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FISH, FORESTS AND FUTURES; A ECOSYSTEMIC APPROACH FOR CULTURAL RECLAMATION ON MFANGANO ISLAND, KENYA.

MISS EMILY LOWERY, MLA


FISH, FORESTS AND FUTURES, AN ECOSYSTEMIC APPROACH FOR CULTURAL RECLAMATION. Part 1: PROJECT SYNOPSIS Part 2: CONTEXT Part 3: FOOTPRINTS AND PROJECTIONS; DESIGN CONSIDERATIONS Part 4: DESIGN FRAMEWORK

PART 1 PROJECT SYNOPSIS


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PROJECT SYNOPSIS. When I started looking into the potentials of a capstone project there were a couple defining drivers for me. I knew I wanted to travel abroad and I knew I wanted to work in a developing country dealing with natural resource scarcity and natural resource vulnerability. There are many overlooked communities, cultures and ecosystems across the world that are living in the same place they’ve always lived in, but as they look around their home, it is no longer the same. At the heart of it, I wanted to be in a place where people are directly tied with the land and where I could observe global, environmental trends first hand and address some of the impacts of those trends in the capstone project. My project takes place on MFANGANO Island in Lake Victoria, Kenya. The context is complex, the challenges are urgent and the resources available to address them are limited. The landscape that has defined their culture and allowed them to depend upon its resources has been rapidly altered and no longer functions as it once did. Over the last nine months, I’ve been working with an NGO on Mfangano called Organic Health Response, a group that supports community health by focusing on technology, social solidarity, and sustainability. This past winter, I spent one month on Mfangano studying the impact of deforestation on the island as well as the issues driving it. I held a meeting with the Council of Elders, the primary governing body on the island, which spurred a future series of meetings focused on deforestation. They’ve since formed a deforestation committee and have decided on areas to be deemed no-cut zones. I also earned the name: Desert Kicker. When I began this project my goal was, and still is, to work with OHR to offer potentials for reforestation that

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would provide a more beneficial integration of human need and ecological regeneration. This is a landscape where the land and the lake have been severely altered by human patterns. My intention was to propose a variety of ways in which plant growth, vegetative function, human value and human consumption can synchronize in a way that can be sustained. Allowing for the restoration of some of the natural systems of the island while meeting and nourishing the needs of human health and well-being. My design proposal is a framework of small scale strategies to combat some of the destruction to the land and the lake and create a safety net through economic, ecological and agricultural generation and benefit. The problems facing Mfangano are too monstrous and to be dealt with from a large scale, approach. It’s also culturally inappropriate. In this context, small, specific movements can drastically alter and repair a culture’s relationship with the landscape. Especially, a culture whose entire history is tied to the land that it depends upon in order to live. Through this lens, I explored how alternative methods of food and economic productivity can drive natural resource health by strengthening the connection between the land and the lake. In order to set up future strategies for reforestation, I looked at population growth and the baseline food and timber fuel footprint as a starting point for understanding the current subsistence land use impacts and resource scarcity. This project is a framework made up of 5 specific and far reaching strategies that can be used individually or as a whole. Each intervention is not an answer, but a method that is environmentally and economically effective. These strategies leverage the existing natural conditions of the island and it’s surroundings, such as slope, wind and vegetation while harnessing the environmentally destructive forces, such as

water hyacinth and goats in a way that can further strengthen the framework by providing alternatives to the current uses of food and fuel. Framework Strategies: 1)Food forests that extend into tree farm forests 2)Restorative aquaculture 3)Floating islands 4)Alternative energies for food and fuel 5)Implementation and education This framework is scalable; It can used individually or as a whole system. It can be individually activated or taken on by a family or an entire village. A large, set design would not be appropriate for this culture or this place, there are too many extreme external factors that would render that kind of plan obsolete. Instead, smaller, scalable, specific strategies are the most effective in meeting some of the food and economic needs as a means for restoring canopy. This framework that proposes movements that can drastically alter and repair the Suba people’s relationship with the landscape; These strategies provide economic and ecological benefit in a way that harnesses the strengths of the culture itself. This framework is not a solution to the monumental problems facing Mfangano, but it is a strategy of interventions that I can restore the landscape and shifting the relationship between the land the lake and the culture.

DRASTICALLY ALTERED

DESERT KICKER

CULTURAL LANDSCAPES

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PART 2 CONTEXT

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A BRIEF HISTORY OF MFANGANO, ISLAND. Mfangano sits eight miles west from mainland Kenya and is home to 20,000 people. It is the furthest west one can travel within Kenyan borders; the island’s geographic isolation and it’s people have been on the brink of total obscurity. The character of the community is rich and layered, with a recent history that began more than 300 years ago and an ancient history going back 2000 years. Yet, the introduction of an invasive species of fish altered the economy, gender roles and public health almost instantaneously. Today, food insecurity is a symptom of these larger issues, manifesting itself along the denuded and maize saturated hillsides of Mfangano. John Michuki, Kenyan Minister for Environment and Mineral Resources, summarizes the challenges faced by the people of the island: Kenyan’s livelihoods are closely linked to their access to natural resources. As our population increases and environmental quality continues to decline, there is an increased risk of social and economic destabilization, which will have significant impacts on overall national security. Rural people are among the most vulnerable and insecure in terms of poverty, health, food security, economic losses, and conflicts resulting from competitive access to natural resources, among other factors. While this is happening in many places across the world, Mfangano is a microcosm of what is happening on a global scale. In this respect, Mfangano Island is a continent and Lake Victoria is the ocean. With limited and degraded natural resources and a deluge of social and economic challenges, how does a culture overcome these hurdles and thrive in spite of them? Much of the Suba culture exists through an oral history. This history tells a story of a geographical convergence

