Assessment of the Potential for Integration of Ecosystem Based Approaches and Local Indigenous Knowledge into Climate Change Adaptation in the Taita Hills, Kenya
The integration of indigenous knowledge and science through and ecosystem based adaptation provides a basis for the formulation of culturally acceptable and sustainable adaptation practices. This study aims to determine sustainable climate change adaptation strategies for the Taita Hills in Kenya and assess their potential for integration with ecosystem based adaptation. It uses a mixed methodology that involves literature review, participatory methods and household surveys. As a result it emerges that adaptation to climate variability and change in the Taita Hills, takes on both an anticipatory and reactive approach. The household survey indicates that 68% of the farmers have taken up climate change adaptation strategies. The study shows that the unpredictability of the long and short rainy seasons, the poor rainfall distribution within the seasons and inadequate rainfall during the growing season constitute their perception of climate change. However, with regards to farm water management as an adaptation strategy only 51% of the households have initiated farm water management measures. Furthermore, socioeconomic parameters such as farm sizes and dependency ratio render the households vulnerable to climate change. Finally, the Taita people possess sufficient indigenous knowledge for climate change adaptation that can be utilized together with EBA approaches for an integrated approach to climate change adaptation. The smallholder farmers’ in the Taita Hills possess sufficient knowledge on climate change adaptation. The study recommends the diversification of livelihoods by the smallholder farmers’ in the Taita Hills, the inclusion of the smallholder farmers in decision making regarding climate change adaptation practices, implementation of policies that have been validated through research and improvement of agricultural extension services to the smallholder farmers.