Recognised as a globally important conservation priority, the Eastern Africa Coastal Forest is under threat from unsustainable and illegal logging, fires, agriculture, and unsustainable charcoal production.
The small forest remnants that make up the Coastal Forests of Eastern Africa cover less than 2% of the total land area of the region yet contain remarkable levels of biodiversity. Huge numbers of the plants and animals that live here are found nowhere else on earth. These endemic species include bush babies, the Tana River mangabey (a highly endangered primate) and the Zanzibar red colobus monkey. The open savannah surrounding the forest is home to some of Africa’s most threatened large animals, including the elephant, rhino, lion, leopard and hunting dog.
WWF are focusing activities on three areas of forest in Coastal Kenya and Tanzania to halt forest decline. This will be achieved by increasing the sustainability of forest management, enhancing local livelihoods through sustainable business, restoring landscapes and showing people how to live with the forest in a less destructive manner.
After his recent visit to the coastal forests, David Tanner, WWF Programme Manager for Coastal East Africa is urging people in Wales to get on board:
“I’ve seen how beautiful these forests are and how important they are to the people who live here. Size Of Wales is a great opportunity to build a link between the Welsh people and this amazing part of the world. If we can succeed in attracting enough donations, we can help to give some of the planet’s poorest people the chance of a more sustainable future, as well as help preserve the forests and their incredible wildlife.”
A high proportion of coastal forests are now formally protected. The charity is now focussing on halting deforestation in three key areas of coastal Kenya and Tanzania. As well as restoring landscapes, the forests need to be used and managed differently and help encourage alternative local businesses and jobs, so people can live sustainably in and around them. It’s also lobbying central and local governments for policies to ensure forests are managed sustainably.”