Kinangop Highlands are important agricultural area. The high altitude grasslands of Kinangop Plateau are recognized as an Important Bird Area due to presence of specialized birds and therefore of great conservation priority. The livelihood of the local community revolves around livestock rearing and small-scale cultivation for both subsistence and cash crops. For a long time since settlement around 1964, the Kinangop Plateau was used primarily for dairy and sheep farming.However, livestock farming (which retains grassland as pasture) has given way to other forms of land-use, especially cultivation of crops leading a huge decline of the natural grass cover.
The grasslands are home to globally endangered fauna and biodiversity especially the globally endangered Sharpe’s Longclaw (Macronyx sharpei), Aberdare Cisticola among other beautiful birds. Several scientific research conducted in Kinangop and other grassland areas have indicated thatspecies such as Sharpe’s Longclaw will only survive if we can develop ways of managing their habitats in a manner that is consistent, rather than in conflict, with the needs of the agricultural community. The greatest potential appears to lie in measures to enhance the viability of the animal husbandry, with the aim of making livestock farming once again a more attractive proposition than crop farming.