Monday, June 9, 2008

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The Narok District, located in southwestern Kenya, is one of eighteen districts in the country's Rift Valley Province. The primary inhabitants of the district, the Maasai, have traditionally been nomadic pastoralists. However, conversion of portions of their grazing and hunting grounds into national parks and game reserves, including Mara (Maasai Mara Game Reserve), Serengeti, and Tsavo, has posed a challenge to their way of life. Diminishing income from cattle raising and tourism activities has led to the conversion of Narok's fertile soils into productive agricultural lands. With World Bank estimates of US$0.75 per annum per hectare for cattle, US$5.5 for tourism and US$218.75 for farming, the tendency for grasslands conversion into to agricultural fields seems only logical to many. By 1987, more than 27 000 hectares (66 718 acres) of land had been leased to farmers, an increase from 18 000 hectares (44 478 acres) in 1973.

These two images reveal the changes that have taken place in the Narok grasslands area over the past three decades. In the 1975 image, agricultural expansion is just beginning, while the 2000 image shows the degree to which farmlands have expanded. View detailed information

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