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NATURAL FOREST

Ndoinet Forest

DESCRIPTION OF THE FOREST

Geographic Location

Ndoinet forest is located along latitude 0 ̊ 33` South of equator and longitude 35 ̊ 21` East in Bomet County. It is one among the three forest stations that form the South Western Mau, within the Mau Conservancy in Bomet County. The other two are Mara Mara and Itare forest stations. The Forest station has an area of 20,032 Ha, with two distinct blocks; a smaller block of 32 Ha surrounded by farmlands in Nakuru County where the station offices are located and a larger block with an area of 20,000 Ha located about 6 km from the station block. This block borders Olegurone forest station to the South, Itare forest station to the West, Maramara forest station to the North and farmlands in Nakuru to the East.

 

One can access the Station office from Nakuru–Eldoret highway, through Molo Town, then use the Molo- Sitoito- Itare dam road, where the latter is a distance of about 35 Km. 

 

Legal and Administrative Status

Ndoinet forest was gazetted vide gazette notice No 44 of 1932 as part of Western Mau constituting part of the larger Mau forest complex with an objective of forest conservation. Currently, it purely an indigenous forest conservation as area under plantation establishment was excised. The station underwent a massive excision exercise in the year 2000 and 2000. The present area under Ndoinet from the forest cutline from Kipkoris to Kapkembu had four forest stations namely, Saino, Ndoinet, Tinet and Kirenget stations. The forest land that remained after the excision was amalgamated to form the current Ndoinet forest station. The Station was then managed under Kericho County but based on county administrative boundaries, the station was moved to Bomet County in 2017. The extensive excisions provided settlement land in the current sub locations of Chemare, Tinet, Chematich and Kapnanda in Nakuru County.

 

Currently, the larger block of the forest with an area of 20,000Ha is in Bomet County and borders

Kapndanda and Tinet sub location within Tinet Location, Chematich, and Chemare Sub-locations within Kiptororo Location which are in Nakuru County. However, the smaller forest block with an area of 32Ha is located within Chematich Sub-location in Nakuru County.

 

Administratively, the forest is under the jurisdiction of the Kenya Forest Service, the institution mandated to manage all gazetted forests in Kenya. At the station level, it is under a Forest Manager who reports to the Ecosystem Conservator in Bomet County within the Mau Conservancy. For ease of management, the forest is further sub divided into blocks and beats.

 

History of the Forest 

All forest stations in Kenya including Ndoinet have a rich history running from the pre- colonial era to the present. During the pre-colonial period the south western Mau area was a large continuous block of forest running from the current Elburgon, Molo, Kuresoi, Saino, Olenguruone, Ndoinet, Itare and Mara mara areas.

 

The Ogiek people did not have a clear settlement as they were gatherers and hunters. The management of the forest resources was under the traditional Ogiek customs where the Council of elders played a vital role in the utilization and conservation of its resources. The Ogiek people lived in clans with each clan having territorial boundaries where they would dwell, graze, hunt, gather fruits and roots. The community attached great cultural, religious and social -economic importance to the forest as they carried out circumcision, traditional prayers and sacrifices and other practices in the sacred areas of the forest. The British colonial rulers constructed a railway across the vast land and took up settlements in most of the areas though with great resistance from the Ogiek people. Ndoinet reserve was gazetted in 1932 vide legal notice No. 44 and put under the management of colonial foresters who took over the roles of Council of elders. The Ogiek people were confined to some sections of the forest and were required to follow orders that were given by the forester regarding all activities that were carried out at the station.

 

After Kenya became independent, the management of Ndoinet forest was taken up by the former Forest Department whose style of management continued to exclude the local community. The staff of the department commanded all activities undertaken the forest.

 

Reforms in the Kenyan forestry sector began in 1994 under the Kenya Forestry Master plan which culminated in the enactment of the Forests Act No.7 2005 and other subsidiary legislations. The Act which has since been reviewed to Forest Conservation and Management Act 2016, have clearly defined the roles of the Government through Kenya Forest Service, the forest adjacent communities through the CFA and other stakeholders.

 

Biophysical Description of the Forest

Topography

The forest is located in a high plateau zone in the South West Mau, characterized by undulating hills and valleys sloping towards the west with some areas rising to about 2300 meters above sea level. It has no distinct high hills and from far one would think it is flat, but it has steep slopes especially along major rivers with large water falls.

 

Climate

The climate around Ndoinet forest is influenced by winds and humidity that prevail from Indian Ocean and the Congo rain forest through Lake Victoria Basin. 

 

Temperature

The region around Ndoinet forest have moderate temperatures due to the cool breeze   

from both the Indian Ocean and the Lake Victoria basin. Temperatures range from 14C 

- 23C, which could be attributed to the high altitude.

