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John Ndung'u Wairore


Botanical Institut, AG Linstädter
University of Cologne
Zülpicher Straße 47b
D-50674 Cologne, Germany

Visitors: Kerpener Straße 59, D-50937 Cologne
E-Mail: jwairore(at)

2nd Affiliation
Triple L Research Initiative
University of Nairobi
P.O BOX 20053-00625
Mobile: +254 71 190 9039

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Current Project


I am currently a fellow of the Alexander von Humboldt’s (AVH) International Climate Protection Fellowship funded research project ‘Rangeland Enclosures: Barriers or Enablers of Effective Long-term Adaptation to Climate Variability and Change among Pastoralists in Kenya.’

Research Interests
Rangeland ecology and management
Climate change and the environment
Dryland Socio-ecological Systems
Land degradation and restoration

Working Title of AVH Proposal
Rangeland Enclosures: Barriers or enablers of effective adaptation to climate variability and change among pastoralists in Kenya.

This project aims is to understand how the spontaneous establishment of rangeland enclosures in East Africa impacts the adaptive capacity and resilience of pastoralists to climatic stressors.

Background: In the past decades, dryland social-ecological systems (SES) in sub-Saharan Africa have witnessed profound transformations which have re-shaped land-use and property rights regimes. In East Africa, detrimental changes include sedentarization accompanied by unsustainable forms of rangeland management, which have triggered rangeland degradation. To mitigate degradation, privatization and enclosure of previously communal pastoral land has become widespread. While rangeland enclosures have emerged as a successful management tool for the rehabilition of degraded rangelands, increased privatization of pastoral commons for the establishment of rangeland enclosures has greatly re-shaped existing pastoral property rights and management.

Research gap: We still have a limited understanding how rangeland enclosures influence the capacity of pastoralists to sustainably adapt to climate variability and change. On the one hand, enclosures might be barriers for an effective adaptation, as traditional coping strategies are part of a tightly coupled SES. Following this line of thought, rangeland enclosures would decouple pastoral livelihoods from natural resource dynamics. On the other hand, enclosures might also be enablers: They are a form of diversification and a coping mechanism particularly for times of drought, thus having positive effects on pastoral livelihoods.

Tasks: Main tasks are to understand (1) to what extent rangeland enclosures have altered connectivity patterns in tightly coupled pastoral systems; (2) how these alterations have impacted on the effectiveness of coping strategies; (3) whether a shift in management and/or property rights presents new opportunities for pastoral communities to adapt to climate variability and change; and (4) which institutional adjustments have been made to accommodate rangeland enclosures to mediate access to pastoral resources.

Approach: A combination of empirical social science methods ranging from household surveys, key informant interviews and group discussions will be used. They will be complemented with rapid methods to assess multiple ecosystem functions and services.

Curriculum Vitae


Post-Graduate Education

1/2017 – 04/2018 - Fellow: International Climate Protection Programme of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation (AVH) – University of Cologne, Germany & Triple L Research Initiative, Kenya

11/2016 – Fellow: Tropical Ecology & Conservation – Tropical Biology Association (TBA) field course, Madagascar

09/2015 – Fellow: Environmental Management for Developing and Emerging countries – Biodiversity and Restoration Ecology – UNEP/UNESCO/BMUB& CIPSEM, Technical Universität Dresden, Germany

12/2015 – MSc Range Management. Thesis title: Influence of enclosure management systems on rangeland rehabilitation in Chepareria, West Pokot County, Kenya

08/2013 – BSc Range Management [Hons] – University of Nairobi, Kenya

Professional Experience
1/2017 – 04/2018: International Climate Protection Fellow of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation
funded research project 'Rangeland Enclosures: Barriers or Enablers of Effective Adaptation to Climate Variability and Change among Pastoralists in Kenya’ (Co-Investigator and Host Dr. Anja Linstädter, University of Cologne, Germany).

