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Trends in forest condition, threats and conservation action as derived from participatory monitoring in coastal Kenya

Ndang'ang'a, Paul K., Barasa, Fred M., Kariuki, Mercy N., Muoria, Paul
African journal of ecology 2016 v.54 no.1 pp. 76-86
biodiversity, coastal forests, conservation areas, habitats, indole butyric acid, monitoring, rivers, woodlands, Kenya
The coastal forests of Kenya are conservation priorities hosting high levels of biodiversity. Monitoring of biodiversity in these forests is therefore necessary to understand and reverse negative trends in good time. Using the Important Bird Area (IBA) monitoring framework, a participatory approach, state (habitat condition), pressure (threats) and response (conservation action) indicators of twelve coastal Kenya forest IBAs were assessed from 2004 to 2011. Trends for these indicators were assessed at six sites for which sufficient data existed: Arabuko‐Sokoke, Dakatcha Woodlands, Gede Ruins, Lower Tana River, Shimba Hills and Taita Hills, and baselines were described for remaining six. Changes were always small, but state deteriorated in Gede, Lower Tana and Shimba Hills, remained the same (unfavourable) in Arabuko‐Sokoke and Dakatcha, and improved in Taita Hills. Pressure reduced in Arabuko‐Sokoke, Dakatcha and Taita Hills, deteriorated in Lower Tana and Shimba Hills and remained the same (medium) in Gede. Response improved in Dakatcha, remained the same (medium) in Shimba Hills, and deteriorated in the rest. As there was an apparent overall deterioration in the forests assessed, improved management of the protected sites and increased conservation action through community engagement around protected areas and within the nonprotected IBAs are recommended.