ECOLOGICAL MANAGEMENT OF THE MAU CATCHMENT AREA AND IT’S IMPACT ON LAKE NAKURU NATIONAL PARK
Keywords:Ecosystem, catchment, natural resources, conservation, re-forestation, waste management, conflicts
The purpose of this research is to evaluate the impact of human activities in the Mau catchment area and Lake Nakuru National Park. The increase in human population has led to increased pressure and diminishing of natural resources such as forests, grassland and water. This has led to conflicts over these resources. Developments in Nakuru town and other urban centers have contributed to pollution of Lake Nakuru National Park through the disposal of industrial and domestic wastes into the lake. These impacts are manifested through erosion, high silt loads, agro‐chemicals, urbanization, degradation, deforestation, encroachment into sensitive habitats and impacts of climate change.Data collection was carried out using interviews and questionnaires .The population size was 4960 and the derived sample size was 138. The random and purposeful sampling was used for data collection. The Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) statistical software was used in the analysis.The results indicated that natural resources were diminishing due to the practiced land‐uses and population increase. This has led to an increased demand for the scarce resources leading to overexploitation and to human ‐ human and human ‐wildlife conflict. This has a negative impact on Lake Nakuru since rivers were dryingup due to deforestation, sedimentation, sand harvesting, waste water, storm water drainage, solid wastes which have polluted the lake. Most of the rivers draining into the lake have dried up during the dry seasons due to deforestation of the Mau Catchment area.There is the need for concerted efforts to manage the Mau catchment area sustainably through conservation initiatives, sustainable farming, reforestation, agro‐ forestry, energy, and water and soil conservation methods. Farmers should be encouraged to increase tree cover through carbon trading.