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This history tells a story of a geographical convergence of the eastward flight, thirteen generations ago, of the Abakunta clans from present-day Uganda and the southward migration of the Luo from present-day Sudan. According to Suba oral history, King Junju of Uganda was killed by his brother Semakookiro with the help of two warriors, Witewe and Kiboye, of the Wakula clan. (Kenny, http://www.wwoof. org The Crossroads on Mfangano Island 1977, 278; Ayot 1979, 4). Historian Henry Ayot, using 23 years as a mean length of generation, calculates the date of this regicide around 1760. Wanting to tie up loose ends, Semakookiro had planned the death of his brothers (Salmen, 2000). Fortunately, Witewe and Kiboye were warned and fled with their clan to the uninhabited island of Mfangano. This is how the Abasuba came to the island. The island is unique, as it is one of only a few areas in the region where people still speak Suba. However, due to an inundation of external factors, the Abasuba are at risk of losing their traditions and their history. Today, the people of Mfangano struggle for livelihood and health. Over thirty percent of the population is infected with HIV/AIDS (SITE), one of the highest rates in the world, and with very limited access to treatment and support. The disease has decimated families, leaving many children orphaned. This severe stress on families limits their potential for income and food production and leaves the survival of their families in peril. Defined gender roles and a cash economy also highlight the strain on food security. Every household has depended on the mutualistic division of labor between male-dominated fishing and female-dominated farming. Yet while the food production of female farmers continues to go largely towards general household consumption, income and wages from fishing remains in the exclusive control of men who are not customarily obligated to disperse these funds to wives and children. When a family member becomes sick,

the household has the added pressure to compensate for the loss of wages, loss of household labor with additional attention and time needed for the care giving of the ill (Salmen, 2009). The residents of Mfangano are entirely dependent on the island’s natural resources. Food is provided by the lake or grown in the soils. Water is provided by the lake and carried atop one’s head uphill. Fuel for fire and timber for building is provided by the trees. Within the last sixty years, fish, forests and food production have significantly altered the environmental conditions of Mfangano. The introduction of a predatory invasive fish called Nile Perch has impacted the environmental resources of the island and the region tremendously. Lake Victoria, once one of the most biologically diverse lakes in the world, faces eutrophication and homogenization of fish populations. Fifteen years ago, it was thought that the native fish of Lake Victoria were in the midst of the first mass extinction of vertebrates that scientists have had the opportunity to observe (Raba, 1996). Without another food source, Nile Perch has evolved into cannibalism and soon runs the risk of extinction as well. Those who do fish Nile Perch sell to fish processing plants which then export the fish to foreign countries for a high price, thus making the cost of Nile Perch too expensive for locals to purchase. Without fish or the money to pay for fish, food insecurity therein becomes a tremendous strain and places the people of Mfangano in

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greater vulnerability. Another concern is the growing presence of deforestation along the hillsides and upon the mountain of Mfangano. Deforestation practices contribute to a decrease in canopy cover and rainfall while intensifying erosion and soil depletion. The primary causes of deforestation are survival responses due to the lack of food and fuel resources as island residents, currently, have no other way of meeting these needs. This includes clear cutting to convert land for agricultural production as well as cutting timber to be used for cooking fuel and building materials. Without alternatives for cooking fuel and food production, the forest canopy, soil integrity and hillside structure stand to disappear. Thus creating greater problems with food security that could lead to starvation due to land exhaustion and an inability to cook or grow food. The issue of water for irrigation and clean water for consumption is also left in question. Inability to irrigate crops means smaller yields and poor water quality leads to sickness, once again adding stress to families. The question I am currently asking is: Given the size of the population, the availability of land, the need for timber, the need for fuel, the need for food and the weight of disease, are there methods of reforestation that can replenish the forest canopy while providing earning power for residents and are there alternatives to cooking fuel and current food production that will help to facilitate reforestation?

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SITE LOCATION Mfangano Island sits on the eastern edge of Lake Victoria in the Nyanza Province, at the border of Kenya, Uganda and neighboring Tanzania in the Great Rift Valley of the East African Rift. The island is thirty nine square miles (sixty four square kilometers), just nine square miles less than that of San Francisco. Six per cent of the Lake’s surface area lies within Kenya, while the ratio in Uganda 45 percent and Tanzania is 49 percent (Osumo 2001). Its geographic distance from the mainland has allowed the island’s ecology to be somewhat protected from the over-population that is typical of this region, remaining isolated from mainland environment (McNulty, 2011). The island’s geographic isolation is coupled by its cultural isolation. The Suba, or Abasuba, people are an ethnic minority within Kenya and have lived in the Nyanza Province for over 300 years while remaining a minority since their arrival. Their limited numbers have left them particularly vulnerable to population changes. Like much of Africa, this region has undergone immense political and social upheaval since the arrival of European colonialists in the early 1900s. Kenya became an independent country, free of British rule, in 1963, over sixty years after their arrival. Beginning with British arrival in 1901 (Ayot, 1979), the Nyanza Province has experienced some of the worst poverty and disease epidemics in the country.

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WORLD

MPLS

LAKE VICTORIA

AFRICA AFRICA

EAST AFRICA

KENYA

MFANGANO ISLAND

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GEOLOGICAL HISTORY. The most important manifestations of this region’s geologic history began close to twenty million years ago, with the formation of the Great Rift Valley. During the Pliocene and early Pleistocene era tectonic activity created new plates by splitting apart old plates (Navritil, 2011). There are three major plates in Africa, the Nubian Plate which makes up most of Africa, a smaller plate that is pulling away, named the Somalian Plate and the Arabian Plate. The African and Somalian plates are moving away form each other and also away from the Arabian plate to the north (Guth and Wood, 2008). This activity has led to the unique formation of the Great Rift Valley, marked by volcanoes and dramatic topography. As molten continues to push against the earth’s crust it is suggested that the Great Rift Valley will eventually split to form a sea similar to that of the Red Sea (Guth and Wood, 2008).

