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An inventory of a coastal forest in Kenya at Gedi National Monument including a check-list and a Nature trail : report from a minor field study

Gerhardt, Karin; Steiner, Mariette


The aim of this project was to evaluate the conservation status of Gedi as a Kenyan coastal forest, to transfer valuable knowledge about indigenous plants from old traditional healers to the coming generations and to contribute to the botanical research in Kenya. The project was carried out on the Kenyan coast, where a forest of 35 ha among the Gedi National Monument was investigated. A check-list of the vascular plants was accomplished and a nature trail with an accompanying booklet was prepared. An attempt to describe and classify the forest is included in the report. Gedi National Monument is situated 15 km SW of Malindi. It used to be an Afro-Arabic town but was deserted in the beginning of the 17th century. A forest developed, and part of it has probably been left intact since then. Today the area is protected as a national park. The forest is here classified as a Combretum schumarinii - Gyrocarpus americanus lowland semi-deciduous forest on coral rag. It bears little resemblance to the nearest forest, Arabuko-Sokoke (W of Gedi). Gedi forest was probably part of a continuous coral soil vegetation all along the coast. The forest-patches most similar to Gedi are found south of Mombasa, the Jadini and Shimoni forests. These are small and unprotected. The central part of the forest is older and consists mainly of large trees, with a tree-canopy of about 25 m. The outer younger part was probably cut before the forest was protected in 1948. This part is 10-15 m high and shrubby with more lianas. Because of different species composition the paths, the open grassy areas and the main ruin area are separately described. 211 species, including two probably undescribed species, were found within the forest. The nature trail presents 37 species. The illustrated booklet includes their local names and uses. Those were obtained from a local traditional healer. In the appendices are included: 1. A check-list of Gedi forest; 2. A preliminary check-list of Arabuko-Sokoke forest; 3. Preliminary check-lists of Jadini and Shimoni forests; 4. The illustrated Nature Trail booklet; 5. A list of useful plants not mentioned in the Nature Trail booklet; 6. A list of local plant names. This project was initiated by the National Museums of Kenya and financed by the Swedish International Development Authority (SIDA).

Published in

Arbetsrapport / Sveriges lantbruksuniversitet, U-landsavdelningen
1986, number: 36Publisher: Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences

      SLU Authors

    • Gerhardt, Karin

      • Sveriges lantbruksuniversitet, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences
      • Manktelow, Mariette

        • Sveriges lantbruksuniversitet, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences

      UKÄ Subject classification

      Forest Science

      Permanent link to this page (URI)