Volume 2, Issue 6, November 2017, Page: 104-113
Diversity, Potential Utilization and Management of Cacti in Northern Kenya
Mary Nyawira Muchane, Botany Department, National Museums of Kenya, Nairobi, Kenya
Muchane Muchai, Department of Clinical Studies (Wildlife Management & Conservation Section), College of Agriculture and Veterinary Sciences, University of Nairobi, Nairobi, Kenya
Geoffrey Mungai, Botany Department, National Museums of Kenya, Nairobi, Kenya
William Wambugu, Botany Department, National Museums of Kenya, Nairobi, Kenya
Received: Oct. 6, 2017;       Accepted: Nov. 2, 2017;       Published: Dec. 25, 2017
DOI: 10.11648/j.ijnrem.20170206.12      View  1805      Downloads  113
Cactus family (Cactaceae) is poular horticultural plant group with worldwide introduction outside their native ranges for ornamental purposes or as drought tolerant crops for arid and semi-arid lands (ASALS). Despite their importance the species are also the most damaging invasive, yet very little information exists about their status, diversity, potential utilization and problems associated with their management. Field and socio-economic surveys were carried out in ASALs of Northern Kenya to document (i) abundance and diversity of introduced Cactus species, (ii) identify reasons for their introduction, (iii) find potential uses and any invasive problems associated with introduced species. Field methods recorded species richness and abundance of cactus species while socio-economic methods recorded local knowledge on potential utilization and problems associated with management of Cactus species using semi-structured questionnaires. This study recorded only three species of cactus; Opuntia ficus-indica (both spined and spineless), Opuntia exaltata and Cereus peruvianus. The species were found mainly in settled areas and within urban centres. The species were introduced as ornamental (horticulture), dry land crop with ability to provide food (fruits and vegetable) or fodder (for humans or livestock) and as live fences due to their ability to thrive dry conditions. Cactus species in particular O. ficus-indica plays an important role in the region in providing fodder and fruits in the extremely dry seasons. Although cactus species in this region are not yet problematic weed, overgrowth if left unmanaged and thorns were cited as major problems associated with its introduction necessitating sustainable management options to avoid any invasive problem. Proper management of the spineless variety has great potential in improving rural livelihoods.
Cactus, Utilization, Management, ASALs, Invasive, Northern Kenya
To cite this article
Mary Nyawira Muchane, Muchane Muchai, Geoffrey Mungai, William Wambugu, Diversity, Potential Utilization and Management of Cacti in Northern Kenya, International Journal of Natural Resource Ecology and Management. Vol. 2, No. 6, 2017, pp. 104-113. doi: 10.11648/j.ijnrem.20170206.12
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