An update from James Mwang’ombe, the supervisor of EDGE Fellow Dorine Shali, both of whom are contributing to the conservation of the Sagalla caecilian in Kenya.
Though the grant from ZSL ended in May 2010, some activities have been going on though at a slower pace, also due to harsh weather conditions currently the area is experiencing. Monitoring of the planted tree seedlings was undertaken with most of them doing quite well. The survival rate is estimated at 60%, but could have been higher if the area was not experiencing harsh weather conditions due to delayed onset of rains (the short rains usually begin in mid-September). Another challenge being experienced is the current lack of resources to carry out spot weeding. However, community environmental committee has planned to undertake spot weeding soon during one of the community working days.
Due to the prevailing dry conditions, a fire outbreak occurred that destroyed a potion of the community forest, inder Eucalyptus trees. We intend to take advantage of this calamity to replace the eucalyptus burnt by planting indigenous tree seedlings once the rains begin.
Participatory Forest Management (PFM)
The Sagalla Community Forest Association (SCFA) has formally been registered by the Government. They received their certificate of registration in October 2010, and this paves way for the signing of a Memorandum of Agreement with the Kenya Forest Service (KFS) once the PFM plan for Sagalla forest receives approval. The Sagalla community can now engage formally with the KFS.
In consideration that the Participatory Forest Management Plan may take some time for it to be approved other conservation initiatives are being spearheaded such as the planting of banana (Musasea spp) suckers and farm forestry. This is in appreciation of the fact that the Sagalla Caecilian has often been found in association with banana plantations and rotting plant materials and therefore the ecological sensitive cultivation of bananas in marshy areas will also be expected to benefit this species, while providing income (and livelihood/food security) to the community.