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Land Use Economics in the Mara Area of the Serengeti Ecosystem

Land Use Economics in the Mara Area of the Serengeti Ecosystem

Chapter:
(p.379) Thirteen Land Use Economics in the Mara Area of the Serengeti Ecosystem
Source:
Serengeti III
Author(s):
Mike Norton-GriffithsMohammed Y. SaidSuzanne SerneelsDixon S. KaeloMike CoughenourRichard H. LampreyD. Michael ThompsonRobin S. Reid
Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226760353.003.0013

The northern part of the Serengeti/Mara ecosystem falls within the two Kenyan districts of Narok and Trans Mara. Within these two districts, major land use changes have been clear for quite some years. Previous work indicates that losing what are called the group ranches that surround the Maasai Mara National Reserve and the Mara Triangle could cause a permanent loss of perhaps 20% of the migratory wildebeest, which in turn could trigger major changes in the Serengeti ecosystem itself. These changes in land use are perplexing in view of the large revenues generated from wildlife tourism which should encourage investment in conservation on the part of landowners rather than land development. This chapter examines the apparent contradiction between the revenues generated by wildlife, on the one hand, and the land use changes initiated by the Maasai on the other. The objective is to describe the economic conditions of the Mara portion of the Serengeti ecosystem within which individual economic agents—Maasai households—are making decisions about land use investment and development.

Keywords:   land use, Maasai households, wildlife tourism, Mara, land development, group ranches

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