Application of Fragmentation Research to Conservation Planning for Multiple Stakeholders: An example from the Taita Hills, southwest Kenya

Attrition and fragmentation of natural habitats remains one of the most persistent problems for conservationists. Exactly how habitat loss leads to the loss of biodiversity is not easily pinned down, and varies across species, taxonomic groups and landscapes. integrating theory with conservation on the ground is challenging due to the multi-faceted nature of the problem. Here, we briefly highlight and review key scientific results from an ongoing long-term ornithological research project in the highly fragmented and threatened forests of the Taita Hills, SE Kenya. The findings point to the inability of birds to disperse between remnant habitats, or to adjust to changing habitat quality as the main mechanisms underlying adverse effects of forest loss on birds. We integrated our findings and their implications for conservation in a recent stakeholders’ workshop bringing together scientists, government officials and members of the local community in the Taita Hills. During this workshop the local community and the government voiced their priorities concerning these forest resources, by identifying the pressing problems and suggesting best avenues of mitigating them. We discuss how the scientific results and recommendations from a biodiversity standpoint are being translated into actual conservation, taking into account the views and priorities of other key stakeholders. This exemplifies one of the few unique situations in eastern Africa where enormous effort is being made towards bridging the chronic gap between scientists, government and local communities concerning the conservation of natural resources. (Source: Author Abstract)

Title: Application of Fragmentation Research to Conservation Planning for Multiple Stakeholders: An example from the Taita Hills, southwest Kenya
Authors: Githuru, M.
Lens, L.
Year: 2007
Periodical: Biological Conservation
Volume: 134
Issue: 2
Pages: 271-278
Geographic term: Kenya
Discipline: Environment
Abstract: Attrition and fragmentation of natural habitats remains one of the most persistent problems for conservationists. Exactly how habitat loss leads to the loss of biodiversity is not easily pinned down, and varies across species, taxonomic groups and landscapes. integrating theory with conservation on the ground is challenging due to the multi-faceted nature of the problem. Here, we briefly highlight and review key scientific results from an ongoing long-term ornithological research project in the highly fragmented and threatened forests of the Taita Hills, SE Kenya. The findings point to the inability of birds to disperse between remnant habitats, or to adjust to changing habitat quality as the main mechanisms underlying adverse effects of forest loss on birds. We integrated our findings and their implications for conservation in a recent stakeholders’ workshop bringing together scientists, government officials and members of the local community in the Taita Hills. During this workshop the local community and the government voiced their priorities concerning these forest resources, by identifying the pressing problems and suggesting best avenues of mitigating them. We discuss how the scientific results and recommendations from a biodiversity standpoint are being translated into actual conservation, taking into account the views and priorities of other key stakeholders. This exemplifies one of the few unique situations in eastern Africa where enormous effort is being made towards bridging the chronic gap between scientists, government and local communities concerning the conservation of natural resources. (Source: Author Abstract)