Greater Mara Ecosystem consisting of 15 conservancies adjacent to the national reserve, Kenya
Kenya’s Maasai Mara, form together with the Serengeti plains in Tanzania, one of Africa’s most iconic landscapes, celebrated for its wildlife and Wildebeest migration. Yet, while Maasai Mara has sustained humans and wildlife for millennia, today it is undergoing a transition. As the region shifts from a nomadic to a sedentary way of life, it must absorb changing land tenure systems, human population growth and climate change, all of which is leading to land degradation due to overgrazing, fencing and the disappearance of its wildlife. The Basecamp Explorer Foundation (BEF) and the Maasai Mara Wildlife Conservancies Association (MMWCA) approached Commonland to develop economic solutions that look beyond tourism alone. Using our 4 Returns framework, we came up with a string of relevant economic projects specific to the Greater Mara Ecosystem.
Of the opportunities identified, the potential of carbon compensation activities was considered very promising. This allows farmers and land users who aim to improve their land use (farming, livestock or forestry) to receive financial compensation for the additional carbon they store in the soils and vegetation. It fell on Commonland to assess how to capitalise the potential of each of these multiple carbon projects and how they would impact the Mara’s varied landscape and habitats. Some of those assessed included sustainable grazing, and a REDD+ programme (Reducing Emission from Deforestation and Degradation and reforestation).
After conducting preliminary feasibility the activities proposed will positively impact both the livelihoods of people and the biodiversity of the 770,000 hectare region.