338(a) 6(b) 18(c)
830(a) 3(b) 10(c)
5000(a) un(b) 6(c)
316(a) 12(b) 33(c)
822(a) 24(b) 30(c)
10000(a) 1122(b) 406(c)
Biodiversity: (a) total number of known species, (b) endemic species, (c) threatened species, and (d) percent of those taxa that is threatened.
(Source: Adapted from 1996 Red List, World Conservation Monitoring Centre and World Conservation Union.)
These trends are supported by Kenya-specific studies. For example, recent analyses of Kenyan government aerial survey statistics found that over the last 20 years, wildlife numbers in the country’s arid/semi-arid lands (roughly 80 percent of Kenyan territory) suffered distinct declines (De Leeuw et.al. 1998; Githaiga 1995). Together these areas, (excluding data from Narok District, which encompasses the vast transboundary migrations of the Mara ecosystem and is therefore difficult to monitor), experienced a decline in national herbivorous wildlife numbers of 16 percent between the early and late 1990s (Githaiga 1995, p. 11). See Section 5.1.4 for a discussion of recent studies relating to land use conversion and impacts on wildlife.
David Western (2000) notes that "the Githaiga report [also highlights] …an emerging difference from the past, with some species holding their own or increasing in some places while going down in others. The differences are instructive and begin to show the impact of community involvement in areas such as Laikipia, Amboseli and Machakos." He addes that this "key finding" supports community-based wildlife management approaches such as those USAID has supported and continues today to support.
Plant species biodiversity in Kenya. According to the 1997 WCMC-IUCN Red List of plants, 31 plant species in Kenya appear on the “endangered” list. Endangered plant taxa are defined as those “in danger of extinction and whose survival is unlikely if the causal factors continue operating.” Included are taxa whose numbers have been reduced to a critical level or whose habitats have been so drastically reduced that they are deemed to be in immediate danger of extinction” (Walter and Gillett 1998).
The Eastern Arc Mountains, which includes Kenya’s Taita Hills and the coastal forests of Shimba Hills and Arabuko-Sokoke, is identified by Conservation International as one of the world’s top 25 “hotspots.” Hotspots are priority areas for conservation due to the representative nature of their flora and fauna and the high level of threat they face. Along with the upland and coastal forests of neighboring Tanzania, this area of Kenya houses “a concentration of plant species that not only surpasses anything else in such a small portion of tropical Africa, but ranks with some of the densest concentrations anywhere in the tropics” (Mittermeier et.al, p. 205). There are at least 4,000 plant species, representing 13 percent of all mainland tropical Africa’s 30,000 plant species, in just 0.1 percent of the region’s territory. An estimated 35 percent of these species are endemic to the area and represent a far higher number of endemics than that well-known group of “islands of diversity” – the Galapagos Islands of Ecuador (Lovett 1998a; Polhill 1988).
Locally important resources in wildlife and biodiversity. Wildlife species are important to Kenya for more than their global significance, however. Kenya has set aside an estimated 7 percent of its territory in national parks and reserves (Bergmark 1995). See Annex 7 for a map of Kenya's protected areas. Undocumented estimates are that approximately 75 percent of the country's wildlife live outside of protected areas, and even those within the system are affected by incursions, weak institutional oversight, drought, and other factors. These species draw an active flow of tourists (see Section 5.1.2 for more information about tourism in Kenya today), which can send substantial revenues into government, private sector, and some community coffers. Wildlife products have (in the past) been used for ceremonial purposes in many areas, and medicinal
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