An ecological inventory of the Kora National Reserve, Kenya for the Wildlife Conservation and Management Department of the Kenya Government.
A joint venture with the National Museums of Kenya
The aim of the Kora Research Project was to provide an ecological description of the Kora National Reserve for the Wildlife Conservation and Management Department of the Kenya Government, in order that they may plan for the future management and utilisation of this conservation area. A secondary objective was to collect biological material for deposit and study in the collections of the National Museum. Such inventories are a vital, but often overlooked element of management planning. Without a thorough knowledge of the physical and biological attributes of a protected area, there is no baseline against which to measure human-induced environmental changes.
The Kora National Reserve is a 1700 km2 triangle of dense Acacia woodland and Commiphora scrub to the south of the Tana River. At first sight it appears to be an unprepossessing wilderness but it is rich in species, and is typical of many similar landscapes throughout Africa which are threatened by an-ever increasing human population. An important objective was to find commercial uses for acacia resins, as an inducement to persuade local people not to destroy the trees for firewood or grazing.
Campi y Ndovu, the Base Camp, was built on the banks of the Tana River with help from the Royal Engineers. Surrounded by a stout chain-link fence, it contained a workshop to service the four new 110 Land Rovers lent by their manufacturers to transport scientists around the reserve, tented accommodation, a laboratory and central eating area. Before the main team arrived, an aerial survey was flown. Extensive literature searches by the National Museum staff had produced a preliminary list of all animals and plants expected to be found in the Reserve. Whilst NASA's Goddard Space Flight Centre provided enhanced Landsat images which were later calibrated by their staff in the field.