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      Biosphere Reserve Information



  General Description   Mount Elgon itself is a volcanic massif, well known for its outstanding plant diversity, its role as a vital “water tower” for the region, and for its cultural significance. Over 100,000 people live here from subsistence and commercial cropping, pastoralism, and ecotourism. There are three research stations and many educational programmes for local communities and visitors. The Biosphere Reserve is providing a framework for coordinating the work of the Mount Elgon National Park (16,916 ha) which forms the core area ; the Mount Elgon Forest Reserve and Chepkitale National Reserve, together forming a buffer zone of 90,905 ha ; and a 10 km strip of intensively used land in the foothills of the mountain range, covering some 101,000 ha, making up the transition area. An Ecosystem Management Committee, drawing membership from all local stakeholders, has been set up to steer the implementation of an overall management plan. Community Conservation Teams and Community Action Plan Committees ensure community mobilisation, awareness creation and implementation of alternative income-generating activities such as sale of farm produce for hotels and agroforestry. Cooperation is already underway with Uganda to create a future transboundary biosphere reserve for the whole Mount Elgon ecosystem.
  Major ecosystem type   Mixed mountain highland system
Volcanic mountains and deep valleys and gorges
  Major habitats & land cover types   Moorland and Heathland
Afro-alpine and Afro-montane forest
Agricultural land (maize, beans, wheat, tea and horticulture)
Residential areas
  Location   Lower left corner : 30°20’49’’ E and 0°43’31’’ N
Upper right corner : 35°3’55’’ E and 01°02’02’’ N
  Area (hectares)    
  Total   208,821
  Core area(s)   16,916
  Buffer zone(s)   90,905
  Transition area(s) when given   101,000
  Altitude (metres above sea level)   1,000 – 4,301 m
  Year designated   2003
  Administrative authorities   Kenya Wildlife Service Reports to the Ministry of Environment, Natural Resources and Wildlife
  Brief description   Monitoring of water quality and level in perennial and seasonal rivers.
Geomorphology study of Mt. Elgon elephant caves, elephant dung samples analyses found in the cave.
Establishment of elephant and monkey distribution, movement patterns and habitat use with Global Positioning System technology(GPS).
Monitoring of forest dynamics
Research on human/wildlife conflicts in Mt Elgon with an aim of recommending viable conflict mitigation measures.
Research and monitoring of tourism impacts on cultural values of local communities
  Specific variables...    
  Abiotic   Drought, geomorphology, hydrology, water quality/chemistry.
  Biodiversity   Conservation, forest systems, mammals, migrating populations/migration, monitoring/methodologies, mountain and highland systems, population genetics/population dynamics.
  Socio-economic   Cultural aspects, human/wildlife conflicts, people-nature relations/man/nature, resource use, social/socio-economic aspects, tourism.
  Integrated monitoring   Conflict, impact and risk studies/environmental impact.
  Contact address    
Mount Elgon National Park
PO Box 753
  Telephone   (254) 325- 310 456 / 7

Last updated: 27/05/2004

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