One Two




Land use systems develop from the extensive use of the natural forest vegetation, via subsistence production to intensive market-oriented peri-urban production systems. Studies conducted along socio-economic gradients in Africa could show that land use intensification is generally associated with a loss in biodiversity, which has implications on the ecological and economic sustainability of such systems. A further degradation of biodiversity as a result of increasing pressure on land for agricultural and economic activities must be avoided or reversed. There is an urgent need to reconcile the growing economic needs with the increasing public concern for environmental issues through the development and implementation of environmental concepts that ensure sustainable land use.

Research activities that lead to the realization of sustainable land use concepts comprise in a first step the initial status quo analysis regarding the effect of anthropogenic activities on biodiversity and the effect of biodiversity on various human activities. Such analyses will lead in the second step to the development of a comprehensive model of anthropogenic impacts on biodiversity. This model provides a tool to prognose as to how a changing biodiversity affects various economic activities and as to how biodiversity will develop with changing human interventions. In a final step, concepts and tools for the sustainable conservation and management of biodiversity will be developed. Their implementation involves the participatory validation of the models, the creation of local knowledge networks and the development of a political and administrative support frame.

The research will focus on the Kakamega district of Kenya. The object of the study is a land use gradient centering on the Kakamega Forest from peri-urban land use systems with settlements and intensive plantation crops close to the city of Kakamega to the extensively used Kakamega forest margin (subsistence agriculture and agro-forestry). The subproject will (1) study the role of biodiversity on performance indicators of agricultural production and other economic activities, (2) determine the causative factors and social and economic implications of biodiversity and (3) propose options for the sustainable management of biodiversity