Influence of Livestock Farming on Vegetation in a Degraded Soil Area on the East Coast of Lake Victoria in Western Kenya: A Case Study of Jimo East Sub-Location in Nyando Sub-County


In the study area located in Western Kenya near the Lake Victoria, severe soil erosion occurred and it thought to relate to vegetation degradation caused by overgrazing. The livestock density estimated by analyzing satellite image (1.39 TLU/ha for available grazing lands) was lower than that of measured for seven farmers’ grazing lands using GPSs (4.41 TLU/ha, 2011) with variation from 0.83 to 12.36 TLU/ha. Thus, it is clear that the grasslands used by farmers are limited compared with the area of estimated available land for grazing identified by analyzing the satellite image. According to growth-consumption rate model that was developed by the Nyangito et al. (2008) in southeastern Kenya, if livestock density reaches over 7 TLU/ha, pasture growth rate became lower than consumption rate. Grass biomasses of the grazing lands were kept low (less than 50 g/50 × 50 cm2) under high livestock density (three farmers out of seven were higher than 7 TLU/ha). In addition, rainfall pattern is very unstable and we observed stunted growth of grasses during dry spells. Therefore, we concluded that overgrazing. It means that inhibition of continuous re-growth of grasses due to high grazing pressure has been occurred even for small area and contributed to the soil erosion.

Share and Cite:

Yamane, Y. , Asanuma, S. and Umenura, K. (2015) Influence of Livestock Farming on Vegetation in a Degraded Soil Area on the East Coast of Lake Victoria in Western Kenya: A Case Study of Jimo East Sub-Location in Nyando Sub-County. Journal of Environmental Protection, 6, 824-836. doi: 10.4236/jep.2015.68075.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


[1] Cohen, M.J., Brown, M.T. and Shepherd, K.D. (2006) Estimating the Environmental Costs of Soil Erosion at Multiple Scales in Kenya Using Energy Synthesis. Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment, 14, 249-269.
[2] Barbier, E.B. (2000) The Economic Linkages between Rural Poverty and Land Degradation: Some Evidence from Africa. Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment, 82, 355-370.
[3] Oldemen, L.R. (2000) Impact of Soil Degradation: A Global Scenario. International Soil Reference and Information Center (ISRIC) Working Paper, 10.
[4] Hoshino, M., Katsurada, Y., Yamamoto, K., Yoshida, H., Kadohira, M., Sugitani, K., Nyangaga, J.M., Akech, N.O., Mathu, E.M., Ngecu, W.M., Kionyamario, J.I. and Kang’ethe, E.K. (2004) Gully Erosion in Western Kenya. The Journal of the Geological Society of Japan, 110, 3-4.
[5] ICRAF (2006) Improved Land Management in the Lake Victoria Basin: Final Report on the Trans Victoria Project. World Agroforestry Centre, Working Paper.
[6] Sigunga, D.O., Hoshino, M., Onyango, J.C., Asanuma, S. and Kimura, M. (2011) Pedological Perspective of Gully Erosions Site within Kendu Escarpment-Sondu Miriu Region, West Kenya. African Journal of Environmental Science and Technology, 5, 1050-1059.
[7] Ong’or, D.O. (2005) Community Participation in Integrated Water Resource Management: The Case of the Lake Victoria Basin.
[8] Muriuki, J., Kuria, A., Mango, J., Ajeho, L., Jamnadass, R. and Mowo, J. (2010) Western Kenya Integrated Ecosystem Management Project (WKIEMP) Reported on Pilot Rehabilitation Activities for Degraded Lands in Western Kenya. World Agroforestry Center Working Paper, 1-21.
[9] Shinjo, H. (2003) Overgrazing. Japan Society for Tropical Agriculture, Ed., Encyclopedia of Tropical Agriculture, In: Japan Society for Tropical Agriculture. Yokendo Press, Tokyo, 90. (In Japanese)
[10] Shipton, P. (2007) The Nature of Entrustment: Intimacy, Exchange, and the Sacred in Africa. Yale University Press, New Haven & London.
[11] Kristjan, P., Krishna, A., Radeny, M. and Nindo, W. (2004) Pathway Out of Poverty in Western Kenya and the Role of Livestock. Pro-Poor Livestock Policy Initiative (PPLPI) Working Paper.
[12] Nyasimi, M., Butler, L.M., Burras, L., Iiahiane, H., Schultz, R. and Flora, J. (2007) Differentiating Livelihood Strategies among the Luo and Kipsigis People in Western Kenya. Journal of Ecology Anthropology, 11, 24-57.
[13] Kefa, V.O.R. (2005) Integrated Solar Energy Systems for Rural Electrification in Kenya. Renewable Energy, 30, 23-42.
[14] Umemura, K., Wanaka, T. and Ueno, T. (2009) Technical Note: Estimation of Feed Intake while Grazing Using a Wireless System Requiring No Halter. Journal of Dairy Science, 92, 1-5.
[15] Urushihara, K. (2005) Land Degradation by Sheep Transhumance in the South Carpathian Mountain. Bulletin of the Faculty of Letters, Hosei University, 52, 33-46.
[16] Wint, W. and Bourn, D. (1994) Livestock and Land-Use Surveys in Sub-Saharan Africa. An Oxfam Working Paper. Oxfam Print Unit, Oxford.
[17] Scoones, I. (1992) Land Degradation and Livestock Production in Zimbabwe’s Communal Area. Land Degradation & Development, 1, 99-113.
[18] Gufu, O., Vetaas, R.O. and Stenseth, N.C. (2001) Relationships between Biomass and Plant Species Richness in Arid-Zone Grazing Lands. Journal of Applied Ecology, 38, 836-845.
[19] Karue, C.N., Evans, J.L. and Tillman, A.D. (1973) Voluntary Intake of Dry Matter by African Zebu Cattle: Quality of Feed and the Reference Base. Journal of Animal Science, 36, 1181-1185.
[20] Osuga, I.M., Wambui, C.C., Abdulrazak, S.A., Ichinohe, T. and Fujihara, T. (2008) Evaluation of Nutritive Value and Palatability by Goats and Sheep of Selected Browse Foliages from Semiarid Area of Kenya. Animal Science Journal, 79, 582-589.
[21] Nyangito, M.M., Musimba, N.K.R. and Nyariki, D.M. (2008) Range Use and Dynamics in the Agropastoral System of Southeastern Kenya. African Journal of Environmental Science and Technology, 2, 222-230.
[22] Buchanan, H., Laycock, W.A. and Price, D.A. (1972) Botanical and Nutritive Content of the Summer Diet of Sheep on a Tall Forb Range in Southwestern Montana. Journal of Animal Science, 35, 423-430.

Copyright © 2022 by authors and Scientific Research Publishing Inc.

Creative Commons License

This work and the related PDF file are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.