Evaluation of Restoration Success to Inform Future Restoration Efforts in Acacia Reficiens Invaded Rangelands in Northern Kenya

TitleEvaluation of Restoration Success to Inform Future Restoration Efforts in Acacia Reficiens Invaded Rangelands in Northern Kenya
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2020
AuthorsKimiti D, Ganguli A, Herrick JE, Bailey DW
JournalEcological Restoration
Volume38
Issue2
Pagination105-113
Date Published06/2020
ARIS Log Number365380
KeywordsCenchrus ciliaris, LandPKS, mobile apps, reseeding, tree clearing
Abstract

Arid and semi-arid rangelands support a significant portion of the world’s human population, as well as its floral and faunal biodiversity. These landscapes are threatened by degradation, through loss of vegetation, increasing spread of invasive and/or undesirable species, or both. Efforts to halt or reverse degradation exist, but lack of monitoring and reporting of restoration outcomes hampers efforts to replicate and upscale good practices to other areas. This paper demonstrates how monitoring can effectively inform future efforts through retrospective analysis of restoration projects on Acacia reficiens invaded rangelands in northern Kenya. A. reficiens has encroached into productive forage land undermining both livestock production systems and endangered wildlife species conservation. We monitored restoration projects across 13 sites involving A. reficiens clearing and seeding with the perennial grass Cenchrus ciliaris using a mobile phone application. We found that these restoration treatments led to increases of more than 25% in overall cover, 34% in perennial grass cover, and 60% in standing herbaceous biomass. We therefore suggest that manual clearing of A. reficiens, when timed properly and combined with both reseeding and prudent pre-and post-treatment seed and soil conservation practices, has the potential to provide an efficient and cost-effective solution to help reverse habitat losses. Our use of mobile phone applications allowed rapid assessment of restoration outcomes, and the resulting data are already being used to help design restoration projects on community-owned rangelands in northern Kenya.

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