ASSESSEMENT OF TREE SPECIES (Cupressus lusitanica and Pinus patula) DEBARKING BY MONKEYS IN CERENGONI FOREST-BLOCK IN NANDI COUNTY, KENYA
Mong’ina, Barbara Ogori
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Monkeys strip the bark off the trees to feed on underlying vascular tissues, leading to the loss of trees, which causes the destruction of the habitat. The main objective of this study was to elucidate information and knowledge of debarking by monkeys and their effect on the forest ecosystem in Cerengoni forest in Nandi County, Kenya. This study was conducted in Cerengoni forest, Northern Tinderet part, which is 12,578 Ha located between Latitude 00 3” and Longitude 350 25” of Nandi County, Rift Valley Kenya. The study area is covered by 45.9 Ha of Cupressus lusitanica and 47.8 Ha Pinus patula plantations. The study employed a systematic survey and descriptive designs whereby, the systematic survey was field survey based on the ranging behavior of the monkeys, species identification, and belt transect sampling. The descriptive designs were surveys based on monkeys debarking in Cerengoni Forest. A random sampling technique was used where a troop population of monkeys was established, as they were crossing the observation paths. Fieldwork commenced in February 2021, and continued till May 2021. The average time spent on the forest compartments during this period was three days a week and three weeks a month. The Kernel Worton Method (1989), was the method implemented in studying the different range of behaviors of monkeys in their groups as animals, or as individuals. The Forester assistants located monkeys by use of GPS and visual and auditory cues, a form of method used by the endemic people who inhabit in this forest to locate primates in this forest. Data was analyzed using Microsoft Excel version 2016 for Windows 10, and SPSS statistical software version 25. The descriptive statistics used were; Chi-Square Tests which was used to find out the difference between the total number of trees, and the total debarked trees. Independent T-Test was used to find out the significant mean difference on the total percentages of debarked Cupressus lusitanica and Pinus patula trees, while the One- Sample T -test was used to test the significant mean difference between the diameter and height of both Cupressus and Pinus trees plantations. Debarking based on type of trees, age of trees, and height of trees was recorded in percentages form. The monkey species that debark Pinus patula and Cupressus lusitanica in Cerengoni Forest are the vervet (Chlorocebus pygerythrus), and sykes (Cercopithecus albogularis) monkeys respectively. Cupressus lusitanica trees are debarked at 31.9%, while Pinus patula trees are debarked at 72.8%. All of these results were presented in tables, and figure forms. The study found out that there is no recorded data on tree debarking in Cerengoni forest.