The interplay of stakeholder incentives and continued thriving of the Maasai mara eco-cultural heritage

What: Identifying 1) which stakeholders with socio-economic incentives are acting to utilize the arid grasslands resources near Mara river in southwestern Kenya? and 2) what is the constellation of incentives of the grassland stakeholders and could we suggest alterations leading to increased alignment of incentives in this area?

How: By taking a disciplinary point of departure within social sciences in behavioral economy and organizational sciences we will conduct interviews with stakeholders to map out the incentive structure. Subsequently, we will conduct incentive surveys and micro-behavioral experiments (public goods experiments) in order to describe the individual stakeholder’s point of view and attitudes to share resources. The results from these investigations will offer a quantitative basis that -together with qualitative informant interviews- allow us to suggest managerial and organizational strategies to help preserve the unique eco-cultural system.

Why: The cultural and biological world heritage in this area relies on sufficient rain in the adjacent catchments and high mobility of both wildlife and livestock. If we can provide insight from an incentive-based organizational point of view to sustain structures that in turn increase resilience and robustness of this system, we may help continued existence when faced with dryer and more variable conditions. The charcoal production lowering the water due to forest degradation in the nearby catchment (Mau forest) is expected to cause dryer conditions in large parts of the Maasai Mara and Serengeti ecosystems.

When: To the extent possible the stakeholder interviews will be conducted in Denmark during spring 2016 (an initial interview were already done with David Noosaron -who is a Maasai and livestock owner). An interview with Jesper Stageggard representing a stakeholder of an Eco-tourism operator (i.e. expected to have strong incentives to preserve wildlife). The other stakeholder interviews (Mara North Conservany) will take place in the autumn 2016 in the Mara Rianda area as will the survey study and micro-behavioral experiments.

What’s next: The project will be a part of the large Maasai Mara Science and development Initiative and within this framework linked to a specific project , “Mapping the degree of fencing in Mara North Conservation” looking into the more detailed spatial development. This project then in turn will leverage a larger application on the degradation of the land tenure system.

Project period: 2016

Project manager: Lars Bach

Project participants:

Mette Løvschal, Aarhus University

Nancy Adagala, Maasai Mara University

Dorthe Døjbak Haakonsson, Aarhus University

Panos Mitkidis, Aarhus University