 

Rainfall

The rainfall pattern is bimodal with the long rains falling within the month of March and July while the short rains falls within the months of September and November. The area receives an average of over 2000mm per annum, thus the area is wet and humid.

 

Geology and soils

Ndoinet falls under a region characterized by dominant geological formations due to volcanic eruptions which released volcanic ashes at different periods. The basement rocks in the region is made of deposits from volcanic sediments originating from quaternary to recent period. Layered porous basalts rocks are more dominant in the area with shiny black layered rock beds along the river beds.

 

The soils are dominantly dark loamy rich in nutrients thus rich for agricultural and forestry practices, however some areas may have clay to black cotton soils due to variation of deposits and age of the parent rock materials.

 

Hydrology

The forest is an important water catchment area for rivers; Kipsonoir, Kiptiget, Simbeiwet, Ndoinet, Chemosit, Songol and Chesirere which are main tributaries to Itare River. This is a major tributary to Sondu Miriu River on which Hydro Electric Power is produced before the river drains into Lake Victoria.

 

Similarly, the forest is also a source of river Chepkulo which drains its water into the Mara River that traverses the renowned cross border Mara Game reserve. The Itare dam which is under construction is located in the former forest exercised areas and will be fed with waters from three rivers namely;

Chesirere, Ndoinet and Songol whose source is the intervention zone. The forest is vital for the

vast agricultural activities and tea estates in Kericho and Bomet counties and provides source of water for both human and livestock to the adjacent communities and those living downstream.

 

Finding from the social economic survey on water easement revealed that there are no water projects abstracting water from the forest using pipes. The forest adjacent community fetch water from the numerous springs, wells, streams and rivers found within the forest and the intervention zone.

 

It is important to note that, the forest has an expansive 40km cutline along which the forest borders the intervention zone along which an electric fence is proposed and a 100m Nyayo Tea zone being established..

 

BIODIVERSITY DESCRIPTION

Flora

The type and distribution of flora in the forest depends on topography, soil type, soil depth, soil moisture and level of human related activities. About 42% of the forest is degraded due to human settlements in the 1990s, while the rest of the forest is under indigenous forest, grassland and bamboo. A small section along the forest boundary adjacent to the farmlands is under a tea belt under the Nyayo tea zones.

 

The common endemic indigenous trees species found in Ndoinet forest include Podocarpus falcutus (set), Dombeya goetzenii (Silibwet), Olea spp (Emitiot), Syzygium queneensii (Lemeiywet), Nuxia congesta (Chorwet), Ekebergia capensis (Arorwet), and Prunus africana (Tendwet). These endemic species andother diverse indigenous tree species in the forest are useful for water catchment and to the localcommunity as a source of wood fuel, medicine, honey and other related forest products and services.

 

Fauna

Ndoinet forest forms a habitat to unique animal species such as the Mountain Bongo (Suguita) as revealed by a comprehensive biodiversity survey done in the forest. The inter relationship between and among the numerous species of animals in the forest forms complex food chains and food webs that sustains the wellbeing of the forest. The animals commonly found in the forest include Colobus Monkey (Koroitiet), Baboons (Chereret), Bush pigs (Toret) Porcupine (Cheswereret), Hyena (Kimagetiet) and Honey Badger (Kogto). Buffalos (Soet) and Elephants (Beliot) can occasionally be sited especially in the deep intact areas of the forest.

 

Birds normally found in the forest include the woodpecker (Kipkongoniet), African hornbill (Anganget), black bill weaver (Chebisakiat), eagles (Chesireret), cattle egret (Ririat), the crow (chepkungurwet), sparrows (Merewet), owls (Sugurut) and the honey guide (Chesegemit). 

 

Reptiles habiting the forest include lizards and chameleons while aquatic animals especially amphibians thrive well in the numerous rivers and streams within the forest, insects and Mollusca completes the composition of the rich forest biodiversity.

Other Resources

Caves

Water Falls

Salt water

Site

Swamps

Camp Sites

Shrine/

worship sites

Quarry

Carbon Dioxide

IBA (important bird area)

Bee keeping areas

 

Ecotourism sites

The forest has numerous current and potential eco-tourism sites including:- Itare dam

 

The Community Forest Association

The large number of membership in the CFA is important for the Conservation of the forest resources especially in term of protection and rehabilitation of the degraded site. The present CFA membership structure is based on CBOs which are formed from self-help groups in the sub locations. The User rights presently been enjoyed by the CFA include, firewood collection, Grazing, tree nursery establishment, herbal medicine extraction and bee keeping. Other user rights that can be enjoyed by the community include but are not limited to eco-tourism, water abstraction, recreation, quarrying. The registration of user groups based on the user right is proposed in the Community Management Programme.

 

Forest Products

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