Changes in Wildlife Habitat and Numbers in Embu and Mbeere Districts, Eastern Province, Kenya




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LUCID’s Land Use Change Analysis as an Approach for Investigating Biodiversity Loss and Land Degradation Project


Changes in Wildlife Habitat and Numbers

in Embu and Mbeere Districts, Eastern Province, Kenya

LUCID Working Paper Series Number: 37



By




Robert Mutuhi Chira


P.O. Box 30197

Nairobi, Kenya

December 2003




Address Correspondence to:

LUCID Project

International Livestock Research Institute

P.O. Box 30709

Nairobi, Kenya

E-mail: lucid@cgiar.org

Tel. +254-20-630743

Fax. +254-20-631481/ 631499





Changes in Wildlife Habitat and Numbers in

Embu and Mbeere Districts, Eastern Province, Kenya

LUCID Working Paper Number 37

By

Robert Mutuhi Chira


P.O. Box 30197

Nairobi, Kenya

December 2003



Address Correspondence to:

LUCID Project

International Livestock Research Institute

P.O. Box 30709

Nairobi, Kenya

E-mail: lucid@cgiar.org

Tel. +254-20-630743

Fax. +254-2-631481/ 631499


Copyright © 2003 by the:

International Livestock Research Institute, and

United Nations Environment Programme/Division of Global Environment Facility Coordination.

All rights reserved.
Reproduction of LUCID Working Papers for non-commercial purposes is encouraged. Working papers may be quoted or reproduced free of charge provided the source is acknowledged and cited.
Cite working paper as follows: Author. Year. Title. Land Use Change Impacts and Dynamics (LUCID) Project Working Paper #. Nairobi, Kenya: International Livestock Research Institute.
Working papers are available on www.lucideastafrica.org or by emailing lucid@cgiar.org.

TABLE OF CONTENTS


LUCID Working Paper Series Number: 37 i

By i


Robert Mutuhi Chira i

LUCID Working Paper Number 37 2

Robert Mutuhi Chira 2

CHAPTER 1: HISTORIC PERSPECTIVE OF THE SURVEY AREA 1

1.1 Introduction 1

1.2 Climatic conditions and vegetation types 3

1.3 Geology and Topography 3

1.4 Soils 3

1.5 Water Resources 3

1.6 Human Population 3

1.7 Agriculture and livestock 4

1.8 Wildlife conservation 4

1.9 Mwea National Reserve – Location and legal status 5

1.10 Status of wildlife in the reserve 5

1.10.1 Elephants 5

Species 7

Reserve 8

Outside 8

1.11 Factors that led to wildlife declines in Mbeere District 8

1.11.1 Human population increases 8

1.11.2 Poaching 9

1.11.3 Tree felling and land clearing 9

1.11.4 Fires 10

1.11.4 Fencing of the reserve 10

CHAPTER 2: VEGETATION CHARACTERIZATION, SPECIES COMPOSITION AND STRUCTURE IN MWEA NATIONAL RESERVE 11

2.1 Introduction 11

2.2 Methods 11

2.2.1 Vegetation Classification 11

2.2.2 Woody plant species composition 12

Total density of all species = ----------------------------------------------- 12

