Consequences of integrating livestock and wildlife in an African savanna

Felicia Keesing, Richard S. Ostfeld, Sharon Okanga, Steven Huckett, Brett R. Bayles, Rebecca Chaplin-Kramer, L. Page Fredericks, Tyler Hedlund, Virginia Kowal, Heather Tallis, Charles M. Warui, Spencer A. Wood, Brian F. Allan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


Globally, most wildlife lives outside of protected areas, creating potential conflicts between the needs of wildlife and the needs of humans. East African savannas epitomize this challenge, providing habitat for wildlife such as giraffes and elephants as well as for people and their livestock. Conflicts over land use are common, leading to the assumption of a necessary trade-off between wildlife and livestock management. Here, we show that the integration of livestock and wildlife in a large region of central Kenya can have ecological benefits, reducing the abundance of ticks and improving forage. These ecological benefits can be complemented by economic ones when property owners derive income both from wildlife through tourism and from livestock through meat and dairy production. Our results suggest that under specific ecological, economic and social conditions, integrating livestock with wildlife can provide benefits for the environment and for human well-being in African savannas.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)566-573
Number of pages8
JournalNature Sustainability
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 1 2018

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank H. Kiai, K. Age, A. Mariki, J. Keesing Ostfeld and numerous enumerators for assistance with data collection, and V. Obiero for assistance with data entry. We extend our great appreciation to the owners, managers, staff members and residents of the properties we surveyed for allowing us to work on their land, and for welcoming and assisting us. We thank the management and staff of Ol Pejeta Conservancy, Lewa Wildlife Conservancy, Mpala Research Centre and Laikipia Wildlife Foundation for their hospitality and for their facilitation of this work. This research was supported by the United States National Science Foundation (Coupled Natural and Human Systems award 1313822).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018, The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Nature Limited.


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