Climate has influenced land use and human activities in several parts of East Africa. The different climatic conditions such as equatorial climate, modified equatorial climate, tropical, montane, semi desert and desert climates have had profound effect on human activities, or land use in areas where they are experienced. This is because the rainfall and temperatures may vary and create conditions for different land use or human activities.
The effects can be seen in the following ways;
- In the equatorial or moist tropical type of climate, a variety of human land use activities have cropped up e.g. forestry, cultivation of annual and perennial crops, dairy farming such as in the Kenya highlands, areas around Lake Victoria etc.
- In areas of tropical climate, there is cultivation of mainly annual crops as well as the rearing of livestock, wildlife conservation and tourism have been important.
- Temperate climatic conditions as experienced in the highland areas such as the Kenya and Kigezi highlands, Rwenzori Mt. Ranges have cool conditions that have favoured dairy farming and growth of vegetables or temperate crops such as wheat, Irish potatoes etc.These highland areas have also favoured the growth of pyrethrum e.g. in Kabale and Bundibugyo.
- Montane climatic conditions as experienced in the mountainous areas such as the Rwenzori, Elgon, Kenya, Kilimanjaro, Meru etc have encouraged forestry especially montane forests which may be temperate e.g. the Coniferous forests or they may be Bamboo forests. Other economic activities in montane climatic regions include; Lumbering, Wildlife conservation and tourism such as mountaineering or sight seeing.
- In the semi-desert climatic regions there has been the growth of drought – resistant crops e.g. Sorghum, Millet, Maize and Sisal have been encouraged. Nomadic pastoralism has also been practised in Semi-arid areas such as Karamoja, the Masailand, Turkana land and the Boran region of Northern Kenya.
- Furthermore, tourism and wildlife conservation have developed in these areas. Many of the semi-desert regions have been gazetted as wildlife conservation sites such as National parks and Game reserves thereby promoting tourism e.g. Tsavo National Park, Queen Elizabeth National Park, Serengeti National Park, Kidepo Valley National Park, and Lake Mburo National Park etc.