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Embobut Forest

Forest Description

Embobut Forest is one of the five significant water towers areas of high forest land in Kenya, supplying water to the surrounding region.Collectively the Embobut and Cherangani Hills water towers also supply water to the Kerio River, which flows through the Cheploch Gorge in Baringo to Lake Turukana via the Turkwel Gorge.

 

It is a source of several rivers which includes, Nzoia, Morum, Kapolet, Saiwa, Embobut, Siga and Weiwei. These forest hills are located within Elgeyo Marakwet, West Pokot and Trans-Nzoia Counties. They cover approximately 95,600 ha, of which 61,500 ha is closed canopy forest while the remainder is constituted of Bamboo, scrub, rock, grassland, moorland with about 4,000 ha under plantations.

 

One of the gazetted forest in the Cherangany Hill is the Embobut Forest situated in Elgeyo/Marakwet County and covers an area of approximately 21, 000 ha. The strategic importance of this forest as a critical water tower and as Marakwets source of livelihood was first recognised by the British Colonial Powers in 1893. As such the Marakwets were issued with permits to graze in the forests during the dry season but move out when pasture was available in their native land. This was followed by proclamation order 26 of 6th November 1954 and declared a central forest via subsequent legal notice. Even then this protection decision which is a separate law does not allow permanent residence or habitation, nor agrarian activity but grants limited access to licensed grazing and therefore the forest remained intact.

 

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