Governing Landscapes through Partnerships: Lessons from Amboseli, Kenya
Mugo, Tabitha Njeri
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This study focuses on the Kenyan Amboseli landscape, which comprises the Amboseli National Park and six neighbouring Maasai community Group Ranches, namely Mbirikani, Kuku, Kimana, Eselengei, Ologulului-Ololorashi Ologulului, and Rombo. Over the past five decades, Amboseli has been facing persistent conservation and development challenges. These include changing land tenure and land-use; humanwildlife conflicts (HWCs); poaching of wildlife; unplanned and uncoordinated development; loss and fragmentation of wildlife habitats; inadequate and unequal benefits for local communities; high levels of poverty; and a conservation-development nexus policy void. To mitigate these challenges, various policy interventions, mostly in the form of varied partnership arrangements between actors drawn from communities, governments, market, and conservation organizations, have been initiated – with mixed outcomes. This thesis specifically explores two landscape-wide partnerships, the Amboseli Ecosystem Trust (AET) and the Big Life Foundation (BLF). The Amboseli Ecosystem Trust is a landscape-based partnership that seeks to bring together governmental agencies, communities, private investors, and civil society with the aim of simultaneously achieving conservation and development goals. The Big Life Foundation (BLF), a partner and member of the AET’s Board of Trustees and the successor of the Maasailand Preservation Trust (MPT), is a partnership between the Mbirikani Group Ranch community members and a tourism investor-based conservation NGO. BLF’s projects cover a large part of the Amboseli landscape in Kenya and adjacent areas in northern Tanzania....