Role of Rendille Indigenous Environmental Knowledge in Conservation of Selected Tree Species in Laisamis, Marsabit County, Kenya
Ekalo, Janet Ahatho
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Indigenous knowledge remains a critical holistic approach for environmental conservation worldwide. The knowledge practiced by various communities interlinks their natural ecosystems and the services leveraged from them. This study assessed the role of Rendille Indigenous knowledge in the environmental conservation of Olea Africana, Terminalia brownii, Teclea nobilis, and Hyphaena compressa in Marsabit County. The specific objectives were: to find out the cultural use of the selected tree species in Marsabit County, to assess the role of the Rendille indigenous knowledge in the conservation of the selected tree species, to establish the challenges faced by the conservation of the selected tree species in Marsabit County, to determine the impacts of selected tree species on a sustainable livelihood in Marsabit County, and to assess the conservation status and tree species harvesting of the selected species towards ecosystem conservation in Marsabit County. The study employed a descriptive exploratory research design. Stratified sampling and probability sampling aided the rationale for sampling respondents. The data was coded and analyzed by the use of excel and SPSS, which generated tables, graphs, and charts to communicate the results. The study found that the Rendille community uses indigenous knowledge of Teclea nobilis to make bows and arrows that signify braveness. Despite the conservation measures, the trees are faced with challenges such as charcoal burning (84.4%), traditional medicine (77.3%), and change in climatic variability (73.4%). Other indigenous tree cultural uses included: Hyphaena compressa, which represented peace and was a sacred tree; Olea africana, which was used in weddings and milk preservation; and Terminalia brownii, which has a pleasant scent and represents purity, among others. The study recommends the following: creation of awareness, initiation of environmental management committee use of alternative fuel energy, litigation of conservation laws. Therefore, she finds that the indigenous knowledge (IK) of the Rendille community has a role in the conservation of the environmental ecosystems in Marsabit County and other indigenous communities in Kenya. The study recommends; Integration of Indigenous Knowledge (IK) with the formal education to enhance conservation of the mentioned tree species and localizing forest conservation laws and policies at communal set-up through participatory forest management where pastoral communities should act as key stakeholders.