Fault Lines

This volcanic activity is what shaped Mfangano. The soils are rich, volcaniclastic soils that are well drained and excellent for agricultural production.

Fault Lines

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ISLAND TOPOGRAPHY AND WATERSHEDS. Mfangano sits just west of Winam Gulf, the primary catchment basin within the Kenyan border of Lake Victoria. The island is rocky and steep with hills that form a small mountain, Mt. Kwitutu. The eastern end of the island has a narrow band of low-lying habitable land. The most heavily populated site is the eastern side of the island where the flattest land exists within the easiest access to water. A steep ridge hugs the eastern edge of the mountain, by the western end of the island this central, uplifted area has graded back down to lake level. This substantial topographical fluctuation limits how and where one can build as well as what materials one can move. Steep hillsides prevent the building of structures and limit irrigation practice for farming. As a result, the vast majority of residents who live on the eastern side of the island, the flattest area of the island, within a short distance to the lake. The western side of the island is topographically much more gradual and residents are not as physically restricted as eastern residents. The hillsides are also shaped by the island watersheds. There are three significant watersheds and over twenty smaller watersheds. These major watersheds run northwest, beginning at the island’s highest point. During the rain season, the greatest amount of water is discharged from the

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largest watershed, forming a stream. Despite the confluence of the three primary watersheds into the western side of the island, the eastern side of Mfangano faces greater hillside erosion than the western edge of the island due to slash and burn farming practices accompanied by monocropping of white maize.

Topography

Slopes over 40%

Streams

Slopes under 40%

Watersheds

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WEATHER PATTERNS. Within the region there are two rain seasons, long rains roughly in April, May, June and short rains in September and October (though the seasons are getting shorter/ have been inconsistent). These seasons determine when to plant, when to fish and when to harvest. These seasons have been narrated throughout Suba culture, driving ritual and depicted on rock art. Precipitation maps have historically recorded approximately 750mm - 1250mm (30in 49in)of annual rainfall (http://www.ilec.or.jp/ database/afr/afr-05.html). As a comparison, Minnesota annual precipitation ranges between 18 inches in the far northwest to more than 32 inches in the southeast. Rain is a integral element of daily life on Mfangano. When asked how one is doing in casual conversation, personal wellbeing is often based on the (lack of) presence of rain (Terrana, 2011). There are two sacred forests on the island, each with paintings from Mfangano’s original settlers. These paintings depict the cycle of rain and harvest on the island, literally illustrating its cultural importance while manifesting itself in ritual that is still performed to this day. Before the growing season, Abasuba participate in ritual cleansing and rainmaking rituals. Not everyone participates in rainmaking rituals - these are performed in the sacred forest, by male elders, traditionally by specific

Other rituals are related to the harvest; The male head of house must have sex with each wife, in the order that he married them. This is an important ritual to ensure good harvest and avoid chira (bad energy/luck) (Terrana, 2011). Mean regional annual temperature is approximately 23˚C (73.4˚F), with annual highs of 31°C and lows of 17°C (http://www.ilec.or.jp/database/afr/afr05.html). Experienced across the globe, recent and increasingly dramatic changes in climate are becoming more and more apparent. Mean global temperatures are predicted to increase by 1.4˚C 5.8˚C over the coming century (IPCC, 2001) which will cause changes in temperature, distribution of rainfall, the frequency and intensity of extreme weather events and sea-level rise (Murray and Orindi, 2005).

SEASONAL FLUX JAN

FEB

MAR

APR

MAY

JUNE

JULY

AUG

SEPT

OCT

NOV

DEC

DRY SEASON

RAINY SEASON

WATER LEVELS

SEASONAL LAKE POLLUTION LEVELS

SLASH SEASON

BURN SEASON

PLANT SEASON

NILE PERCH STOCK

MALARIA LEVELS

CICHLID STOCK

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SACRED FORESTS - SUBA STORIES The Suba are deeply spiritual people and their connection with god traditionally existed in nature, specifically in the forests of the island. The island’s forests are made up of Sacred Forests and non-Sacred Forests. The Sacred Forests are located at the homesteads of the early settlers and at the sites of significant moments in Suba history. Each Sacred Forest was representative of a clan and the forests, as a whole, represent the Suba tribe as a whole. Each Sacred Forest has a story representative of that particular forest.

MUSEE WAS WISE. POWER WAS NEVER PASSED THROUGH WOMEN, IT REMAINED WITH THE MEN. THAT IS WHY YOU NEVER GAVE YOUR WEAPONS TO YOUR DAUGHTER, BECAUSE SHE WOULD MARRY AND LEAVE YOUR COMPOUND, NEVER TO REINFORCE THE POWER OF THE FAMILY. MUSEE TRICKED HIS WIFE’S FATHER INTO GIVING HER THE FAMILY WEAPONS WHEN THEY MARRIED.

THE WAMAII WERE THE ONLY CLAN ON THE ISLAND TO INTERMARRY. THIS FACT MADE THEM A COMMUNITY OF COMMON GROUND, ALLOWING FOR MULTIPLE CLANS TO SETTLE DISPUTES ON THE ISLAND. MUGAMBAGEZA MEANS “TO SPEAK WELL,” THIS IS A CHARACTERISTIC OF THE WAMAII THAT LED TO PEACE AND SOLIDARITY BETWEEN MANY PEOPLE. IN MUGAMBAGEZA ONE SITS ON THE GROUND, AMIDST THE LEAVES, YOU ARE ONE WITH NATURE AND ONE WITH THE SPIRITS.

