ACC's encompassing view of science means that all forms of knowledge either from natural sciences, social sciences or indigenous knowledge systems (IKS) are used in its conservation efforts. In addressing the above issues, ACC implements the following themes under its conservation research program: assembling and building a better picture of conservation issues from all knowledge sources; illuminating our understanding using the insights for the sustainable management of natural resources; developing of specific technical skills, techniques and tools that fosters conservation of African biodiversity; using knowledge systems in enabling ACC to improve district and national capacity to assess the threats to biodiversity in Kenya and implement verifiable and replicable solutions; and developing of ACC as a conservation hub that attracts researchers and programs that help local communities acquire the knowledge and technical skills for managing biodiversity and natural resources productively and sustainably.
ACC works with local communities who live in areas endowed with some of the best natural resources and wildlife. Many of these communities either lack the awareness of the potential of these resources or simply lack the capacity to productively and sustainably manage them. The effect of these have been the gradual degradation of the natural resource base, wildlife poaching and other illegal killings or in-migration into these areas by speculators to displace the local people. ACC therefore works with such communities (at local and national levels) in taking stewardship of the wildlife and natural resources in their areas and managing them sustainably. To fulfil this, ACC empowers communities to plan, design, and establish functioning local management structures for the sustainable management of their natural resources.
Empowering communities In 2008 ACC initiated community resource assessors (RA) program through the Dutch grant to empower communities to assess their resources. Since then eighteen community members have been documenting historical events and collecting socio-economic and ecological data in Amboseli, Magadi and Mukogodo study sites. The synthesized information will form the basis for making decisions regarding their livelihood. The resource assessors will liaise with other researchers in their communities in bridging the gap between the communities and other researchers.
Management of data and information has been central for the RA program. For the RAs to adequately manage data/information they collect, computer skills are essential. Earlier the RAs had been trained in data collections before going to the field. Later Conservation Research Program at ACC further trained them in basic computer skills to facilitate data management at the site. They were provided with laptops to use in the field. This has enabled the RAs to update electronic database in the field and keep a record of their activities through writing reports. On site data/information management ensures availability and easy access by community members and collaborators in the area. By so doing RAs will be better prepared for feedback workshops to the communities.
ACC has produced an elephant suitability map of the South Rift, plotting out areas most suitable for elephants, the wet and dry season movement pathways, potential sanctuary areas and no-go areas. Read more