Enhancing Amphibian Survival Through Education, Awareness and Forest Rehabilitation in Kitobo Forest, Taita County, Kenya
Kitobo forest is a ground water forest located about 10 km South-East of Taveta town in the Taita- Taveta County, Coast Province, Kenya. It is approximately 250 km inland from the coast and on the extreme lowland North-East of the Tanzanian Eastern Arc Mountain block of North Pare Mountains near the Kenya-Tanzania border. It covers an area of about 160 ha at an altitude of about 730 m above sea level.
The forest described as an “island” in a “sea” of arid lands, acts as a refuge for diverse wildlife species. It harbors 12 amphibian species belonging to four families. The Hyperolius puncticulatus classified as Endangered under the IUCN Red data List is the key amphibian flagship species for Kitobo forest. Other wildlife species include 29 reptiles and over 160 bird species. There are a modest variety of mammals in and around the forest considering its small size. These include; Monkeys,Wild pigs, Bushbuck, Hippopotamus and Leopard. For a long time, Kitobo forest has provided fundamental ecosystem benefits to the surrounding communities such as fuel wood, timber, water, medicinal plants among others. However, the forest is increasingly threatened by human encroachment, illegal logging, forest fires and livestock grazing owing to escalating human population. These anthropogenic activities pose a great threat to the survival of amphibian species hence the urgent need for conservation action.
Communities living adjacent forests are the primary users of the forest resources. Therefore, their contribution to sustainable management and conservation of forest biodiversity is paramount. In this project we seek to promote the survival of amphibians by empowering the local communities to actively participate in conservation and management of the Kitobo forest. Our objectives are to: strengthen the skills and abilities of Kenya Forest Service (KFS) staff and community scouts in monitoring of Kitobo forest, create awareness among the local people on the importance of amphibians and other forest biodiversity in ecosystem balance and rehabilitate the degraded areas within Kitobo forest through reforestation.
Continued degradation of Kitobo forest will negatively impact conservation of amphibians hence the need to regularly monitor the forest to stop further destruction. KFS staff and community scouts will be trained on application of Management Effectiveness Tracking Tool (METT). The tool will enable the community and other stakeholders to identify needs, constraints and priority actions to improve the effectiveness of managing Kitobo forest.
Educational and awareness campaign will be conducted to raise awareness on amphibian conservation among the local community. Increased conservation awareness will lead to reduction in pressure on Kitobo forest thus helping to maintain a suitable habitat for amphibian species
Rehabilitation of the forest will help to increase the forest habitat important for amphibian survival as such; we aim to plant at least 1000 seedlings of indigenous trees.
Our objectives are to: strengthen the skills and abilities of Kenya Forest Service (KFS) staff and community scouts in monitoring of Kitobo forest, create awareness among the local people on the importance of amphibians and other forest biodiversity in ecosystem balance and rehabilitate the degraded areas within Kitobo forest through reforestation.
Rogers K. Makau and Dr. Patrick K. Malonza
If you would like to further support this project or invest in the Amphibian Survival Alliance’s Seed Grant program please contact Candace M. Hansen-Hendrikx, Director of Communications and Partnerships.
Your donation will make an immediate, real, and lasting impact. As a global alliance with partners generous enough to cover our operational costs, we are able to channel 100% of your donations directly to helping save these amphibians.