FOREVER DEEMING IT A PLACE OF PEACE.

CLAN Character Map

AFTER MUCH FIGHTING OVER LAND, CLAN MEMBERS DECIDED TO CALL FOR PEACE. ON THAT DAY, ATE AND DRANK TOGETHER, WHERE THEIR GRAND PARENTS WERE BURIED. THE TREES, LAND AND ANIMALS WERE THE EMBODIMENTS OF THE WAMAII CLAN ANCESTORS. THEY ATE MEAT AND TOOK WATER FROM THE KIENKWARI RIVER, DRANK IT AS IT WAS THE SWEAT OF THE SPIRITS, AND SHARED THAT WATER WITH EVERY CLAN MEMBER. SINCE THAT DAY, THE WAMAII HAVE NOT FOUGHT ABOUT LAND.

Musee

PEACEFUL FAMILY. B-Utende

Magrenge

Utende

Ndia Ulwe

Kirandu

Utengangoe

Utengangoe

Nuudu

Mugurura

Maga

Obunguhi

THE EARTH WAS BARREN. THE WIRAMBA WERE KNOWN TO BE WISE FISHERMAN AND CARETAKERS OF THE EARTH. THE WARWARII CALLED THE RAINS CAME AFTER THE THE WIRAMBA UP SACRIFICE AND THE PRAYERS TO UTENDE TO REPLENISH THE BARREN LAND.THE WIRAMBA THEN LIT A FIRE THAT MADE TO THE SPIRITS. WAS PASSED BETWEEN EVERY FAMILY ON THE ISLAND. THE FIRE THEN REPLENISHED AFTER SO LONG W E THE EARTH FROM WHICH THE WARWARII LIVED. WITHOUT RAIN, A

THE FIGHTING BETWEEN THE WAKINGA AND WISOKOLOA ENDED BECAUSE OF MUSEE. AS THE FIRST LEADER OF THE SUBA ON MFANGANO, MUSEE CALLED AN END TO THE FIGHTING BETWEEN THE TWO CLAN. THEY HAD JUST ESCAPED DEATH IN UGANDA, CAME THEY WERE LUCKY TO BE ALIVE. WHEN THE FIGHTING ENDED, T O THE CLANS MFANGANO BECAUSE OF KIINGA. HAD IT NOT BEEN FOR HIM, THE ABAKUNTA WOULD HAVE BEEN SLAUGHTERED BY SEMAKOOKIRO’S MEN UNTIL NOT ONE MAN OR CHILD WAS LEFT STANDING. KINGA OVERHEARD SEMAKOOKIRO’S PLOT AND RUSHED TO TELL WITEWE AND KIBOYE WHO LED THE ABAKUNTA IN THEIR ESCAPE FROM UGANDA. IT IS BECAUSE INTERMARRIED AND OF KINGA, THE DRUMMER, THAT THE ABASUBA OF KENYA MFANGANO SLOWLY ARE ALIVE TODAY. BEGAN TO BECOME A

Ivangano

Mugamba Geza

LARGE WHITE BULL WAS SACRIFICED EARLY IN THE MORNING, JUST AS THE SPIRITS WERE WAKENING TO THE RISING SUN. THE ELDERS COMMUNED WITH THE SPIRITS AND, AS SOON AS THEY STEPPED OUT OF KWITUTU, THEIR PRAYERS WERE ANSWERED AND A GREAT WASH OF RAIN POURED OVER THE ISLAND.

Jairo

Mugra Murowe

Sena

Kwitutu Nguna Mugambua

Kiuma

Kiusero

Witewe Makira Nyakendo

Kinga Nyakiamo Kitawi

SACRED Forest Locations

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MFANGANO BECAME MFANGANO AT IVANGANO. THE CLANS OF THE ISLAND WERE FIGHTING, ONCE MORE. MUSEE WAS TIRED OF THE FIGHTING. IN THE MIDDLE OF THE BATTLE, HE LAID HIS STAFF DOWN, THE CLANS FROZE AND KNEW THE TIME FOR FIGHTING HAD ENDED. ON THIS DAY, THEY RECONCILED THEIR DIFFERENCES AND GAVE MEANING TO THE ISLAND. NAMING IT MFANGANO, OR RECONCILIATION,

Taka KitawegaMayumba

ABASUBA stories of the Sacred Forests. Each forest has a story unique to the character of the surrounding clan. The Sacred Forests are one of the few physical histories of the Suba tribe.

Kitenyi

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PRIMARY FACTORS OF DEFORESTATION.

CHRISTIAN MISSIONARIES ARRIVE

SPIRITUAL PRACTICE SHIFTS

LUNGUNGU, FIRST COLONIAL CHIEF

SOCIAL HIERARCHY BREAKDOWN

SLEEPING SICKNESS OUTBREAK

WEAKENING SOCIAL STRUCTURE

GILL NETS INTRODUCED

INCREASE IN POTENTIAL EARNINGS

DHULUO ACCEPTED AND SPOKEN

SUBA CULTURAL DILUTION

CASH CROPS INTRODUCED

FOOD BASE OF CASH ECONOMY

SCHOOLS BUILT AND ESTABLISHED

SUBA CULTURAL DILUTION

1910

The tribe indigenous to Mfangano is the Suba. The Suba people came from Uganda over three hundred years ago and settled along the islands and coastline of Lake Victoria. The Suba have mainly been fisherman and maintained a barter economy prior to colonialism. They were deeply spiritual people and their connection with god existed in nature, specifically the forests of the island. In the late 1800‘s, colonialists arrived on the island. Immediately restructuring spiritual practice, social hierarchy and means of livelihood. God was taken out of the Sacred Forests and placed in a church. The economy shifted from a barter system to a cash system that was dependent on the extraction of natural resources; Placing individual livelihood gain above traditional social hierarchy and interdependency.

