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      Biosphere Reserve Information



  General Description   Situated on the equator about 180 km north of Nairobi, Mount Kenya is a solitary mountain of volcanic origin. A belt of moist Afromontane forest (1,800 to 3,200 meters above sea level) changes to a zone of tree-like heather at about 3,200 meters, and further up to moorlands and grasslands. Mount Kenya National Park was already established in 1949 and became a biosphere reserve in1978. In 1997, Mount Kenya National Park and adjacent forest reserves were inscribed on the World Heritage List.
As in several other mountain areas of eastern Africa, Mount Kenya has become under increasing human pressure in recent decades. Assessments have identified the following major threats: illegal logging of camphor (Ocotea usambarensis), cedar (Juniperus procera), wild olive (Olea europaea) and East African rosewood (Hagenia abyssinica), cultivation of marijuana and other crops, abuse of the ‘shamba’ reforestation system, uncontrolled charcoal production, livestock grazing, landslides and fires. Mount Kenya is also important since it constitutes a major water reservoir for its foothills and adjacent areas. Increasing conflicts over water resources provide the background for an assessment of the complex ecological and socio-economic dynamics of the highland-lowland system of Mount Kenya and the adjacent upper Euaso Ng’iro North Basin. The biosphere reserve concept is hoped to provide an efficient framework to implement the recommendations given in both studies. The involvement of society, decision-makers, various institutions and scientists in the planning and implementation is one of the main tasks of the biosphere reserve in the future.
  Major ecosystem type   Mixed mountain and highland systems
  Major habitats & land cover types   Mountainous area, lower zone (below 2,500m) dominated by Juniperus procera and Podocarpus spp.; wetter areas dominated by Cassipourea malosana; higher altitude zone (2,500 – 3,000m) dominated by bamboo (Arundinaria alpina) on south-eastern slopes, and a mosaic of bamboo and Podocarpus milanjianus; maximum rainfall areas supporting Hagenia abyssinica and Hypericum revolutum; grassy glades on ridges; lower alpine or moorland zone characterized by tussock grasses (Festuca pilgeri) and sedges (Carex spp.); upper alpine zone with giant rosette plants (Lobelia telekii and L. keniensis, Senecio keniodendron and Carduus spp.); river banks with megaphytic Senecio battiscombei and Helichrysum kilimanjari
  Location   00°10'S; 37°20'E
  Area (hectares)    
  Total   71,759
  Core area(s)  
  Buffer zone(s)  
  Transition area(s) when given  
  Altitude (metres above sea level)   +1,600 to +5,199
  Year designated   1978
  Administrative authorities   Mount Kenya Biosphere Reserve Kenya Wildlife Service
  Brief description   Glaciological studies
Forest fauna and flora
Hydro-geographical research on Mt. Kenya watershed
Forest fire ecology
Environmental impact assessment
  Specific variables...    
  Abiotic   Glaciology, hydrology.
  Biodiversity   Ecosystem assessment, fauna, fires/fire ecology, flora, freshwater/inland water.
  Socio-economic   n.a.
  Integrated monitoring   Impact and risk studies/Environmental impact, watershed studies/monitoring.
  Contact address    
Mt. Kenya National Park
P.O. Box 69
 Naro Moru
  Web site  

Last updated: 11/05/2000

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