Monday, October 25, 2010

Implications of forest utilisation on bird conservation- NMK Study



Authors: Edward Waiyakia; Leon A. Bennuna

Abstract

Waiyaki, E. & Bennun, L.A. 2000. The avifauna of coastal forests in southern Kenya: status and conservation. Ostrich 71 (1 & 2): 247-256.

The biological importance and uniqueness of East African coastal forests is widely recognised; they form an Endemic Bird Area. Important remnants of this fragmented habitat OCCUT on the southern Kenyan coast, but their avifauna has been little studied. In October 1992, September 1993 and May-August 1994, we systematically assessed the avifauna of fifteen South Coast forest fragments (and the threats facing them) using mist-netting, timed species counts and direct observations. Sixty forest-dependent bird species were recorded, amongst them three that are globally threatened (Sokoke Pipit Anthus sokolcensis, Spotted Ground Thrush Turdus fischeri, East Coast Akalat Sheppardia gunningi) three that are near-threatened (Southern Banded Snake Eagle Circaetus fasciolatus, Fischer's Turaco Tauraco fischeri, Plain-backed Sunbird Anthrepres reichenowi) and four that are 'restricted-range' (Fischer's Turaco, Sokoke Pipit, Mombasa WoodpeckerCampethera mombassica, Uluguru Violet-backed Sunbird Anthreptes neglectus). Globally or regionally threatened and near-threatened species were relatively rare and were patchily distributed across forests. In contrast, most other forest species were widely distributed, being present in most or all fragments. The breakdown of traditional conservation systems, selective logging, encroachment by cultivation and fire-maintained grassland, fragmentation, allocation of land for urban development, pole cutting, charcoal burning, hunting and trapping, prospective mining, bark stripping and elephant damage are the major threats to the continued survival of these forests. Shimba Hills (Mkongani & Longomagandi), Gandini, Mrima, Marenji, Dzombo, Waa, Buda and Gongoni forests met the criteria for Globally Important Bird Areas set by Birdlife International. A number of urgent steps are needed for improved forest management if these important sites are to survive and retain their biological diversity.

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