Kenya’s Kitobo Forest is an island in a sea of arid lands. The groundwater forest acts as a refuge for a diverse array of wildlife species, including 12 amphibian species. One species in particular, the Spotted Reed Frog (Hyperolius puncticulatus), which the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species classifies as Endangered, is the amphibian flagship species for Kitobo Forest. Twenty-nine reptiles and more than 160 bird species call the forest home. Monkeys, Wild Pigs, Bushbuck, Hippopotamus and Leopard, among other mammals, all roam the land.
This seeming safe haven, however, is increasingly threatened by human encroachment. While it one provided fundamental ecosystem benefits to the surrounding communities such as fuel, wood, timber, water and medicinal plants, today it is experiencing illegal logging, forest fires and livestock grazing. These anthropogenic activities pose a profound threat to the survival of the amphibian species here.
Because communities living adjacent to the forest are the primary users of the forest resources, it is essential that they contribute to the sustainable management and conservation of forest biodiversity. In this project we week to promote the survival of amphibians by empowering the local communities to actively participate in conservation and management of the Kitobo forest.
Our objectives are to: strengthen the skills and abilities of Kenya Forest Service (KFS) staff and community scouts in monitoring of Kitobo forest, create awareness among the local people about the importance of amphibians and other forest biodiversity in ecosystem balance, and rehabilitate the degraded areas within Kitobo forest through reforestation.
To accomplish this, this project will:
Train KFS staff and community scouts to use the Management Effectiveness Tracking Tool (METT) to regularly monitor the forest to stop further destruction. The tool will enable the community and other stakeholders to identify needs, constraints and priority actions to improve the effectiveness of managing Kitobo forest.
Launch an educational and awareness campaign on amphibian conservation among the local community. Increased conservation awareness will lead to reduction in pressure on Kitobo Forest, helping to maintain a suitable habitat for amphibian species.
Plant at least 1,000 seedlings of indigenous trees. Rehabilitation of the forest will help to increase the forest habitat important for amphibian survival.
Spotted Reed Frog (Hyperolius puncticulatus) and 11 additional amphibians