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Title:Ecological implications for Tana River basin forestry and irrigated agriculture
Author:Johansson, Stig
Book title:When the grass is gone: development intervention in African arid lands
Geographic term:Kenya
Subjects:agricultural projects
Abstract:The majority of irrigation schemes in Africa are still virtually devoid of trees, despite a high demand for fuelwood as well as other forest-related products. Because not enough attention has been paid to integrating forestry aspects, irrigation schemes often create development induced desertification of vast areas surrounding the schemes. Currently the only irrigated forestry plantations and research on forestry in irrigated agriculture in Kenya are located at the Bura Irrigation Settlement Project. This paper deals with some of the ecological and social implications of the development of the Tana River basin in eastern Kenya, with special emphasis on forestry at the Bura Irrigation Settlement Project in the lower Tana basin. The upstream developments on the Tana have been dictated by national interests, chiefly economic and political, which neglected ecological implications. The ecological effects of water flow regulation threaten the existence of the floodplain forest and the socioeconomic effects are felt downstream at district, village and household levels. Upstream dams have also partly contributed to the poor performance of the Bura Irrigation Scheme. The author argues that, if environmental considerations carry any weight in irrigation development, then forestry has to become an integral part of both planning and implementation. Furthermore, the ecological effects of development efforts should be analysed in advance. Bibliogr.