@DailyNation

The disappearing forests

5 months ago, 12 Jan 21:30

Taita Hills plays host to very rich and diverse flora and fauna that needs to be rescued from modern life encroachment. By Rupi Mangat The mist swirls and whirls, white and dense, hiding and revealing the valleys and peaks of the hills. We’re climbing through Yale forest to reach the ancient bare rock at the top of the Taita Hills. These ancient hills date 290 million years – they are older than the age of the dinosaur. They jut out of the arid plains of Taita Taveta at Voi. These hills catch the first moisture-laden winds swept off the Indian Ocean. Cloaked in mist for most of the morning and evening, the high forests play home to flora and fauna that’s unique to them. It’s surreal here, surrounded by indigenous plants like Lobelia gibberoa, towering tree ferns and the elegant palm that’s a signature of the Taita Hills, Phoenix reclinata. These hills are the sole home of endemics that are now fighting for survival. In the last two centuries, 98 per cent of the indigenous forests have been cleared for agriculture and forest plantations, and invaded by exotic trees that allow nothing else to survive in them. I’m hiking with Evanson Jardel Wangusha, a guide with Dawida Biodiversity Conservation group (DABICO), the local partner of Nature Kenya, the country oldest natural history society established in 1909. A tiny bird chirps in the undergrowth of the natural forest by a stream gurgling down the slope under the canopy of towering tree ferns. “It’s the Evergreen forest warbler,” says Jardel. Although widespread, Taita Hills is a stronghold for them. From the rich tapestry of the indigenous forest, we enter the forest plantation of tall eucalyptus trees. The contrast between the two forest patches is stark. There’s no jigsaw of shrubs or vines under the canopy – only the leaf litter of the exotic eucalyptus that allows nothing to grow under it.  It’s empty save for kids on holidays walking through it to collect firewood. A little climb up and we’re back into a natural glade on a steep slope by the rock face of Yale. “About two years ago,” says Dr Luca Borghesio, “we began to remove the exotic trees here because nothing lives in them, to allow (the indigenous flora and fauna to regenerate).” His concern is over the one bird that is only found in the Taita Hills, the Taita apalis. Fewer than 200 survive today. With Borghesio are his team mates, Lawrence Wagura and Maina Gichia, all associated with the National Museums of Kenya. Lawrence is in charge of restoration sites, working with the local community, while Maina searches for nests during the one breeding season of Taita apalis, between November and February. As they vanish into the thickets to search for nests and install camera traps by them, Jadel and I look at the peak of Yale. It’s now shrouded in mist and signals our time to descend. Beautiful butterflies flit like confetti from the sky on the wild flowers. ...
Read More


Category: topnews news lifestyle

Suggested

21 minutes
@CapitalFMNews - By: Pscu
President Kenyatta hold talks with his Zambian counterpart Lungu

NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 18 - President Uhuru Kenyatta and his Zambian counterpart Edgar Lungu at the weekend held bilateral talks focusing on ways to enhance e - Kenya breaking news | Kenya news today | C ...

Category: topnews
3 minutes
@DailyNation - By: Louis Muiruri
LIFE BY LOUIS: World Cup fever is here

I cannot connect with the thrill of adult men chasing a leather contraption. ...

Category: topnews news lifestyle
1 hours ago, 07:14
@DailyNation - By: John Ashihundu
To be successful, Leopards must spend

If we get two experienced strikers, the boys can win the league this season. ...

Category: topnews news
2 hours ago, 06:11
@DailyNation - By: James Onyango Mwa ...
Russia World Cup Notebook - Day 4

Each of the 12 stadiums has a media centre. ...

Category: topnews news sports
3 hours ago, 05:14
@DailyNation - By: Afp
Hazard ready to make mark on World Cup

The 27-year-old attacking midfielder is fresh from winning the FA Cup with Chelsea, ...

Category: topnews news sports
1 hour ago
@DailyNation - By: Afp
'Incredibles 2' makes heroic N. America box office debut

It in a record $180 million in its debut. ...

