Pastoralism in Laikipia, KenyaLaikipia, Kenya

Background 1

In 2008, the Laikipi Wildlife Forum initiated a 10-year rangeland management program in the area surrounding Mount Kenya, which emphasized rehabilitating bare land across the district to build the region’s resource base and reduce competition for natural resources, such as pasture, land and water.

The program involved moving the animals through the landscape on basis of a pre-determined sequence according to water availability, grazing competition, distance, and other factors. Most importantly, grazing animals were gathered into tight herds to minimize soil disturbance and to graze different sections of the landscape each day to prevent overgrazing.

Demonstrations proved the value of properly managed herds, allowing plants to regenerate, and led to community planning and the successful implementation of a grazing plan for 6,000 cattle and 3,000 sheep and goats in their dry season reserve.

Relationship to CSA

The successful land restoration can be attributed to the focus on enhancing the four ecosystem processes that together determine ecosystem health and productivity, namely (i) the water cycle, (ii) the mineral cycle, (iii) energy flow and (iv) plant and living communities. The project contributes to all three climate-smart agriculture (CSA) pillars:

  • Productivity: The immediate results included: improved land health, livestock survival and productivity, youth involvement and community unity.
  • Adaptation: Planned grazing increases the soil surface protection by living and decomposing vegetation, increases soil organic carbon and supports wider soil ecosystem services, making the entire system more resilient to climate change.
  • Mitigation: This initiative is reversing a long-term trend of carbon release from soil to atmosphere. According to the Food and Agriculture Organisations of the United Nations (2013), rangelands have low carbon sequestration rates on a per unit basis, compared with more highly productive pastures. However, because of their vast area, they could capture 2 - 4 % of annual anthropogenic GHG emissions on a global basis (i.e. 20% of the CO2 released annually from global deforestation and land-use change).
Impact and lessons learned
  • Land degradation is primarily a social issue rather than a technical one, and involves a number of key, interconnected elements that have at least four different characteristics: personal, relational, collective, systemic (structural).
  • No one issue can be sustainably tackled in isolation. Each situation compromises a complex ‘whole’ composed of interconnected social, environmental and economic dimensions.


  • 1

    FAO. 2013a. Climate-Smart Agriculture: Sourcebook. Rome, Italy: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. Between now and 2050, the world’s population will increase by one-third. Most of these additional 2 billion people will live in developing countries. At the same time, more people will be living in cities. If current income and consumption growth trends continue, FAO estimates that agricultural production will have to increase by 60 percent by 2050 to satisfy the expected demands for food and feed. Agriculture must therefore transform itself if it is to feed a growing global population and provide the basis for economic growth and poverty reduction. Climate change will make this task more difficult under a business-as-usual scenario, due to adverse impacts on agriculture, requiring spiralling adaptation and related costs.

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CCAFS Climate-Smart Agriculture 101

The basics

Climate-smart agriculture (CSA) is an integrative approach to address these interlinked challenges of food security and climate change, that explicitly aims for three objectives:

A. Sustainably increasing agricultural productivity, to support equitable increases in farm incomes, food security and development;

B. Adapting and building resilience of agricultural and food security systems to climate change at multiple levels; and

C. Reducing greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture (including crops, livestock and fisheries).

Entry points

Agriculture affects and is affected by climate change in a wide range of ways and there are numerous entry points for initiating CSA programmes or enhancing existing activities. Productivity, mitigation and adaptation actions can take place at different technological, organizational, institutional and political levels. To help you navigate these myriad entry points we have grouped them under three Thematic Areas: (i) CSA practices, (ii) CSA systems approaches, and (iii) Enabling environments for CSA. Each entry point is then described and analysed in terms of productivity, adoption and mitigation potential and is illustrated with cases studies, references and internet links for further information.

Develop a CSA plan

Planning for, implementing and monitoring CSA projects and programmes evolves around issues of understanding the context including identification of major problems/barriers and opportunities related to the focus of the programme; developing and prioritizing solutions and designing plans; implementation; and monitoring and evaluation. Most major development agencies have their own framework for project and programme formulation and management but CCAFS has developed a specific approach for planning, implementing and assessing CSA projects and programme called CSA plan. CSA plan was developed to provide a guide for operationalizing CSA planning, implementation and monitoring at scale. CSA plan consist of four major components: (1) Situation analysis; (2) Targeting and prioritizing; (3) Program support; and (4) Monitoring. evaluation and learning.


To meet the objectives of CSA, such as agricultural development, food security and climate change adaptation and mitigation, a number of potential funding sources are available. For instance, climate finance sources may be used to leverage agriculture finance and mainstream climate change into agricultural investments. This section offers an overview of potential sources of funding for activities in climate-smart agriculture (CSA) at national, regional and international levels and for a number of different potential ‘clients’ including governments, civil society, development organizations and others. Additionally, it includes options to search among a range of funding opportunities according to CSA focus area, sector and financing instrument.

Resource library

CSA Guide provides a short and concise introduction and overview of the multifaceted aspects of climate-smart agriculture. At the same time it offers links to references and key resources that allows for further investigations and understanding of specific topics of interest. In the resource library we have gathered all the references, key resources, terms and questions in one place for a quick overview and easy access that can be used as a part of or independently of the other sections of the website. The resource library is divided into six sections; (1) References – list all publications, links and blogs referred to on the website; (2) Tools – list all the CSA tools presented on the website; (3) Key terms – explains the most important and frequently used terms related to CSA; (4) Frequently asked questions (FAQ) – provides a rapid overview of the most common questions asked on climate-smart agriculture; (5) About – where you can find out more about the purpose and structure of, as well as on the organizations and authors behind the website; (6) Contact.

Case studies

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