Amboseli Biosphere Reserve is located in the south of Kenya at the border to Tanzania. The Amboseli ecosystem consists of basement plains, saline plains with fresh water swamps and the volcanic slopes of the Kilimanjaro. The vegetation reflects the mainly semi-arid environment.
Presently, considerable income for local people comes from wildlife tourism. Groups of ranchers are generating revenue through leasing of campsites, sanctuary entry fees, cultural centers and leasing land for the construction of tented camps and tourist lodges. Community conservation areas such as the Selengei Conservation Area have created jobs for members of the local community, e.g. as game scouts, sanctuary managers or tourist guides.
Livestock raising and crop production (maize and beans) are the two main agricultural activities carried out in Amboseli. However, also horticulture of onions and tomatoes is common. Pastoralism is the basis of the Maasai pastoralist community who keeps livestock such as the indigenous Zebu, cattle, sheep and goats and more recently donkeys and camels. Major constraints for livestock production are drought, low forage availability, overstocking, lack of water, predation, transmission of diseases from wildlife to livestock and thick borne diseases. The local community has been sensitized on the importance of adhering to sound habitat and animal management in order to prevent ecological degradation.
The biosphere reserve was part of the UNESCO-MAB project ‘Biosphere Reserves for Biodiversity Conservation and Sustainable Development in Anglophone Africa (BRAAF)’ which had the objective to ensure the long-term conservation of biodiversity in including local population in its sustainable use.