Islands in the desert-forest vegetation of Kenya's smaller mountains and highland areas (Nyiru, Ndoto, Kulal, Marsabit, Loroghi, Ndare, Mukogodo, Porror, Mathews, Gakoe, Imenti, Ngaia, Nyambeni, Loita, Nguruman, Nairobi)

  • Rainer W Bussman Lehrstuhl für Pflanzenphysiologie, Universität Bayreuth D 95440 Bayreuth, Germany


A syntaxonomic survey of Kenyan montane forests was performed in a field study from 1992-1996. Most forests encountered belong to the Juniperetea procerae floral community (cedar forests), of which the Juniperion procerae Faureo salignae-Ilicetum mitis on the wet mountaintops and the Myrsino africanae-Juniperetum procerae in drier areas, were most commonly encountered. On Mt Marsabit the Coffeo arabicae¬Rinoreetum convallarioidis was found as a new association of the Cassipourion malosanae. The top of Mt Nyiru is covered with large stands of the Hagenietea abyssinicae and extensive bamboo forests (Sinarundinarietea alpinae). Mathews Range harbours the largest forest tracts remaining in the dry north of Kenya. On the lower slopes of this mountain, a new alliance, assessed as Crotonion megalocarpi is described. Camphor forests (Ocotetea usambarensis) cover altitudes from 1,600-2,400 m in the southern Aberdare Range. In the submontane Imenti and Ngaia forests, and the Nyambeni Hills, between 1,200-1,600 m altitude, a variety of forest types related to the Guineo Congolian rainforest were encountered. These forests are assessed as Lovoion swynnertonii. In the montane zone of Nyambeni dense bamboo forests cover the wetter areas, whereas drier parts are covered by cedar forests. On the drier hill slopes of southern Kenya the Juniperion procerae is the prevalent forest type. On the often mist-covered and cloudy hilltops, associations of the Cassipourion malosanae are growing. The forests around Nairobi clearly belong to the Brachylaenion huillensis. Although some syntaxa had to be newly described, the forests of the study areas clearly fit into the classification system of Bussmann & Beck (1995).

Journal of East African Natural History Vol. 91 (1&2) 2002: pp. 27-79

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eISSN: 1026-1613
print ISSN: 0012-8317