Degradation of a Forest in the Shimba Hills National Reserve, Kenya, as Initiated by Man and Maintained by Wildlife

An evergreen seasonal lowland forest in Kenya was chosen as an example to demonstrate the effects of forest use in the Holocene. Heavily disturbed and little influenced sites within this forest were compared in regard to structure and floristics. The Lagynias pallidiflora community and its seral stages of natural gap dynamics were described as the zonal vegetation type which was little influenced in the past. The Leptonychia usambarensis community and its seral stages were considered to be a consequence of logging activities. Phytosociological analysis indicated the general possibility of a regeneration of the disturbed sites, i.e. a transition from the Leptonychia usambarensis to the Lagynias pallidiflora community. However, at present, the strain on the vegetation caused by a large population of elephants impedes succession in the open forest sites. The Leptonychia usambarensis community is thus considered to be at a proclimax stage.


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  • Vegetation Unit

  • Seral Stage

  • Understory Tree

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