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Determine the impact of charcoal carbonization on species composition and Diversity in Kitui woodlands

Code: FPD/03

ProjectTitle: ProjectCode:FPD/03 ThematicArea:Forest Products Programme
RegionalCenter:Dry land Eco-regional Research Centre StudySite:GPS, Latitude, longitude, altitude, mean annual temperature, mean annual rainfall, Agro climatic zone, soils, slope, aspect ResearchType:Experimental Type 1
PrincipalInvestigator:G.Giathi Collaborators: E.Kitheka, S.Kiama, E. Macharia and Ecosystem conservator- Kitui SupportStaff:Auka/ Mary, Muhamed Sheikh
StartDate:2015 EndDate:2016

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Kitui County is one of the 13 counties in Eastern Kenya. It borders Machakos and Makueni countys to the West, Tana River to the East and Taita Taveta to the South. The county covers an area of 30,496.5 sq km. Temperatures range between 14C and 34C while rainfall range from 500mm to 1050mm per annum. Kitui Town is the administrative capital. Subsistence agriculture is the main economic activity particularly subsistence farming involving traditional land-use system and a mix of highland agriculture and lowland cattle-grazing. This blends well with the regions climatic conditions. The county has several seasonal rivers including Tiva, Thua, and Mwitasyano. The county has several dams that play a significant role as a water resource. Springs can be found in the hilly areas of the county. Charcoal production and sale has also become an alternative source of lively hood especially during droughts of the county and in some areas is becoming an all year activity with failing rains as result of climate change


Biomass, environment, carbonization, species, charcoal production


In developing countries, woodfuel is the major source of energy for about 2 billion people who rely solely on it for cooking, lighting and heating. (FAO, 2005). This figure demonstrates the critical importance of wood energy in meeting energy requirements especially for the poor in these countries. In Kenya, it is estimated that about 90% of Kenyan rural households use woodfuel either as firewood or charcoal (MoE, 2002). Woodfuel meets over 93% of rural household energy needs whilst charcoal is the dominant fuel in urban households (Theuri, 2002; Kituyi, 2008a).Wood fuel is also an important energy source for small-scale rural industries such as tobacco curing, tea drying, brick making, fish smoking, and bakeries. Woodfuel is not only an important source of energy, but its use also relates to other public sector interests such as the state of the environment, public health, rural development, food security , employment and even foreign exchange. jlhkjhkjhkjghg

In the past two decades, policies to encourage the use of renewable energy have grown in importance as part of the effort to reduce dependence on non-renewable energy sources such as fossil fuels and as part of strategies to address global warming (Trossero, 2002).

However, with increasing demand for wood fuel energy due to increasing population and prices of alternative energy sources such petroleum based and electricity has led to unsustainable harvesting of wood resources for charcoal production. This in turn has led to loss of biodiversity as result of overexploitation of selected preferred species. This study wishes to establish the effect of increased charcoal production on species composition and diversity in selected parts of the county.


To assess the effect of increased removal of wood biomass for charcoal production on species composition and diversity in selected parts of Kitui County


Charcoal production in the woodland of Kitui has no effect on the tree species composition and diversity

Literature Review

Statistical Design:

Sample Size:

Sample plots in Mwingi and Ikutha

After tracing the GPS point on the ground sample plot of 20 meter x 20 meters will be marked using Mengistu et al. (2005) method. The primary reference point will be located using loaded GPS coordinates and using reference north and bearing of 45o, 135o, 225o and 315o to locate plot corners respectively. Successively smaller plots of 5 m x 5 mand 2 m x2 m will be marked and they will be super imposed on each other.


Field Layout:

Plot Size:


The GIS studies on the status of vegetation in Kyuso and Ikutha sub counties in the site of high and low charcoal production:

  • High/Moderate
  • Low/Sparse
Sample plots will randomly placed each of the category independently.

Samples traced on the ground using GPS.


The 2 m by 2 m plots were used for :

  • identification and percentage ground vegetation cover and also identification and enumeration of seedlings
  • A seedling is woody plant that is less than 0.5 m tall)
5 m by 5 m plots
  • Nested at the center for identification and height measurements of saplings of woody plants (A tree more than 0.5 m height but less than 2 m tall). Identification and percentage cover of all the shrubs
20 m by 20 m plots (0.04):
  • Plot details
  • slope angle/direction
  • disturbance level( eg stumps, paths, soil erosion)
  • landscape position.
  • Tree total height )
  • diameter at breast height (DBH)
  • diameter at 0.3 m above ground
  • Crown dimensionsof all trees (woody plants with height above 2 m and DBH of at least 2.5 cm).


Draft Questionnaire:

Data Analysis:

Descriptive statistics

From the data collected the following population parameters will be computed:

  • Stocking/ha= Total number of stems per hectare
  • Species richness= Number of different species per hectare
  • Species Relative density (abundance)= (number of individuals of the species/ number of individuals of all species) x 100%
  • Species Relative frequency= (number of sample units over which the species occurred/ total number of the sample) x 100%
  • Shannon-Weiner Diversity Index H' = -∑ pi ln pi

(Where pi = the proportion of individuals of species i)

Interim Results:

Year Results.



Stocking and composition of mature trees

  • The stocking level in the relatively undisturbed site at Ikutha was 380 stems/ha while there was 350 stems per hectare at Kyoani. The corresponding stocking in disturbed site was 167 and 230 for Kyoani and Ikutha respectively (Table 1).
  • There were sixteen different tree species in the relatively undisturbed site at Ikutha and thirteen in disturbed site. The number of tree species in the disturbed site at Kyoani was 6 while in the relatively undisturbed site was twelve.
  • The most abundance trees species at Kyoani was A. malifera followed by A. tortilis and Albizia antheminitica. All were found in the relatively undisturbed site.
  • The most abundance trees species at Ikutha was Commiphora africana followed by B. aegyptica and T. prunioides. Commiphora africana and Balanites aegyptica were highest in the relatively undisturbed site while T. prunioides was highest in disturbed site.


1 TechnicalReport, JournalPaper

Final Results:


Consider including the actual publications title, authors, date and location of availability. Create a page for the technical report and link it here.

-- Victor Gitau Kamau - 2016-04-12

This is an excellent sample of a protocol. Fantastic job.

-- Esther Manyeki - 27 Oct 2016

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Topic revision: r11 - 26 Jan 2017 - VictorKamau
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