Some weeks ago before the christmas festivity began we got a suprise visit from a botanist by the name of Mr.Bakari from Mombasa. He had one mission “Vegetation Survey” which i got to know after being briefed by our project coordinator Mr Simon. Since the forest is approximately 520 hectars we had to sit down and lay down a plan on how we were to cover the whole forest.

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Laying down a strategy on how to cover the Forest

On the first day we just went through some of the trails to make Mr Bakari conservant with the forest.The walk almost took us three hours and on our way back we collected some samples of flowering trees, shrubs and herbs for futher identification. Upon arrival at the main gate we discussed with Mr Bakari what we would need during the survey.The things we needed urgently were Data forms, notebooks, pencils, rulers,tapemeasures, camera, maps, plant press, markers,and strings. A plant identification guide was also needed but since i was available during the whole vegetation survey project there was no need to hire someone but there was a need to hire armed rangers since some sections in the forest adjacent to the southern bypass where robbers mug people then take refuge in the forest were insecure.

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One of the hired armed security guide

The next day everyone was present on time and we proceeded to the forest we headed to the most affected areas in terms of tree poaching and debarking. the section is called “Kamanyanjara” which is not very far from the Kibera slums.The first thing that Mr Bakari did on arrival to the area was to get his tape measure told me to hold it on one side then he walked away from me till he was 10 meters away from me. we did that to form a square.After that we did some marking on the area where we would work on.He then took out his note book and noted down trees, shrubs, and herbs within the marked area. He then showed me how to use a tape measure to get the diameter of the trees which is bone at breast height.He was also noting down the percentage canopy cover of the trees, shrubs and herbs within the measured plot. In evry plot we were to count the tree stumps and note down what species they were. It took us almost three hours to study the plot at Kamanyajara area.

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Measuring the trees from breastbone

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More measurements

After we were through we proceeded towards Kibera slums not to study but for Mr Bakari to have a general veiw of how Kibera looks like, he was suprised to see how densly populated the slum was. He also noted that most vendors selling food stuffs were using wood to prepare their food stuffs. “With this kind of population in an area next to the forest, and with the high cost of fuel i now know how hard it is to manage and control forest destruction.” said Mr Bakari.

To be continued…………………….

Story by Nicholas Akach

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