Establishment and evaluation of a livestock early warning system for Laikipia, Kenya
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A new zone was added to the existing Livestock Early Warning System (LEWS), which is a subproject of the USAID Global Livestock Collaborative Research Support Program. LEWS uses the PHYGROW model and satellite imagery of weather and vegetation to estimate the availability of forage to livestock and wildlife. Drought advisories are then distributed to governments, development organizations, and pastoralists via the Internet, satellite radios, and written reports. The Laikipia zone was established in 2001 to provide drought early warning for the arid pastoral rangelands of the Ewaso Ngiro ecosystem in the Laikipia and southern Samburu Districts, Kenya. Field verification of PHYGROW estimates of standing crop was conducted in 2002. In addition, research was conducted to determine the ability of the warning system to provide significant advance notice of emerging drought conditions. Results of this study indicate that LEWS is capable of providing accurate estimates of forage availability on East African rangelands. There is also evidence that the use of LEWS advisories could accelerate drought response by pastoralists as much as three to seven weeks.
Ryan, Zola (2003). Establishment and evaluation of a livestock early warning system for Laikipia, Kenya. Master's thesis, Texas A&M University. Texas A&M University. Available electronically from