1920

1930

1940

1950

NILE PERCH INTRODUCED TO LAKE VICTORIA

1960 60,000 GILL NETS ON LAKE VICTORIA

FISHING IS MAIN FORM OF REGIONAL EMPLOYMENT

1970 BEGINNING OF INCREASED RATES OF HIV/AIDS

Their relationship with the land was further altered just sixty years ago when a new export fishing industry began and introduced an invasive species of fish, called Nile Perch, that altered the economy, social hierarchy and public health almost instantaneously. The island’s forests are quickly being exhausted as the unsustainable fishing industry is drying up and many are turning to the land as a survival

FOUNDATION OF REGIONAL CASH ECONOMY

1980

ONLY 1% OF NATIVE FISH LEFT IN LAKE VICTORIA

1990

COMPLETE CULTURAL BREAKDOWN

TRADITIONAL FOOD SOURCE IS ERADICATED

HEIGHT OF NILE PERCH FISHING MALE MIGRATION PURCHASING POWER AT ITS PEAK GREATEST HIV INFECTION RATES, FEMALE ECONOMIC DEPENDENCE ON MALES MALNUTRITION AND CHILD MORTALITY FIRST SIGNS OF DECREASE IN NILE PERCH POPULATION DECREASE IN POTENTIAL EARNINGS CICHLID POPULATION RESURGENCE OVERLOOKED TRADITIONAL FOOD SOURCE FIRST HIV/AIDS CLINICS ARRIVE NEW SOCIAL AWARENESS

2000

FISHING IS DRASTICALLY REDUCED INCREASED NUMBER OF FARMERS ROAD CONSTRUCTED INTERNET ACCESS COMES TO ISLAND

2010

FOOD CULTURAL

REDUCTION IN EARNING POTENTIAL INCREASED ECONOMIC AND FOOD INSECURITY GREATER ACCESS AND FINANCIAL POTENTIAL INFORMATIONAL ACCESS CREATES EARNING POWER

SEVERE DROUGHT, WINDS AND BURNING AGRICULTURAL LAND CAUSE FIRE THAT DESTROYS 10% OF REMAINING FORESTS

YEAR

ECONOMIC

WEAKENED FINANCIAL AND FOOD SECURITY

POPULATION 2000 4000 6000 8000 10000 12000 14000 16000 18000 20000 22000 24000 26000

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PRIMARY FACTORS OF DEFORESTATION. response to the lack of economic opportunity and need for food security. Future changes in demographic, economic and climate trends stand to significantly alter land use patterns driven by these survival responses and further exhaust already depleted available natural resources. When missionaries arrived in 1901, Mfangano had a population of 2000 people. Since that time, the island has grown to more than 10 times that size. Half of the population is under 18, most have only a primary school education and close to 40% are living with HIV/AIDS. These demographics are representative of the region as a whole. As the population grows in an area with little educational or employment opportunities, people are forced to make money any way they can. The community depends on opportunities with short-term gains in order to subsist. This comes in the form of clear cutting for charcoal, timber and cultivation agriculture. While men can almost always find support, women who are financially unsupported by their husbands, must still feed their family and do so by jamboya, sex in exchange for fish; thus contributing to the HIV/AIDS epidemic....... The main forms of employment are in fishing,

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in the form of clear cutting for charcoal, timber and cultivation agriculture.

1990 - 2000

While the local tribes had always depended on the fertility of the land to farm, and the lake for fish, the introduction of the Nile Perch quickly altered how one earned a living and depended on the land, shifting the focus from the land to the natural resources of the lake. Today, the Nile Perch population is verging towards extinction as its no longer has a substantial food source. The money made from the fishing of Nile Perch has dried up with the lake’s fish stock and people are turning to the land’s resources for economic and food subsistence. These survival responses have been an evolution of many factors; they are a reflection of the lack of economic and food security and are the primary causes of deforestation.

VEG. INCREASE VEG. DECREASE

1990 - 2005

VEG. INCREASE VEG. DECREASE

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DAY IN THE LIFE OF A TREE. As the population grows in an area with little educational or employment opportunities, people are forced to make money any way they can. Without any other form of income timber and charcoal are the currencies that allow a family to pay for secondary school, purchase a child’s uniform or build a home.

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ELEVATIONAL ENVIRONMENTAL OVERVIEW. The primary land use types can be broken up into four parts: Sacred Forests, Relictual Forests, Agricultural Land and Residential Areas. Mfangano is a dry, sub-tropical terrestrial system. This particular terrestrial system makes up 46% of all tropical forest systems and is the most endangered of any tropical forest on the planet. Due to it’s weather patterns and rich soil, dry, sub-tropical forests are optimal for agricultural use. Like many other developing countries with this terrestrial system, poor agricultural practices have exhausted the robust land available on Mfangano. Agricultural areas also separate land use types, disconnecting Sacred Forests from Relictual Forests and Relictual Forests from Residential Areas.

VEGETATION TYPES OLD GROWTH FOREST WOODLAND RELICTUAL FOREST

RESIDENTIAL SACRED FORESTS

LANTANA

MANGROVES WETLANDS RELICTUAL FORESTS

ELEVATIONAL LAND USE AGRICULTURAL LAND

SACRED FORESTS ENCROACHED CANOPY STEEP SLOPE CANOPY AGRICULTURAL RESIDENTIAL

RESIDENTIAL AREA

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POPULATION BASICS.

