The Mount Kenya ecosystem and unique natural resources are being degraded and in many cases destroyed by uncontrolled use and exploitation. The forests especially are under extreme threat from human induced illegal activities.
In 1999 an aerial survey of the then Forest Reserve conducted by the Kenya Wildlife Service highlighted the ongoing destruction of the forest leading to the decision to re-gazette the Forest Reserve as a Natural Reserve. The report gives an excellent summary of the threats on Mount Kenya's forests. Since the 1999 report and following the subsequent re-gazettment of the Reserve and the formation of the Mount Kenya Trust, a follow up report entitled "Changes in the state of Conservation of Mt. Kenya forests: 1999 - 2003" was released. This was compiled by the Kenya Wildlife Service, UNEP, the Kenya Forest Working Group and the Durrell Institute for Conservation and Ecology, University of Kent. The report shows encouraging improvements, however extensive destruction still continues to threaten the future of Mount Kenya's precious resources.
The major Threats to Mt. Kenya's ecosystems are:
- Logging of indigenous trees
- Charcoal production
- Marijuana cultivation
- Forest encroachment and squatter settlement
- Livestock grazing
- Lack of sufficient funding for KWS, complacent policing of existing laws
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