Establishment of woodlots and domestication of medicinal plants innovation in the Serengeti Mara Ecosystem | Institutional Innovations (Innovations, Training Services & Management Practices)

Wood fuel consumption constitutes an important element of the human population pressure on woodlands in the Serengeti-Mara Ecosystem (SME). Firewood is the most accessible form of fuel for the rural communities in SME, and its continued removal from the ecosystem may potentially cause a profound deleterious ecological effect on the biodiversity. On the other hand, medicinal plants are Read more..

Description of the technology or innovation

Wood  fuel  consumption  constitutes  an  important  element  of  the  human  population  pressure  on woodlands in the Serengeti-Mara Ecosystem (SME). Firewood is the most accessible form of fuel for the rural communities in SME, and its continued removal from the ecosystem may potentially cause  a  profound  deleterious  ecological  effect  on  the  biodiversity.  On  the  other  hand,  medicinal plants are widely used by the local communities (particularly Masaai), and there is a need to ensure sustainable supply of medicinal extracts from the area. 

The  new  innovation  aims  at  establishing  woodlot  plantations  in  SME  and  managing  them sustainably  to  relieve  pressure  on  the  natural  woodlands.  This  will  provide  additional  income through  sale  of  firewood,  building  materials  (timber,  poles)  and  charcoal.  Demand  for  a  wide variety of wild medicinal plant species is increasing with growth in human needs and commercial trade. 

Medicinal  plants  are  economically  important  as  they  provide  the  basic  raw  material  for pharmaceutical,  perfumery,  flavor,  soaps  and  cosmetic  industries.  The  technology  also  aims  to promote  community-based  domestication,  cultivation  and  commercialization  of  some  important traditional medicinal plants in woodlots as an alternative income-generating activity. Woodlots can also  contribute  to  conservation  of  biodiversity,  bio-prospecting  of  wild  species  and  provide  a valuable  germplasm  for  bio-molecules  and  genes  for  commercialization.  Further,  woodlots  could provide  opportunities  in  the  carbon  market  (credit)  programme.  Landowners  with  a  series  of woodlots with long-term sustainable management can enrol in a carbon credit trading program.

It  was  tested the  Serengeti-Mara  Ecosystems  of  Kenya  and  Tanzania  and  validation  process  was conducted. Participatory tools and techniques through multi-stakeholder consultations were used. 

The local communities living in both the wet and dry regions of the Serengeti Mara Ecosystems and those engaged in the tourism and hospitality industries are the ultimate beneficiaries of the project.

The key partners needed in the scaling up process are:

  • Local communities,  
  • Local building industry,  
  • Pharmaceutical companies,  
  • Perfumery,  
  • Flavor,
  • Soaps and cosmetic industries,  
  • Herbalists, carpenters,  
  • Biodiversity conservationists,  
  • Bio-prospectors,
  • Carbon market creditors and landowners are the intended beneficiaries of this
  • Innovation.

Gender considerations

The  technology  is  gender  sensitive  since  community  conservancies  are  developed,  managed  and implemented  by  locals  who  are  both  male  and  female.  The  technology  is  gender  sensitive  since woodlots and domestication of medicinal plants is practiced and managed by both male and female

Contact details

Director, National Museums of Kenya (NMK)
P.O Box 40658-00100
Nairobi, Kenya
Tel: +254-722 286133

Bernard Ngoru
Programme Officer, Kenya Wildlife Service
P.O Box 494 – 0161,
Nyeri, Kenya
Tel: 0721 521324

Emanuel Manyasa
Professor, Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT)
PO Box 57290,
Nairobi, Kenya
Tel: 0723 845707

Ayub Macharia
Director, National Environment Management Authority (NEMA)
P.O Box 67839,
Nairobi, Kenya
Tel: 0722 728572

James Wakibara
Director, Tanzania National Parks
P.O Box 3134,
Arusha, Tanzania
Tel: 0786-703-399

Agnes Mwakaje
Professor, University of Dar Es Salaam (UDSM)
P.O.Box 35064,
Dar-es-salaam, Tanzania

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