Title: Forest cover type, habitat diversity, and anthropogenic influences on forest ecosystems adjoining the Maasai Mara National Reserve, Kenya
Author: Legilisho-Kiyiapi, James;
Source: In: Hansen, Mark; Burk, Tom, eds. Integrated tools for natural resources inventories in the 21st century. Gen. Tech. Rep. NC-212. St. Paul, MN: U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, Forest Service, North Central Forest Experiment Station. 296-304.
Publication Series: General Technical Report (GTR)
Description: Through combined use of satellite imagery, aerial photographs, and ground truthing, a multilevel assessment was conducted in a forest block that forms a unique dispersal zone to the Maasai Mara National Reserve ecosystem. Results of the survey revealed considerable ecological diversity on an area-scale basis - in terms of ecotypes. Forest types ranged from Afro-montane dry conifer forests to semi-deciduous to dry deciduous forests. Distinct monospecific vegetation zones interspersed by mixed species clusters were delineated within the forest block. Forest edges and, in some cases, open glades within closed canopy forests are dominated by "clustered vegetation" atypical of the well-described savanna woodlands, thought to be heavily influenced by grazing and fire. Although habitat diversity in relatively undisturbed forest areas could be attributed to localized variation in altitude, soil, and drainage conditions, large and varied wildlife populations prevalent in the area as well as increased anthropogenic-related factors in recent years (forest encroachment through settlement and cultivation, forest exploitation, overgrazing, burning by forest-adjacent local populations) are largely responsible for the observed, progressive decline in vegetation diversity, and hence form the basis for design of monitoring systems. These preliminary findings suggest a need for a more detailed integrated survey approach for forest management planning involving local communities.
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Legilisho-Kiyiapi, James 2000. Forest cover type, habitat diversity, and anthropogenic influences on forest ecosystems adjoining the Maasai Mara National Reserve, Kenya. In: Hansen, Mark; Burk, Tom, eds. Integrated tools for natural resources inventories in the 21st century. Gen. Tech. Rep. NC-212. St. Paul, MN: U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, Forest Service, North Central Forest Experiment Station. 296-304.
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