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FAMILY SIZE

YOUTH POPULATION

Each family has 6 members on average. Polygamy is common and most men have multiple wives. Each wife will bear about 4 children, or however many the husband can afford.

Half of the island’s population is <18 years old.

ANNUAL INCOME

COST OF SECONDARY SCHOOL

COST OF BUILDING A HOME

≈ $450

$400

$250

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PART 3 FOOTPRINTS AND PROJECTIONS; DESIGN CONSIDERATIONS

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WITH OR WITHOUT TREES. In order to anticipate the consequences to deforestation, it’s critical to explore three scenarios which help to depict those outcomes. Nile Perch is expected to disappear in the next 10 years. Without trees, we’d see fairly major desertification, which is already apparent on some areas of the island. A social hierarchy breakdown would evolve as there would be no real consistent way for people to support themselves. There would be a loss of cultural identity as the Sacred Forests that hold cultural history would be wiped out. The Elders, as the leading governing body and keepers of that history and leaders of the culture, would no longer be able to govern in the same manner. Essentially, with trees, the island gains financial independence. Without trees, the island becomes dependent on off-island parties for food and financial well-being. Increased poverty increases disruption to traditional cultural hierarchy, causing various social breakdowns.

DESERTIFICATION

LAKE EUTROPHICATION

ECONOMIC INSECURITY

FOOD INSECURITY

WITHOUT TREES MAINLAND DEPENDENCE

CULTURAL IDENTITY LOSS

The fishing industry dries up in next 10 years. Loss of the last 15 % of forest and woodland canopy follows loss of fish.

STATUS QUO Lake Victoria’s minimal fish stock is exhausted in the next 20 years. Added pressure to forest resources drives loss of forest and woodland canopy in next 15 years.

SOCIAL HIERARCHY

WITH TREES GENDER INEQUALITY

Forest resources create additional income to residents by exporting timber to off-island parties.

RISKY SEXUAL BEHAVIOR

RURAL-URBAN MIGRATION

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POPULATION GROWTH.

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KNOWN POPULATION

ASSUMED POPULATION AT 2.6% GROWTH RATE

2000

2010

2020

2030

20,000

25,200

31,700

40,000

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FOOD FOOTPRINT To gain a better understanding of land availability and resource scarcity it’s necessary to look at the land uses in relationship to the current and project population; thus setting the argument for better land use practices.

2000

2010

2020

2030

AVAILABLE LAND PER CAPITA 204’ X 204’

182’ X 182’

162’ X 162’

144’ X 144’

≈3/8th ha

≈1/3th ha

≈1/4th ha

≈1/20th ha

SUITABLE AGRICULTURAL LAND 160’ X 160’

143’ X 143’

127’ X 127’

114’ X 114’

≈1/4th ha

≈1/5th ha

≈1/7th ha

≈1/8th ha

LAND NOT SUITABLE FOR AGRICULTURE 127’ X 127’

≈1/7th ha

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113’ X 113’

≈1/9th ha

100’ X 100’

≈1/11th ha

89’ X 89’

≈1/12th ha

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FOOD FOOTPRINT

2000

2010

2020

2030

AREA OF LAND NEEDED TO FEED POPULATION USING CASH CROPS

5.9 ISLANDS

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7.5 ISLANDS

9.5 ISLANDS

11.9 ISLANDS

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FUEL FOOTPRINT The island has many species of trees, but to gain a better understanding of fuel usage and resource scarcity we explore the age and amount of acacias needed to supply a family with enough charcoal to last one year.

ACACIA GROWTH AS MEASUREMENT OF FUEL FOOTPRINT

≈ A single 3 yr. old thorn tree will produce ≈ 2 sacs of charcoal at 35kg each.

≈ One individual will use ≈ 1.2 kg/day (438 kg./yr.) OR 6.3 thorn trees each year. A family of 6 will use ≈ 7.2 kg/day (2628 kg./yr) OR 37 thorn trees each year. 46

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FUEL FOOTPRINT Acacias are some of the fastest growing trees on Mfangano. At three years of maturity, approximately two percent of the island would be needed to supply the entire population with charcoal from acacias. This means six percent of the island would need to be planted with acacia trees at all times. This is clearly a simplified look at the fuel footprint, especially as a large concern is the harvesting of slower growth tree for charcoal, but it begins to get at the demand for charcoal and the amount of land available to grow for it.

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2000

2010

2020

2030

AREA OF LAND NEEDED TO SUPPLY CHARCOAL TO THE POPULATION FOR ONE YEAR

.015% of island

.019% of island

.024% of island

.030% of island

117 ha

147 ha

186 ha

234 ha

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PART 3 DESIGN FRAMEWORK

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DESIGN FRAMEWORK In this project, Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m going to demonstrate a framework made up of 5 specific and far reaching strategies that can be used individually or as a whole. Each intervention is not an answer, but a method that is environmentally and economically effective. These strategies leverage the existing natural conditions of the island and itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s surroundings, such as slope, wind and vegetation while harnessing the environmentally destructive forces, such as water hyacinth and goats in a way that can further strengthen the framework by providing alternatives to the current uses of food and fuel. 1) Food forests that extend into tree farm forests 2) Restorative aquaculture 3) Floating islands 4) Alternative energies for food and fuel 5) Implementation and education This framework is scalable; they can used individually or as a whole system. They can be individually activated or taken on by a family or an entire village. A large, set design would not be appropriate for this culture or this place, there are too many extreme external factors that would render that kind of plan obsolete. Instead, smaller strategies are the most effective in meeting some of the food and economic needs as a means for restoring canopy.

