Implication for in situ conservation of indigenous species with special reference to wild Coffea arabica L. population in mount Marsabit forest, Kenya
Gachene, , CKK
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Mt. Marsabit forest is the only forest in Kenya where Coffea arabica L. (Rubiaceae) occurs naturally in wild populations. This forest however is highly fragmented and decreasing at a rapid rate due to anthropogenic activities. This study assesses the diversity and structure of species of conservation concern with reference to wild coffee as basis for management, conservation and use of wild genetic resources in Kenya. A botanical inventory and diversity study identified 52 species of trees and shrubs, 12 species of herbs and six species of climbers and lianas were recorded and belonged to 35 families and 64 genera. Rubiaceae (Coffee family) was the richest family with nine species followed by Euphorbiaceae with six species. Rinorea convallarioides (Bak.f.) Eyles ssp. marsabitensis Grey-Wilson (Violaceae), an endemic species, and Drypetes gerrardii Hutch. (Euphorbiaceae), were the two most important species, accounting for more than third of the combined importance value. Coffea arabica was dominant in the forest undergrowth with a higher density occurring in the open patches where it was competing with other shrubs and small trees in the undergrowth. The success and future management and conservation strategy of this forest depend on how to conserve the forest genetic resources especially of this wild species.