Tag Archives: forest

Kipini Lumshi Forest Destruction in Pictures

The pictures you are about to see disturbed me. This is a trend not only in the Kipini Region but all across Kenya. And there seems to be no end in sight to this problem.

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One of Kipini Scouts surveys an area damaged by illegal logging.

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What was once a mighty tree is now rendered useless having loss its footing as it were.

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Again, the damage goes on and on…

_Device Memory_home_user_pictures_IMG00548-20100224-1014A logging site discovered by our scouts and the logs left behind by the loggers.

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Very disturbing images like i mentioned earlier. On the plus side, we are currently in talks with the government mandated forest protection agency in the country to aid us in protection and forest management in the region!

Forest Use and Conservation of Biodiversity in Witu Forest, Kenya

This project was conducted by the Danish Zoological Society (DZS). DZS was formed in December 2004 by a group of biologists from the University of Copenhagen in Denmark working on a voluntary basis. The mission of DZS is to support and conduct projects and research that contributes to conserving wild animals and their habitats and increases the knowledge of threatened species ecology, distribution and status. DZS has a strong focus on the Eastern Arc Mountains and costal forests of Tanzania and Kenya.

The project was planned in cooperation with Farouk Sherman, protector and initiator of the Kipini Wildlife and Botanical Conservancy (KWBC). The KWBC is centered on the Kipini ranch which boarders the Witu forest and part of the forest extends into the ranch. The Witu forest proper is considered within the wider zone of the conservancy’s interest by the KWBC trust.

Partnership was also established with Nature Kenya and an affiliation was established with Kenya Wildlife Service.

The project was aiming to deal with these issues:

  • Conduct a survey of mammals in Witu forest which included birds. Reptiles, amphibians and insects.
  • Evaluating the intensity of natural resource extraction (originally focusing on bushmeat hunting and non-timber forest products). During the project it was adjusted to include timber as the intensity of extraction the two original forest products appears to be minimal whereas illegal logging in Witu forest was extensive.
  • Training local people as nature guides which included training local people as nature guides for ecotourism and providing them with animal field guides and binoculars. Due to difficulties in identifying local people possessing both the necessary language skills and knowledge about the forest simultaneously it was decided to focus on educating young people on the global importance of conserving biodiversity Seminars was therefore conducted at two primary schools in communities directly bordering the forest. Animal field guides and binoculars were handed over to the schools.

A seminar were similarly conducted with three local interest groups and a lecture was held by a member of a PFM association from the Arabuko-Sokoke forest. Equipment in terms of a tent, mattresses, mosquito nets, binoculars, GPS etc. were handed over to one conservation oriented NGO upon project completion.

Kipini Conservancy Logo

What were the successes?

Three transects of a total length of 5 km were established within the Witu forest proper. Eight camera traps were placed in the forest at animal holes and on animal trails crossing the transects.

A total of 1224 hours of camera trapping were conducted. Transect surveys were conducted and observations of animals were recorded. Bird censuses were conducted on each transect by identifying species from calls and visual observations and by mist netting. Reptiles, amphibians and insects were recorded through random observations and through bucket pitfall trapping. Ten buckets were used for a total of 445 trap hours.  Threatened species and potential indicator species of disturbance and forest quality are identified.

During  surveys all signs of logging, use of fire, bushmeat hunting and harvesting of other non-timber forest products were recorded along the transects. Based on this an index of human disturbance were established. The effect of the disturbance is evaluated.

The species lists, relative mammal densities and index of human disturbance make baseline for monitoring and evaluating trends in the status of the forest and the impact of conservation initiatives and Kenya’s new forest act.

Results are presented in the report “Conservation and Use of Witu Forest, Kenya”.

Seminars were conducted in two primary schools for respectively 3 and 2 classes with approximately 25-30 students each. The importance of ecosystem services derived from the forest were illustrated and discussed. Animal field guides and binoculars were handed over to the schools for use in lectures and projects.

Equipment in terms of a tent, mattresses, mosquito nets, binoculars and a GPS were provided to the NGO Witu Conservation Group. This contributes to build their capacity to conduct patrolling in Witu forest and monitor the status of natural resources in agreement with their mandate.

MASSIVE ILLEGAL LOGGING; ENCROATCHMENT OF WITU FOREST RESERVE AND KIPINI CONSERVANCY

 

 

Hundreds of thousands of exotic and indigenous trees have been destroyed in the past few months by illegal loggers in Tana River.This activity poses a significant threat to the biodiversity in Tana River and the conservation activities being spearheaded by the Kipini Wildlife Conservancy and Botanical Conservancy Trust [KWBCT].

 At stake is the plant species Euphorbia Tanaensis, an exotic indigenous tree which is among the nine species of tree found in the 42 sq km expansive Witu Forest Reserve and Kipini Conservancy [Nairobi Ranch]. The tree is listed by IUCN 2002 Red list of threatened species and found in Witu Forest Reserve, bordering the Kipini Conservancy. At the same time the only Elephant migratory corridor that continues to exist in East African Coast, faces a threat owing to the ever increasing ecological degradations and new encroachment.Investigations done have revealed that the wanton destruction of the indigenous and exotic trees has been occasioned by the ever increasing demand for timber by the population living on the edge of the Witu Forest Reserve and within part of the Kipini Conservancy, which has been earmarked for conservation.The entire Nairobi Ranch has been set aside for the conservation of Wildlife and Botanical plants, Wetland and Sand dunes.Recent photographs taken reveal that the individuals behind the indiscriminate logging have been targeting indigenous trees which are known for hard wood.  Further, it is emerging that trees which have not even attained maturity stage are also being cut down thus undermining the replenishing process of the forest cover in the area.The latest developments have caused a fury among environmentalists in the areas who are calling on the Government and other stake holders to intervene.Already massive destructions of forest cover along the Mt Kenya, Aberdare, Mau Narok, Ngong Hills is on record as being responsible for the reduction of the flow of water in the two major rivers that trace their origins from the highlands and eventually snakes their way through the semi arid to the Indian Ocean.A recent tour of Witu, in Lamu District in Coast region has an earth a syndicate where the beneficiaries of massive logging are said to be selling the by-products within the area or at times in the neighbouring district.These destructive activities one keen observer noted will have serious environmental implications pretty soon. “No doubt these destructive activities will have resultant ecological effects very soon”. Environmentalists and conservationists in the area have cautioned that destruction of the forest cover would impact adversely on the Riverine Ecosystem along the Tana Delta, known to support two species of monkeys facing extinction apart from other ecological systems.Further, it is imperative to note that the forest cover has a direct linkage to the rainfall pattern in the area, which supports Agriculture, the main bread earn for many villagers in the area. The destruction of the forest cover now puts in the balance the Kipin wildlife and botanical conservancy activities in the Tana River that acts as a vital catalyst towards fulfilling international recognized conservation objectives for threatened Coast plants and ecosystem.Witu Forest Reserve and part of the forest cover that extended beyond the reserve is a designated site of critical importance within the globally important Eastern Arc Mountains and Coastal Forests hotspots, identified by the Conservation International and supported by the Critical Ecosystems Partnership Fund [CEPF].Environmentalists and conservationists have for a while been pushing for the protection of all forest cover within the Witu Forest Reserve and it’s environs owing to the fact that it fall within the Elephants Migratory Corridor extending to Kipini  Conservancy. Adverse effects on the cover would result in the elephants changing their lifetime journey along the Coastal ecological system that has tourism related economical benefit for the indigenous.