Category: topnews news

@DailyNation

The disappearing forests

5 months ago, 12 Jan 21:30


Taita Hills plays host to very rich and diverse flora and fauna that needs to be rescued from modern life encroachment. By Rupi Mangat The mist swirls and whirls, white and dense, hiding and revealing the valleys and peaks of the hills. We’re climbing through Yale forest to reach the ancient bare rock at the top of the Taita Hills. These ancient hills date 290 million years – they are older than the age of the dinosaur. They jut out of the arid plains of Taita Taveta at Voi. These hills catch the first moisture-laden winds swept off the Indian Ocean. Cloaked in mist for most of the morning and evening, the high forests play home to flora and fauna that’s unique to them. It’s surreal here, surrounded by indigenous plants like Lobelia gibberoa, towering tree ferns and the elegant palm that’s a signature of the Taita Hills, Phoenix reclinata. These hills are the sole home of endemics that are now fighting for survival. In the last two centuries, 98 per cent of the indigenous forests have been cleared for agriculture and forest plantations, and invaded by exotic trees that allow nothing else to survive in them. I’m hiking with Evanson Jardel Wangusha, a guide with Dawida Biodiversity Conservation group (DABICO), the local partner of Nature Kenya, the country oldest natural history society established in 1909. A tiny bird chirps in the undergrowth of the natural forest by a stream gurgling down the slope under the canopy of towering tree ferns. “It’s the Evergreen forest warbler,” says Jardel. Although widespread, Taita Hills is a stronghold for them. From the rich tapestry of the indigenous forest, we enter the forest plantation of tall eucalyptus trees. The contrast between the two forest patches is stark. There’s no jigsaw of shrubs or vines under the canopy – only the leaf litter of the exotic eucalyptus that allows nothing to grow under it.  It’s empty save for kids on holidays walking through it to collect firewood. A little climb up and we’re back into a natural glade on a steep slope by the rock face of Yale. “About two years ago,” says Dr Luca Borghesio, “we began to remove the exotic trees here because nothing lives in them, to allow (the indigenous flora and fauna to regenerate).” His concern is over the one bird that is only found in the Taita Hills, the Taita apalis. Fewer than 200 survive today. With Borghesio are his team mates, Lawrence Wagura and Maina Gichia, all associated with the National Museums of Kenya. Lawrence is in charge of restoration sites, working with the local community, while Maina searches for nests during the one breeding season of Taita apalis, between November and February. As they vanish into the thickets to search for nests and install camera traps by them, Jadel and I look at the peak of Yale. It’s now shrouded in mist and signals our time to descend. Beautiful butterflies flit like confetti from the sky on the wild flowers. ...
Read More

Category: topnews news lifestyle

Suggested

21 minutes
@CapitalFMNews - By: Pscu
President Kenyatta hold talks with his Zambian counterpart Lungu

NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 18 - President Uhuru Kenyatta and his Zambian counterpart Edgar Lungu at the weekend held bilateral talks focusing on ways to enhance e - Kenya breaking news | Kenya news today | C ...

Category: topnews
3 minutes
@DailyNation - By: Louis Muiruri
LIFE BY LOUIS: World Cup fever is here

I cannot connect with the thrill of adult men chasing a leather contraption. ...

Category: topnews news lifestyle
1 hours ago, 07:14
@DailyNation - By: John Ashihundu
To be successful, Leopards must spend

If we get two experienced strikers, the boys can win the league this season. ...

Category: topnews news
2 hours ago, 06:11
@DailyNation - By: James Onyango Mwa ...
Russia World Cup Notebook - Day 4

Each of the 12 stadiums has a media centre. ...

Category: topnews news sports
3 hours ago, 05:14
@DailyNation - By: Afp
Hazard ready to make mark on World Cup

The 27-year-old attacking midfielder is fresh from winning the FA Cup with Chelsea, ...

Category: topnews news sports
1 hour ago
@DailyNation - By: Afp
'Incredibles 2' makes heroic N. America box office debut

It in a record $180 million in its debut. ...

Category: topnews news
Our App