2.2.3 Woody species composition and abundance 13

2.2.4 Woody species structural composition 13

2.3 Results 13

2.3.1 Vegetation classification 13

2.3.2 Vegetation types species characterization 13

2.3.3 Common woody species composition and abundance 14

2.3.4 Woody species density and diversity 20

A. mellifera Bushed Woodland 21

A. mellifera Bushed Woodland 21

2.3.5 Relative frequency of occurrence of 12 common woody species 21

2.4 Discussion 25

CHAPTER 3: HERBACEOUS LAYER SPECIES COMPOSITION, DENSITY AND DIVERSITY IN MWEA NATIONAL RESERVE 27

3.1 Introduction 27

3.2 Methods 27

3.3 Results 28

3.3.1 Herbaceous species composition 28

3.3.2 Wooded grasslands 28

3.3.3 Acacia mellifera bushed woodland 28

3.3.4 Commiphora africana bushed woodland 30

3.3.5 Bushland 30

3.3.6 Wet season herbaceous species density and diversity indices 32

3.4 Discussion 35

CHAPTER 4: MAMMALIAN SPECIES COUNT, HABITAT USE AND INTERACTION IN MWEA NATIONAL RESERVE 36

4.1 Introduction 36

4.2 Methods 36

4.2.1 Mammalian species counts 36

4.3 Results 36

4.3.1 Seasonal herbivore densities and distribution 36

4.3.2 Acacia mellifera bushed woodland 37

4.3.3 Commiphora africana bushed woodland 38

4.3.4 Bushland vegetation type 39

4.3.6 Wooded grasslands 41

4.3.7 Transition zone 43

Wooded grasslands 43

4.3.8 Herbivore habitat preferences and distribution 43

4.3.9 Elephant interaction with other mammalian species 43

F-value 44

Mean dung density during the dry season 44

Mean dung density during the wet season 44

4.4 Discussion 45

5.0 References 47




LIST OF FIGURES


Figure 1. Embu and Mbeere Districts in the National context 2

Figure 2. Mwea National Reserve – Regional setting 6

Table 1: Predation and crop destruction cases reported on average for various species in Embu and Mbeere districts between 1979 and 1986 7

Table 2: Number of individuals by species encountered in Mwea National Reserve during the 1983 and 1984 ground counts 7

Table 3: Location, fate and status of mammalian species translocated into Mwea National Reserve 8

Figure 3. Changes in land-cover types in Embu-Mbeere Districts between 1987 and 2001 (source: Olson et al., LUCID Working Paper 20) 9

Figure 4. Changes in land-use types in Embu-Mbeere Districts between 1987 and 2001 (source: Olson et al., LUCID Working Paper 20) 10

Figure 5. Vegetation types in Mwea National Reserve 15

Figure 9: Relative frequency of 21 common woody species in the wooded grasslands in Mwea National Reserve 19

Figure 10. Mean total Density of all species in various vegetation types in the reserve 20

Table 4: Critical t-test values for Shannon-Wiener diversity indices between vegetation types in Mwea National Reserve 21

Table 5: Relative frequency of 12 woody species by vegetation types in the reserve 21

Figure 11: Proportion of twelve woody plant height classes in vegetation types in the reserve 22

Figure 12: Population structure denoted by relative frequency of woody species height classes in the reserve 23

Figure 13: Population structure denoted by relative frequency of woody speices height classes in four vegetation types in the reserve 24

Table 6: Wet season grass and dicot species composition, biomass and frequency in burned and unburned wooded grasslands. G – Grass species; D - Dicots 29

Figure 14: Wet season grasses and dicots dry biomass in burned and unburned wooded grasslands 30

Table 7: Wet season grass and dicot species composition, biomass and frequency in three vegetation type. G – Grass species D - Dicots 31

Figure 15: Wet season grasses to dicots dry bimass in three vegetation types in the reserve 32

Table 8: Wet season grass species density estimates for vegetation types in the reserve 33

Table 9: Wet season dicots density estimates for vegetation types in the reserve 34

Table 10. Wet season Shannon-Wiener diversity indices and their critical t-test values between vegetation types 35

Figure 17: Dung density as an index of utilization of the Commiphora africana bushed woodland by large herbivores during the dry and wet seasons 38

Table 11: Dry and wet seasons mean ±SE dung density for herbivores in the A. mellifera and the C. africana bushed woodlands 39

Figure 18: Dung density as an index of utilization of the bushland habitat by large herbivores during the dry and wet seasons 40

Table 12: Dry and wet seasons mean ±SE dung density for herbivores in the bushlan and the riverine vegetation types 41

