|Strategic Goal C: To improve the status of biodiversity by safeguarding ecosystems, species and genetic diversity|
By 2020, at least 17 per cent of terrestrial and inland water, and 10 per cent of coastal and marine areas, especially areas of particular importance for biodiversity and ecosystem services, are conserved through effectively and equitably managed, ecologically representative and well connected systems of protected areas and other effective area-based conservation measures, and integrated into the wider landscapes and seascapes.
Kenya has officially protected over 8% of its terrestrial and marine ecosystems with a network of National Parks, National Reserves, Forest Reserves, and Sanctuaries. This is complemented by a further 160 Conservancies, ensuring an additional 11% of Kenya is actively managed for wildlife conservation. These Conservancies are estimated to contain as much as 60% of Kenya’s large mammals and protect a diverse array of habitats and other species . Presently, Kenya has 24 terrestrial National Parks which occupy an area of 29,504Km2 that is approximately 5.08% of the total area of Kenya. There are 31 terrestrial National Reserves in Kenya occupying 17,358.8km2 which is 3% of the country’s total area. Most of the National reserves are managed by county governments with technical advice from Kenya Wildlife Service.
Kenya has 257 sites categorized as natural forests which harbor a variety of wildlife species and are also water towers or water catchment areas. These natural forests fall under 4 key management regimes namely; community forests (52 sites covering 180, 245 ha), forest reserves (201 sites covering 2,045, 406 ha), national monuments (3 sites covering 401 ha) and trust land (1 site covering 188,2017ha) with a total area of 24,142.59km2 which is 4.2% of Kenya’s total area. Marsabit forest ecosystem management plan 2015-2025 is under legal notice No. 1894 of March 2016.
There are 5 National Sanctuaries in Kenya located in Nakuru, Samburu, Kisumu and Homa bay counties. They cover12.47km2 of the country. These sites were designated as Sanctuaries for various reasons amongst them: spectacular views and abundant birdlife; conservation education and rescue centers; or due to historical reasons.
There are over 160 conservancies covering over 63,600Km2 representing 11% of the country’s area. Of these, 4 are Marine, 76 are community, 58 are private, and 26 are group while 60 are listed under World Database Protected Area (WPDA). They mostly operate as Community Based Organizations (CBOs), Trusts or private companies.
The Kenya’s Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas status and Trends report in 2016 indicates that there were two more additional areas identified which totals up to 67 Areas in Kenya. This is attributed to increase in patrolling and surveillance especially in the protected areas. . Kenya has several wildlife corridors with the major ones being the Amboseli-Kilimanjaro and Mt. Kenya-Lewa downs-Samburu-Meru elephant corridors. The latter is a world heritage site
Kenya’s Vision 2030 flagship project for securing wildlife dispersal areas and migratory routes/corridors developed a Conservation Connectivity Framework (CCF), which has identified and mapped all the wildlife dispersal areas and migratory corridors in the southern and northern Kenya rangelands and coastal terrestrial ecosystems. The first phase of the mapping process focused on the southern Kenya rangeland ecosystems comprising six contiguous sub-ecosystems while the second phase focused on the northern Kenya rangelands and coastal terrestrial ecosystem comprising the greater Ewaso ecosystem, South Turkana-Mt. Elgon ecosystem, northeast Kenya landscapes, and coastal terrestrial ecosystems.
A total of 58 migratory routes and corridors were identified in the southern Kenya rangeland ecosystems: Maasai-Mara ecosystem (17); Eburu Forest and Lakes Naivasha-Elmentaita-Nakuru conservation and ecological area (8), Athi-Kaputiei and Nairobi National Park (7), South Rift (8), Amboseli and west Kilimanjaro (8), and the Tsavo xvii Conservation Area (10). Fifty-two migratory routes or corridors were identified in the northern Kenya rangelands and coastal terrestrial ecosystems, with the majority found in the greater Ewaso ecosystem. More salient routes and corridors used by other wildlife species also exist in the Kenya rangelands, but were not considered and need further investigation.
Kenya has six wetlands in the RAMSAR list: Lake Naivasha, Lake Baringo, Lake Bogoria, Lake Elementaita, Lake Nakuru and Tana River Delta. The process of listing more wetlands in RAMSAR site is underway to include sites such as Lake Ol Bolossat in Nyandarua county
The National Forest Programme 2016-2030 identifies loss of protected areas as a challenge towards forest management and conservation. It seeks under its strategy on water shed management to increase acreage of protected areas. The National Strategy for achieving and Maintaining 10% Tree Cover by 2022 has been launched. The Fisheries Act 2016 also provide an avenue for conservation and management of the Marine Protected areas and other aquatic resources to enhance the livelihood of the communities dependent on the resources