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STRATEGY 1 - FOOD FORESTS INTO TREE FORESTS

0 YEARS

1st YEAR

EXISTING CONDITIONS

STRATEGY

OUTCOME

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Goat Monocropping disturbance

2 - 3 YEARS

PLANTING

Lantana monoculture

ESTABLISHMENT

Rotational Living Planting fast fences growing species goat & chicken grazing

Wind protection

Soil fertility

Manure collection

Mulch

Begin Planting slower intercropping growing high value trees

Post harvest Micro- Companion materials climates planting

5 - 7 YEARS

10 - 15 YEARS

GROWTH

Initial fast Continuous Rotational growing tree harvesting of fast farming harvest growing trees.

Selective harvest

LIMITED PRODUCTIVITY

Continuous planting of fast growing trees.

Soil Begin Nutritional Forest intercropping food access forage stabilization crops

Harvest of higher value trees Canopy opens for sun heavy crops

25+ YEARS FULL PRODUCTIVITY

Plot becomes food production focused

Canopy cover extends

Canopy cover extends

High value tree harvest

Crops valued by weight

Connection to relictual forests

Canopy outside plot closes

Selective harvesting

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0 YEARS EXISTING CONDITIONS

Goat Monocropping disturbance

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Lantana monoculture

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1ST YEAR PLANTING In the first year of planting a plot can be cleared, thorn fences can be built to protect the plot and living fences can be planted directly behind the non-living fence. Eventually this will establish itself as a tall, thick hedge, it will create wind protection and when using fast growing species, it can then be harvested as the plot expands. Micro walls, using small rocks to curb erosion and micro berms will help to begin stabilizing the soil. Planting fast growing species within the plot, like various acacias and sialas will also help to establish soil fertility. Lastly, using manure of goats which will be used as means of rotational grazing to clear the lantana and chickens as means to fertilize.

Rotational Living Planting fast fences growing species goat & chicken grazing

Wind protection

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Soil fertility

Manure collection

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2-3 YEARS PLANTING ESTABLISHMENT By the 2-3 year, The plantings have been established and the farmer has already begun intercropping. One example would be planting valuable passion fruit vines on acacia. Passion fruit vines can be harvested in about a years time and depend on nitrogen fixing plants/trees in order to produce. If you were to plant 36 passion fruit vines (which can produce up to 4 times a year) with each plant producing between 3.5 8 kilograms per season, you can stand to earn $119 for a single seasonâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s harvest. This is more than a third of the average annual income. The farmer can begin to selectively harvest some of the sialas and acacias and you can use the post harvest materials as mulch and fodder. Through the use of water pockets, micro swales and micro berms you can create microclimates for more water dependent trees, like fruit trees and slower growing, specialty trees like rosewood or ebony.

Mulch

Begin Planting slower intercropping growing high value trees

Post harvest Micro- Companion materials climates planting

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5-7 YEARS GROWTH By the 5th-7th year the farmer can continue selectively planting and harvesting at a higher value and replanting with higher value trees or crops, such as cashew trees that need an open canopy to flourish. In this way rotational farming is also being practiced. Crops, like cashew trees are most valuable if theyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re measured by weight. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s also at this time when mango trees and banana trees will begin regularly producing. If you were to have 10 mango trees you could earn $360 in one season and 10 banana trees could earn $280 in a year. As parts of the canopy begins to close, you can also be planting traditional foraging vegetables that can last through the dry season. Within this time frame that you can really begin the tree farming out of the food forest. Expanding the edge and beginning the process all over again within that edge.

Initial fast Continuous Rotational growing tree harvesting of fast farming harvest growing trees.

Selective harvest

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Continuous planting of fast growing trees.

Soil Begin Nutritional Forest intercropping food access forage stabilization crops

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10-15 YEARS LIMITED PRODUCTIVITY By the 10th - 15th year, you can begin to harvest some of the higher value, slower growing trees, like olea africana and avocado trees. While Olea Africana can be harvested at a good price for timber, avocado trees, whose harvest is valued by weight. If one plants 5 avocado trees the earning potential is about $720 per season. As fruit trees need a great deal of water and take up quite a bit of nutrients the nearby tree farming extension of the food forest will provide a great deal of leaf litter and mulch. The rotational grazing of goats on nearby lantana will also serve as a fertilizer, so will the presence of chickens. At this forested edge will also be connecting to other canopy cover (depending on the size of the plot).

Harvest of higher value trees Canopy opens for sun heavy crops

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Plot becomes food production focused

Canopy cover extends

Crops valued by weight

Connection to relictual forests

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25 YEARS+ FULL PRODUCTION By the 25th year of full production, significantly increasing earning power while each of these processes continually rotating and the edge of the food forest continues to expand to form connections between canopy patches.

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Canopy cover extends

High value tree harvest

Canopy outside plot closes

Selective harvesting

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CREATING CANOPY SUPPORTING METHODS

WATER CONVEYANCE

Water Pockets

Micro - Swales

Micro - Channels

Water Storage

BUILDING SOIL

Living Fences

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Micro - Walls

Micro - Berms & Soil Stabilizers

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NON-PHASING - STRATEGIES

AQUACULTURE

FLOATING ISLANDS

CANOPY COVER Chicken Coop Growing Beds Chicken Manure

SOIL FERTILITY

Manure as Fish Tank algael producer

RESTORING CICHLID POPULATION HABITAT RESTORATION MITIGATING EUTROPHICATION

Algae as Fish Food

CANOPY COVER Cooling Unit Shed

INCREASED CANOPY COVER SOIL STABILIZATION SUSTAINABLE FUEL SOURCE INCREASED POTENTIAL EARNINGS

Micro-Climates

Companion Planting

Intercropping

Fast Growing Species

Evapotransporation

Wind

Water Basin

ALTERNATIVE ENERGIES

SOIL FERTILITY INCREASED POTENTIAL EARNINGS INCREASED ACCESS TO PROTEIN INCREASED POTENTIAL EARNINGS ADDITIONAL NUTRITIONAL FOOD SOURCE LONGER FOOD SHELF LIFE Water hyacinth