Figure 20. Dung density as an index of utilization of the wooded grasslands by large herbivores during the dry and wet seasons 42

Figure 21. Dung density as an index of utilization of the transition zone by large herbivores during the dry and wet seasons 42

Table 13: Dry and wet seasons mean ±SE dung density for herbivores in the transiton 43

zone and the wooded grasslands 43

Table 14: Dry and wet seasons meanSE dung density as a measure of herbivore occupancy for various vegetation types in Mwea NR 44

Table 15: G-test critical values in elephant habitat interaction with other mammalian species in the reserve (3df). 45





LIST OF TABLES

Figure 1. Embu and Mbeere Districts in the National context 2

Figure 2. Mwea National Reserve – Regional setting 6

Table 1: Predation and crop destruction cases reported on average for various species in Embu and Mbeere districts between 1979 and 1986 7

Table 2: Number of individuals by species encountered in Mwea National Reserve during the 1983 and 1984 ground counts 7

Table 3: Location, fate and status of mammalian species translocated into Mwea National Reserve 8

Figure 3. Changes in land-cover types in Embu-Mbeere Districts between 1987 and 2001 (source: Olson et al., LUCID Working Paper 20) 9

Figure 4. Changes in land-use types in Embu-Mbeere Districts between 1987 and 2001 (source: Olson et al., LUCID Working Paper 20) 10

Figure 5. Vegetation types in Mwea National Reserve 15

Figure 9: Relative frequency of 21 common woody species in the wooded grasslands in Mwea National Reserve 19

Figure 10. Mean total Density of all species in various vegetation types in the reserve 20

Table 4: Critical t-test values for Shannon-Wiener diversity indices between vegetation types in Mwea National Reserve 21

Table 5: Relative frequency of 12 woody species by vegetation types in the reserve 21

Figure 11: Proportion of twelve woody plant height classes in vegetation types in the reserve 22

Figure 12: Population structure denoted by relative frequency of woody species height classes in the reserve 23

Figure 13: Population structure denoted by relative frequency of woody speices height classes in four vegetation types in the reserve 24

Table 6: Wet season grass and dicot species composition, biomass and frequency in burned and unburned wooded grasslands. G – Grass species; D - Dicots 29

Figure 14: Wet season grasses and dicots dry biomass in burned and unburned wooded grasslands 30

Table 7: Wet season grass and dicot species composition, biomass and frequency in three vegetation type. G – Grass species D - Dicots 31

Figure 15: Wet season grasses to dicots dry bimass in three vegetation types in the reserve 32

Table 8: Wet season grass species density estimates for vegetation types in the reserve 33

Table 9: Wet season dicots density estimates for vegetation types in the reserve 34

Table 10. Wet season Shannon-Wiener diversity indices and their critical t-test values between vegetation types 35

Figure 17: Dung density as an index of utilization of the Commiphora africana bushed woodland by large herbivores during the dry and wet seasons 38

Table 11: Dry and wet seasons mean ±SE dung density for herbivores in the A. mellifera and the C. africana bushed woodlands 39

Figure 18: Dung density as an index of utilization of the bushland habitat by large herbivores during the dry and wet seasons 40

Table 12: Dry and wet seasons mean ±SE dung density for herbivores in the bushlan and the riverine vegetation types 41

Figure 20. Dung density as an index of utilization of the wooded grasslands by large herbivores during the dry and wet seasons 42

Figure 21. Dung density as an index of utilization of the transition zone by large herbivores during the dry and wet seasons 42

Table 13: Dry and wet seasons mean ±SE dung density for herbivores in the transiton 43

zone and the wooded grasslands 43

Table 14: Dry and wet seasons meanSE dung density as a measure of herbivore occupancy for various vegetation types in Mwea NR 44

Table 15: G-test critical values in elephant habitat interaction with other mammalian species in the reserve (3df). 45


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