Local adaptation strategies against climate change among the oscillating agro-pastoral Maasai communities, Tanzania

Paper Details

Research Paper 25/09/2022
Views (377) Download (46)

Local adaptation strategies against climate change among the oscillating agro-pastoral Maasai communities, Tanzania

Paschal John Seni, Mateso Said, Justina Kiwango
J. Bio. Env. Sci.21( 3), 89-98, September 2022.
Certificate: JBES 2022 [Generate Certificate]


This study assesses the pastoral Maasai adaptation to climate changes in Losinyai, Orjoro no.5 and Shambarai Sokoni Wards in Simanjiro District. Data were collected using household surveys, key informant interviews and documentary reviews. Data were coded and analysed using Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS), where both descriptive and inferential statistical techniques were applied. The results indicate an annual fluctuation of both rainfall and temperature in the study area. The major drivers of these changes are deforestation and charcoal making, and overstocking, which impose high pressure on land resources in the study area, leading to loss of grazing land, drought, land-use conflicts, and water sources. Initiatives taken by Pastoral Maasai to cope with the situation include moving cattle to wetland areas, pasture restoration, buying hay, destocking and keeping resistant breeds. The measures suggested to improve the traditional strategies include opening the cattle grid, providing grass seeds and modern livestock keeping education. The study recommends the need to control keeping small herds of cattle, integrate land use plans, and advance the current community by-laws that will prevent encroachment of the cattle grid from enabling the movement of livestock to resource points during drought conditions. The results of this study are helpful to advance our policies and practices, which are beneficial to increasing the resilience of local communities to climate change.


Adhikari U, Nejadhashemi AP, Herman MR. 2015. A Review of Climate Change Impacts on Water Resources in East Africa. Transactions of the ASABE 58(6), 1493-1507. https://doi.org/10.13031/trans.58

Akinnagbe OM, Irohibe IJ. 2015. Agricultural adaptation strategies to climate change impacts in Africa: a review. Bangladesh Journal of Agricultural Research 39(3), 407-418. https://doi.org/10.3329/ bjar.v39i3.21984

Cohen AS, Stone JR, Beuning KRM, Park LE, Reinthal PN, Dettman D, Scholz CA, Johnson TC, King JW, Talbot MR, Brown ET, Ivory SJ. 2007. Ecological consequences of early Late Pleistocene megadroughts in tropical Africa. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 104(42), 16422-16427. https://doi.org/doi:10.1073

Galvin KA, Thornton PK, Boone RB, Sunderland J. 2004. Climate variability and impacts on east African livestock herders: the Maasai of Ngorongoro Conservation Area, Tanzania. African Journal of Range & Forage Science 21(3), 183-189. https://doi.org/10.2989/10220110409485850

Gan TY, Ito M, Hülsmann S, Qin X, Lu XX, Liong SY, Rutschman P, Disse M, Koivusalo H. 2016, Possible climate change/variability and human impacts, vulnerability of drought-prone regions, water resources and capacity building for Africa. Hydrological Sciences Journal, 61(7), 1209-1226. https://doi.org/10.1080/02626667.2015.1057143

Hemp A. 2005. Climate change‐driven forest fires marginalize the impact of ice cap wasting on Kilimanjaro. Global Change Biology 11(7), 1013-1023. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2486.2005.00968.x

IPCC. 2014. AR5 IPCC Whats in It for Africa. In Available at: http://cdkn.org/wp-content/uploads/ 2014/04/AR5_IPCC_Whats_in_it_for_Africa.pdf.

Kashaigili JJ. 2010. Assessment of groundwater availability and its current and potential use and impacts in Tanzania.

Kshatriya M, Kifugo S, Msoffe F, Neselle M, Said MY. 2002. Novel Forms of Livestock and Wildlife Integration Adjacent To Protected Areas in Africa–Tanzania; Mapping Land Cover Changes in Simanjiro and Monduli Districts. International Livestock Research Institute. FAO Report on GEF Tanzania project. Rome (Italy): FAO.

Lekule TA. 2011. Pastoralist adaptaton to climate change in Monduli District The University of Dodoma]. Dodoma, Tanzania.