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Sun Dried Hyacinth

Hand Grinder

Briquettes

Traditional Stove

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STRATEGY 2 & 3 - RESTORATIVE AQUACULTURE AND FLOATING ISLANDS. The aquaculture system was designed by Mookie Tierney, in collaboration with students at UC Berkely, UCSF and Oxford. This is a system of fish farming and hydroponic agriculture that will be implemented on Mfangano this summer. This system not only to grow produce, but will grow fish as a needed sources of protein. In its current design, the aquaculture system is a monoculture of native tilapia, however, I’m proposing a system that harvests a variety of edible cichlids with a certain percentage being returned to the lake in an effort to restore the cichlid population. (There is no concrete data on Lake Victoria’s fish stock, one can only measure population growth on a site scale as there is no way to measure this intervention’s impact on the local cichlid population, but it would be one of the first cichlid population pilot programs that could act as a Kenyan based regional example/ learning tool). The aquaculture system can then be paired with floating papyrus islands. These floating papyrus islands will support the restorative aquaculture system by providing habitat for reintroduced cichlids within the first 20 meters of lakeshore while acting as physical barrier to the predatory fish and fisherman. These islands will aerate the water and filter increased nutrient loading. They’re especially good at absorbing nitrogen.

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As there is no recorded data on nutrient load of this area of Lake Victoria, I can’t assume that this will have any measured large scale impact. However, the habitat creation and barrier effect that these islands offer are the real benefit to the lake and the aquaculture system and can be further harvested for furniture material or for thatching roofs.

AQUACULTURE

FLOATING ISLANDS

CANOPY COVER Chicken Coop Growing Beds Chicken Manure

SOIL FERTILITY

Manure as Fish Tank algael producer

Algae as Fish Food

RESTORING CICHLID POPULATION HABITAT RESTORATION MITIGATING EUTROPHICATION

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STRATEGY 4 - ALTERNATIVE ENERGIES The alternative energies for food and fuel is a two part system that effectively limits the pressure on natural resources by maximizing potential of harvested products and uses an invasive species of plant as an alternative fuel to charcoal. 1) Post harvest technologies - As almost 50% of harvest is lost due to lack of refrigeration or storage ability, the financial potential of the food forest harvest can be better actualized using the cool shed unit. This storage and refrigeration structure uses the passive cooling techniques and takes advantage of the islandâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s consistent average 5.2 m/s wind speed to further cool the unit that will extend the harvest shelf life for up to three months (depending on the crop) and allow mothers to feed their families and/or earn up to 8 times the going rate for produce during the dry season when island and mainland food insecurity effects everyone.

CANOPY COVER Cooling Unit Shed Micro-Climates

Companion Planting

Intercropping

SOIL FERTILITY

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Evapotransporation Wind

Fast Growing Species Water Basin

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STRATEGY 4 - ALTERNATIVE ENERGIES 2)Water hyacinth â&#x20AC;&#x201C; an invasive aquatic plant that is a large contributor to the eutrophication of the lake and destroys habitat of aquatic life endemic to the lake. The energy made by water hyacinth briquettes is similar to the energy generated by charcoal, acting as a very real alternative fuel to charcoal from trees; Potentially contributing to a change in future land use patterns. Water hyacinth can also be used for composting, fodder, yarn and rope as well as furniture.

Water hyacinth

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Sun Dried Hyacinth

Hand Grinder

Briquettes

Traditional Stove

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STRATEGY 5 - EDUCATION AND IMPLEMENTATION Lastly, the 5th strategy involves the implementation and education piece. The most effective method of implementation will need to be driven by the council of elders who are focused on the financial well-being of their communities and have already organized a deforestation committee. The Elders are the governing body on the island and are cultural representatives of the Suba tribe. By training the Elders on the functioning of the framework as well as training them how to teach and educate schools, churches and other social groups in their communities, they become leaders and sources of knowledge that stand to bring economic and environmental benefit to their communities; Effectively flipping the current social hierarchy and reclaiming a traditional Suba culture hierarchy that depends on the land, but understands the importance of nourishing the land, thus the cultural identity depends upon as well. Lastly, as a supplement to this implementation plan, Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m proposing a book that combines ecological processes into Suba stories can act as a funding source as well as an educational tool to be distributed to communities all over the island.

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INDEPENDENCE IMPROVED FOOTPRINTS FOOD AND FUEL

ECONOMIC GAIN AG. PRODUCTIVITY

CULTURAL RECLAMATION

AGROFORESTRY AQUACULTURE ALT. ENERGIES FLOATING ISLANDS

TRIBAL ELDERS

COMMUNITY GROUPS

PROTECTS AND CREATES FOREST COVER RELATIONSHIP SHIFT

LAND USE

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REFORESTATION - CULTURAL RECLAMATION When I began this project my goal was, and still is, to work with Organic Health Response to offer potentials for reforestation that would provide a more beneficial integration of human need and ecological regeneration. I think this framework, one that proposes small, specific movements, can drastically alter and repair the Suba peopleâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s relationship with the landscape; These strategies provide economic and ecological benefit in a way that harnesses the strengths of the culture itself. This framework is not a solution to the monumental problems facing Mfangano, but it is a strategy of interventions that stand to restore the landscape and shift the relationship between the land the lake and the culture.

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2012 UMN MLA Capstone_Lowery: FISH FORESTS AND FUTURES, Mfangano Island, Kenya