Boni (Ijara district) and Dodori (Lamu district)

Boni (Ijara district) and Dodori (Lamu district)

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Boni (Ijara district) and Dodori (Lamu district) national reserves are indigenous open canopy forests of the Northern-Zanzibar-Inhambane coastal forest mosaic. Both reserves were gazetted in 1976 and were curved out of the Lunghi and Boni forest reserves which are administered by Ijara and Lamu county councils, respectively. Dodori covers an area of 877km², and Boni comprises 1,339 km². Boni lies next to the Somali border, in the traditional dwelling region of the Boni hunter tribe, today reduced to a few hundred of people. Dodori reserve is named after the river ending in the Indian Ocean at Dodori Creek, a breeding place for dugongs . Boni forest reserve lies between the two national reserves, the Lunghi forest reserve lies to the west of both national reserves astride the two administrative districts. Dodori hosts a vegetal diversity mainly consisting of coastal and riverine forests, mangroves, swampy grasslands and savannah. Away from the rivers and channels, impenetrable thornbush is scattered with gigantic baobabs. At the Dodori coastal area, waterholes are frequently visited by gazelles, antelopes and waterbirds

Common herbivores in the region include hippopotamus, bushpig, warthog, buffalo, common duiker, topi and waterbuck. There is inadequate knowledge of the biodiversity values of the two reserves because of security problems. Between them, they harbour densities of plant species that are among the highest in the world, and they have been declared biodiversity hotspots. They also have bird species characteristic of the coastal forests of eastern Africa, including globally threatened species such as Sokoke Pipit.

Vital ecosystems in the area are not properly conserved and managed. Instead they are being seriously degraded at a high economical and ecological cost. Due to increased human population and settlement, there are conflicts arising in the wildlife, agriculture, fisheries and forestry sectors. In the newly settled areas, parcels of land are cleared causing localized fuel wood shortages as well as soil exposure and erosion. Export of timber from indigenous tree species for the construction and furniture industries within and outside the reserves continues to exert pressure on the forest resources. Trees such as Brachystagia huilliensis (Muhugu), Combretum schumanii (Mkongolo) and Dalbergia melanoxylon (Mpingo) from Kenya coastal forests, including Boni, Dodori and Lunghi are the primary raw material for the woodcarving industry which is a vital element of the coastal tourism sector.

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