Lyon B, DeWitt DG. 2012. A recent and abrupt decline in the East African long rains. Geophysical Research Letters 39(2). https:// doi.org/10.1029/2011GL050337

Mckenzie JM, Mark BG, Thompson LG, Schotterer U, Lin PN. 2010. A hydrogeochemical survey of Kilimanjaro (Tanzania): implications for water sources and ages. Hydrogeology journal 18(4), 985-995. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10040-009-0558

Mekasha A, Tesfaye K, Duncan AJ. 2014. Trends in daily observed temperature and precipitation extremes over three Ethiopian eco-environments. International Journal of Climatology 34(6), 1990-1999. https://doi.org/https://doi.org/10.1002/joc.38

Mengistu D, Bewket W, Lal R. 2014. Recent spatiotemporal temperature and rainfall variability and trends over the Upper Blue Nile River Basin, Ethiopia. International Journal of Climatology 34(7), 2278-2292. https://doi.org/https://doi.org/10.1002/joc.3837

Metzger MJ, Rounsevell MDA, Acosta-Michlik L, Leemans R, Schröter D. 2006. The vulnerability of ecosystem services to land use change. Agriculture, ecosystems & environment 114(1), 69-85. https://doi.org/https://doi.org/10.1016/j.agee.2005.11.

Mitchell SA. 2013. The status of wetlands, threats and the predicted effect of global climate change: the situation in Sub-Saharan Africa. Aquatic sciences 75(1), 95-112.

Munishi LK, Lema AA, Ndakidemi PA. 2015. Decline in maize and beans production in the face of climate change at Hai District in Kilimanjaro Region, Tanzania. International Journal of Climate Change Strategies and Management 7(1), 17-26. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJCCSM-07-2013-0094

NBS T. 2012. Population and housing census: population distribution by administrative areas. Ministry of Finance, Dar es Salaam.

NBS T. 2018. Population estimates by districts for the year 2016 and 2017. [Report]. N. B. o. Statistics.

Nyembo LO, Larbi I, Mwabumba M, Selemani JR, Dotse SQ, Limantol AM, Bessah E. 2022. Impact of climate change on groundwater recharge in the lake Manyara catchment, Tanzania. Scientific African 15, e01072. https://doi.org/ 10.1016/j.sciaf.2021.e01072

Omambia AN, Shemsanga C, Hernandez IAS. 2017. Climate change impacts, vulnerability, and adaptation in East Africa (EA) and South America (SA). Handbook of climate change mitigation and adaptation. Springer International Publishing Switzerland 749-799.

Opiyo FEO, Mureithi SM, Ngugi RK. 2011. The Influence of Water Availability on Pastoralist’s Resource Use in Mwingi and Kitui Districts in Kenya. Journal of Human Ecology 35(1), 43-52. https://doi.org/10.1080/09709274.2011.11906389

Otte I, Detsch F, Mwangomo E, Hemp A, Appelhans T, Nauss T. 2016. Multidecadal trends and interannual variability of rainfall as observed from five lowland stations at Mt. Kilimanjaro, Tanzania. Journal of Hydrometeorology 18(2), 349-361. https://doi.org/10.1175/JHM-D-16-0062.s1

Pachauri RK, Allen MR, Barros VR, Broome J, Cramer W, Christ R, Dubash NK. 2014. Climate change 2014: synthesis report. Contribution of Working Groups I, II and III to the fifth assessment report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change [Report]. IPCC 151).

Roever CL, DelCurto T, Rowland M, Vavra M, Wisdom M. 2015. Cattle grazing in semiarid forestlands: Habitat selection during periods of drought1. Journal of Animal Science 93(6), 3212-3225. https://doi.org/10.2527/jas.2014-8794

Rukwaya J. 2016. Climate change impacts and adaptation methods practiced by small scale farmers: A case of Mkuranga district, coast region, The University of Dodoma].

Said M, Komakech HC, Munishi LK, Muzuka ANN. 2019. Evidence of climate change impacts on water, food and energy resources around Kilimanjaro, Tanzania. Regional environmental change 1-14. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10113-019-01568-7

Salekwa L, Nnko H, Ngonyoka A, Estes A, Agaba M, Gwakisa P. 2014. Relative abundance of tsetse fly species and their infection rates in Simanjiro, Northern Tanzania. Livestock Research for Rural Development 26, 12.

Sanga GJ, Moshi A, Hella J. 2013. Small scale farmers’ adaptation to climate change effects in Pangani River Basin and Pemba: challenges and opportunities.

Shah T. 2009. Climate change and groundwater: India’s opportunities for mitigation and adaptation. Environmental Research Letters 4(3), 035005.

Shemsanga C, Anne NO, Yansheng G. 2010. The cost of climate change in Tanzania: impacts and adaptations. Journal of American Science 6(3).

Singh RD, Kumar CP. 2014. Impact of climate change on groundwater resources. National Institute of Hydrology.

URT N. 2012. Population and Housing Census: Population Distribution by Administrative Areas.

William C. 2003. The implications of changes in land use on forests and biodiversity: a case of the” Half Mile Strip” on Mount Kilimanjaro, Tanzania. LUCID Working Paper.