KE067
Mutitu Forest This is an IBA in danger! 


Year of compilation: 2016

Site description
Mutitu Forest is situated in Kitui County and it emerges as inselbergs, from arid scrub land vegetation at 800 m plains, rising to about 1580 m above sea level.

The climate is arid and semi-arid with characteristic erratic and unreliable rainfall. Mean annual rainfall ranges from as low as 500 mm in the lowlands to 1050 mm in the hilltop.

The site experiences two rain seasons, long rains between March to June and short rains between October and December. Temperature and evaporation rates are generally high with February and September being the hottest months of the year. Minimum mean annual temperatures vary between 140C to 220C while maximum mean annual temperatures vary between 260C to 340C.



Key biodiversity
The Hills are important  for raptors and some Afro tropical and Palaearctic migrants. It hosts Hinde's Pied-babbler and Martial Eagle (Vulnerable) and the Pallid Harrier (Near Threatened), which are species of of conservation concern.

A total of eight species of reptiles and amphibians have been recorded too.


Pressure/threats to key biodiversity
  1. Illegal harvesting of timber, medicinal plants harvesting and charcoal burning.
  2. Fires during the dry spell
  3. Encroachment and pole cutting at some of the sections of the forest.


Conservation responses/actions for key biodiversity
  1. A site support group has been formed at the site.
  2. The county government has employed some scouts to assist in the patrolling of the forest.



Protected areas
The entire hill is under the protection of KFS.

Habitat and land use
The vegetation is characterized by scrub lands and wooded bush land on the lowlands while the hilltop by upland dry forest ecosystems dominated by Drypetes, Combretum, Vepris and Croton species. There are perennial springs that do sustain the dry land human and animal life. 


Rock outcrops form a big percentage of the habitat.

Much of the land is under forest cover, hence only acts as a watershed and for research purposes.






Land ownership
It is a gazetted forest managed by Kenya Forest Service.

Site access / Land-owner requests
Permission from KFS is needed.

Acknowledgements
  • The County Goverment of Kitui for having initiated the process of profilin the site as a tourist destination.
  • The various researchers at the National Museums of Kenya.



Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2022) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Mutitu Forest. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 18/05/2022.