03/2015 – 12/2016: Technical Assistant, Climate smart agriculture (CSA) and Communication - Finance Innovation for Climate Change Fund (FICCF) of DFID

07/2016 – 09/2016: Consultant on decentralized natural resource management in Somaliland and Puntland - International Labour Organization (ILO) Somalia

02/2016 – 03/2016: Monitoring and evaluation (M&E) Consultant - World Vision Kenya

11/2013 – 08/2015: Junior Researcher, Land, Livestock and Livelihoods dynamics in dryland systems of West Pokot - Triple L Research Initiative

07/2014 – 09/2014: Associate M&E Consultant - World Vision Kenya

01/2014 – 06/2014: Research Supervisor - SEDPA LIMITED  

Awards and Scholarships
01/2017 – 04/2018: Alexander von Humboldt Scholarship for a 1-year International Climate Protection research fellowship in Germany (University of Cologne)

11/2016: Tropical Biology Association (TBA) Scholarship for a 1-month field course on Tropical Ecology and Conservation in Madagascar

05/2016: DAAD Scholarship for a 1-month Integrated Land Use Systems (ILUS) Summer School in Germany (The University of Freiburg, Germany) [Declined]

9/2015: Fellow, 65th UNEP/UNESCO/BMUB International Short Course on Environmental Management for Developing and Emerging Countries – Biodiversity and Restoration ecology, CIPSEM, Dresden, Germany

04/2014 – 08/2015: $ 4,000 Minor Field Study (MFS) Grant for masters research project from the Triple L Initiative/Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU)

09/2013 – 12/2015: Gandhi Smarak Nidhi Fund Scholarship for MSc Range Management study (University of Nairobi)

Publications (Peer Reviewed)


Wairore, J.N., Mureithi, S.M., Wasonga, V.O., Nyberg, G. (2015): Characterization of enclosure management regimes and factors influencing their choice among agropastoralists in North-Western Kenya. Pastoralism: Research, Policy and Practice, 5(1), 14. DOI: 10.1186/s13570-015-0036-7.

Wairore, J.N., Mureithi, S.M., Wasonga, V.O., Nyberg, G. (2015). Benefits derived from rehabilitating a degraded semi-arid rangeland in private enclosures in West Pokot County, Kenya. Land Degradation and Development. DOI:10.1002/ldr.2420

Wairore, J.N., Mureithi, S.M., Wasonga, V.O., Nyberg, G. (2015): Enclosing the commons: reasons for the adoption and adaptation of enclosures in the arid and semi-arid rangelands of Chepareria. SpringerPlus, 4(1), 595. DOI:10.1186/s40064-015-1390-z.

Karmebäck, V., Wairore, J.N., Jistrom, M., Nyberg, G. (2015): Assessing gender roles in a changing landscape: diversified agro-pastoralism in drylands of West Pokot, Kenya. Pastoralism: Research, Policy and Practice, 5(1), 1-8. DOI: 10.1186/s13570-015-0039-4.

Nyberg, G., Knutsson, P., Ostwald, M., Oborn, I., Wredle, E., Otieno, D.J., Mureithi, S.M., Mwangi, P., Said, M.Y., Jirstrom, M., Gronvall, A., Wernersson, J., Svanlund, S., Saxer, L., Geutjes, L., Karmebäck, V., Wairore, J.N., Wambui, R., De Leeuw, K., Malmer, A. (2015): Enclosures in West Pokot, Kenya; Transforming land, livestock and livelihoods in drylands. Pastoralism: Research, Policy and Practice. DOI: 10.1186/s13570-015-0044-7.

Conference Contributions (Oral Presentations)

Wairore, J.N., and Linstädter, A. 2016. Rangeland Enclosures: Barrier or enablers of effective long-term adaptation to climate variability and change among pastoralists in Kenya. Global Climate Change – Approaches to International Collaboration 7th International Conference for Prospective Leaders in Climate Protection and climate-related Resource Conservation. Bonn, Germany.

Wairore, J.N., S. Mureithi, G. Nyberg, A. Linstädter, 2017. Breaking Bad? From Mental Enclosures to Rangeland Enclosures, and vice versa. Tropentag 2017 - Future Agriculture: Social-ecological transitions and bio-cultural shifts, Bonn, Germany.