple repellents such as chili peppers and beehives (which have the added benefit of producing a useable product such as peppers or honey) may help to deter elephants from entering crop fields. This study will examine some of these and other methods singly and in combination to reduce crop raiding and ensure that humans and elephants can peacefully coexist.

Results from this study will empower local farmers to adopt agricultural methods that are resilient to a changing environment and help to conserve the ecosystem. Results will also be shared with local and national officials to inform broader agriculture and human-wildlife conflict policies in Kenya.

About the research area

Kasigau Corridor, Kenya (between Tsavo East and West National Parks), Kenya, Africa

Daily life in the field

Itinerary

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ACTIVITY LEVEL

EASY

The Scientists

MEET THE LEAD SCIENTIST

Bruce
Schulte
Department Head of Biology and Professor, Western Kentucky University

ABOUT Bruce Schulte

Dr. Bruce Schulte is the Department Head of Biology and Professor at Western Kentucky University. Bruce is studying human livelihoods, biodiversity, elephant behavior, and ecosystem functions in the Tsavo ecosystem in Kenya, in partnership with Wildlife Works. His efforts are helping to conserve the region and ensure that humans and wildlife maintain a mutually beneficial, sustainable relationship.

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