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The effects of drought on Lake Amboseli ecosystem in southern Kenya.

This collection of five photographs depicts Lake Amboseli during and after a drought that lasted from 2005 to 2006 in southern Kenya. Lake Amboseli is a seasonal lake that retains water well after the seasonal rains have terminated. Wild and domestic animals are normally able to access water from the lake during the dry season (June-September). The lake and surrounding lands are located within the 390 km2 Amboseli National Park.

Like much of the surrounding area, the lake is fed from underground aquifers that originate from Mount Kilimanjaro. It has no outlet. The herbaceous plants around the lake provide salty pastures for herbivores. A high density of browsing animals characterizes the Amboseli ecosystem, which includes cattle herds of the Maasai.

During drought, the water reservoir shrinks. It can dry up completely during prolonged droughts, depleting local forage. Competition among animals for the scarce resources (both water and pastures) ensues. Thus, in periods of drought, most browsers and mixed-feeders tend to emigrate outside the Reserve while the livestock migrate into the park. In this sense, occurrence of drought affects both livestock and wild animals. With local effects of climate change and deforestation, droughts are likely to become more intense and frequent, which may lead to collapse of Masaai livelihood systems dependent on seasonal cattle grazing.
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Primary or BEN resource type
Discipline Specific Core Concepts
Life science discipline (subject)
Keywords drought impacts, Lake Ecosytem, sub-Saharan Africa, Africa, Kenya, Effects of drought, Water, lake, drought
Intended End User Role
Educational Language
Pedagogical Use Description n/a
Primary Author Controlled Name
Primary Author Affiliation Pennsylvania State University
Primary Author email
Rights Author retains copyright.
Date Of Record Submission 2009-09-15

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