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Rangeland management for carbon sequestration

Kenya Communities across northern Kenya

The Northern Rangelands Trust is a collaboration between 14 pastoralist communities in order to improve the health of rangelands which in turn helps them adapt to and mitigate the impacts of climate change.

Nature-based Intervention:

This project encompasses 1.9 million hectares of grasslands and savannah which are communally utilized by local pastoralists. The project works with 14 different pastoral communities in northern Kenya to adapt their grazing strategies in order to address the impacts of climate change and mitigate carbon emissions. Each conservancy implements a strict grazing plan with zones designated for grazing and rotational practices implemented to facilitate grass regeneration. The regenerated and healthier rangelands are able to store higher levels of soil carbon and support healthier livestock.

Overview of context and outcomes:

The project represents the world’s first large-scale grasslands soil carbon removal project that is dependent on changes to livestock grazing practices. This part of Kenya has been affected by droughts which have been exacerbated by climate change and threaten local livelihoods. The region is also home to Samburu, Borana, Turkana, Rendille, and Somali communities which have previously been draw into conflict when they needed to graze their livestock outside their traditional lands due to lack of available grass.

Case effectiveness on

Climate change

Mitigation: Positive

It is reported that over 30 years the project will capture and store 50 million tonnes of carbon. The project has already reportedly issued 3.2m emissions reduction credits for the years 2013 to 2016.

Adaptation: Positive

Through implementing rotational grazing techniques, the local communities are able to limit land degradation that was occurring due to persistent and severe droughts combined with overgrazing.

Ecosystem health

Ecological effect: Positive

The project helps improve habitat quality, habitat extent, and biomass generation through limiting land degradation by overgrazing. The land also reportedly helped to protect habitat of three endangered species; the eastern black rhino(Diceros bicornis michaeli), Grévy’s zebra(Equus grevyi), and reticulated giraffe(Giraffa reticulata).

Socioeconomic outcomes

The intervention also helps support herd health which allows for higher sale prices at market to support local livelihoods. The income generated reportedly provides approximately $324,000 annually to each of the 14 conservancies. These profits are invested into local priorities such as education, water access and sanitation. The project has also helped reduced conflict between the Samburu, Borana, Turkana, Rendille, and Somali communities through the implementation of strict grazing regimes.


The Northern Rangelands Trust governs the project through 14 community conservancies which make up the Northern Kenya Rangelands Carbon Project. The trust worked with the carbon credit company Native in order to bring the credits to market.


Funding generated through the sale of carbon credits is evenly split between the 14 communities. The sale of credits covering the sequestrations from 2013-2016 were verified and their sale generated generating $14.6 million in revenue. In 2022 each of the communities reportedly received $324,000, with similar profits expected for following years.

Monitoring and evaluation

The program is monitored using a remote-sensing Normalized difference vegetation index system in order to track changes in vegetation coverage. The trust has also implemented a Wildlife-Conservancy Managed Monitoring System (Wildlife CoMMs) in order to tracks sightings of wildlife within the project area, including the endangered species listed above.

Trade-offs and limitations

No information yet available on tradeoffs.

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Kenyan rangelands
Photo © Sergey Pesterev

Intervention type

  • Management
Conducted at landscape scale

Ecosystem type

  • Tropical & subtropical grasslands

Climate change impacts addressed

  • Drought


  • Community/self driven
  • Local NGO or CBO (eg. indigenous)

Societal challenges

  • Biodiversity conservation
  • Climate change adaptation
  • Climate change mitigation
  • Conflict and Security
  • Economic and Social development
  • Rights/empowerment/equality
  • Water security


  • Food security: Not reported
  • Water security: Positive
  • Health: Not reported
  • Local economics: Positive
  • Livelihoods/goods/basic needs: Positive
  • Energy security: Not reported
  • Disaster risk reduction: Not reported
  • Rights/empowerment/equality: Not reported
  • Conflict and security: Not reported
  • No. developmental outcomes reported: 6


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Literature info

  • Grey literature
Case methodology reported