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Facilitate fair private sector-community  partnerships

Community monitoring of natural resources

Assess scope for implementation of easements

3. Taita-Taveta

Taita and the Tsavo National Park

Taita-Taveta in Coast Province is an unique district which forms an integral part of the Tsavo ecosystem. Sixty two percent of the land is protected as Tsavo National Park which is an important park for large fauna such as the elephant, giraffe, zebra and has a wide range of antelopes, birds and monkeys. Tsavo National Park has the largest population of elephants and the potential to hold even a larger population. Ngulia in Tsavo West has become an important rhino sanctuary after Nakuru National Park and the Ngulia escarpment and hills are an important area for migratory birds from the Northern Hemisphere. Lake Jipe in the boarder of Kenya and Tanzania is an important wetland teeming with bird life such as pygmy geese and black heron and other wetland wildlife.

Taita Hills Forests

Taita Hills is a heritage of montane cloud forest which is part of the Eastern Arc mountains found in both Kenya and Tanzania. Due to isolation, the Taita Hills forests harbor over 2000 species of flora and fauna, at least 13 taxa are endemic. There are 67 known indigenous plants including the wild coffee (coffea fadenii). The Eastern Arc mountains are known for their birds diversity and Taita Hills is classified as Important Bird Area (IBA) with three birds endemic to Taita Hills Forests; the Taita Thrush, the Taita White-eye and the Taita Apalis. The forests are also rich in other life such as reptiles, amphibians and insects including butterflies. According to the National Museum Taita Hills Biodiversity Project, new discoveries of not previously recorded flora and fauna are being found within the forests calling for an urgent need to stop further fragmentation of these unique habitats.

Taita Lowlands

Approximately 24% of land in the district forms key dispersal area for wildlife from Tsavo National Parks. The range land has the similar vegetation to the parks. Due to low rainfall, the lowlands are relatively sparsely populated and communal land has been put into group ranches. However, livestock keeping is not widely practiced unlike in Masailand leaving most of the group ranches lying idle. The recently observed trend is the families are migrating from high lands to the lowlands where they are clearing land for agriculture.

Threats To Biodiversity

Encroachment

The unique biodiversity of Taita-Taveta is under pressure from competing/changing land use. Due to increase in population, the migration to the lowlands has put the group ranches in the area are under pressure to subdivide into individual holdings and subsequently utilized for agricultural production. There is a proposal to get water from lake Challa to coastal towns via Maktau-Mwateta-Voi increasing chances for ranches to be converted for irrigated crop production.

In the Taita Hills, increasing population in and around the hills has put pressure on the forest land for agricultural land. There subsistence crops growing such as maize, beans and bananas. Forests are overexploited for their timber, fuelwood and medicinal plants. Uncontrolled forest fires are reported caused by traditional honey gatherers.

Human/Wildlife Conflict

Settlement within wildlife corridors has over the years increased human/wildlife conflict. Destruction of crops and endangering human life occurs frequently with a KWS erected fence incomplete, which is compounding the problem.

Elephant and game meat poaching are recorded in this area while slash and burn agriculture causes uncontrolled fires that pose a threat to Tsavo National Park. In areas bordering lake Jipe where

Kara PagePage 4410/23/2006

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