Kakamega forest is the eastern-most relic of the once vast Guinea-Congolian equatorial forests and the only true equatorial rainforest found in Kenya. As is the case with other indigenous forests, Kakamega forest provides several ecosystem services and benefits. These include catchment protection, wildlife conservation, provision of pole and fuel wood and other non-timber products, and provisions of medicinal plants and animals. International Union of Conservation of Nature (IUCN, 1995) has accorded Kakamega Tropical Forest the third highest priority for conservation among indigenous forests in Kenya. This is because of its high species richness and habitat heterogeneity and rarity, both of which are of priority for conservation. Anthropogenic activities such as overexploitation and habitat alteration threaten biodiversity, given the relatively small size of the forest and the large surrounding population - Kakamega forest is located in one of most densely populated agricultural areas in the world with over 700 persons per square km. The forest has six (6) very important ecological sub-ecosystems of great interest for research: the riverine and/riparian systems, near natural forest systems, forest (grasslands) glades, secondary forest systems, exotic and indigenous plantations and the soil systems.



The general objective of CEKATFOS is to be the lead and coordinating Centre for research in the Kakamega Forest Ecosystem that will provide leadership in research aimed at understanding and maintaining an appropriate balance between conservation, sustainable utilization and development.

The specific objectives

  • To strengthen the capacity for biodiversity research by developing a stronger and more proactive leadership role in the KFE.
  • To conduct baseline studies on the KFE through literature search, gap analysis, comprehensive field ecological surveys as a basis for establishing a biodiversity database.
  • To establish and promote links with other research institutions and individuals in order to design and lead in providing appropriate management responses to emerging ecological management issues and threats.
  • To establish the sustainable yield levels of non-timber resources and recommend modalities that ensure conservation, sustainable utilization and equitable access by all local communities in the Kakamega Forest Ecosystem, at the same time search and identify equivalent alternatives.
  • To provide solutions to current and future conflicts between biodiversity conservation and sustainable utilization in order to nurture responsible stewardship for future posterity.
  • To stimulate and enhance sustained local and regional economies, through use of fauna and flora, human capital, and catchment assets using new technologies and innovations.
  • To promote important biodiversity assets of the society and cultures of the region through knowledge of mechanisms that promotes ecosystem diversity, dynamics and resilience.
  • To build and maintain a database on ecological dynamics of the KFE, and appropriate ecological and management responses.
  • To offer consultancy services in biodiversity assessment and monitoring and Environmental Impacts Assessments.
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