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Flora and Fauna in Kenya

Kenya’s flora and fauna is influenced by the variety of altitudes and climate. The coast is homeland to mangrove swamp forests, over exploited for their wood and coconut trees. Palms, kopal spruces, teak and sandal – wood tree also dominate this region. The lowlands are dominated by acacia and baobab.

The vast plains of the hinter-land and the northern regions are covered with grass, low bush, and scrub, giving way in the high-lying plains to typical savannah country of open grass dotted with thorn trees, and in the more arid regions to bare earth and stunted scrub. Elevations of 1,000 feet and above enjoy indigenous hardwood and evergreen forests. These support a variety of Wild and plant life.

At independence, Kenya only had 12 game parks. Today about eight per cent of Kenya’s land mass is protected area for Wildlife conservation. Protected areas are gazette landscapes/ seascapes that have been surveyed, demarcated and gazetted either as national parks and/ or national reserves. Protected areas embrace various types of ecosystems namely: forests, wetlands, savannah, marine, arid and semi-arid. The protected areas comprise 23 terrestrial national parks, 28 terrestrial national reserves, four marine national parks, six marine national reserves and four national sanctuaries. They are further boosted by numerous private run conservancies and community run conservation areas.

In 1977, hunting for rhino and elephants was banned to save them from potential extinction. The main human activities contributing to environmental degradation in Kenya include unsustainable agricultural land use, poor soil and Water management practices, deforestation, overgrazing, and pollution. This has negatively affected the flora and fauna, which is linked to Kenya’s land, fresh and marine Waters, forests and biodiversity. Degradation also affects the environments ability to recycle nutrients, decompose material and naturally purify and filter Water and air. In the 1980s, biological hotspots was established as a term that described landscapes and Waters that were experiencing dramatic change. Birdlife International has identified 60 Important Bird Areas in Kenya. The National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan was drafted to take care of the implementation of the Convention on Biological Diversity to ensure that rate of biodiversity loss was reversed, and that present levels of biological resources are maintained at sustainable levels for posterity. Kenya is a signatory to convention on biological diversity and has worked hard to implement the strategy and submitted three reports in 1998, 1998 and 2005.