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Coastal Forests of Eastern Africa Hotspot

The Coastal Forests of Eastern Africa stretch across the coastlines of Tanzania, Kenya, Somalia and Mozambique covering an area of 291,250 sq km. The vegetation is a mix of moist and dry forests, coastal thickets, savanna woodlands, swamps and mangroves.

The Coastal Forests of Eastern Africa have 4,000 species of plant of which 1,750 are endemic. One of the well known species of the region are the African violets (Saintpaulia spp.).

As many as 198 mammal, 633 bird, 254 reptile, 88 amphibian and 219 freshwater fishe species are found in this biodiversity hotspot. Despite this, the region does not have high endemicity with respect to animals and birds. Interesting birds found in the region include the Pemba green-pigeon (Treron pembaensis), Pemba sunbird (Nectarinia pembae), Pemba scops-owl (Otus pembaensis), Tana river cisticola (Cisticola restrictus), Sokoke pipit (Anthus sokokensis) and the Mombasa woodpecker (Campethera mombassica).

Mammals endemic to the region include Ader's duiker (Cephalophus adersi), Pemba flying fox (Pteropus voeltzkowi), Kenyan wattled bat (Glauconycteris kenyacola), Dar es Salaam pipistrelle (Pipistrellus permixtus) and the golden-rumped elephant shrew (Rhynchocyon chrysopygus). Monkeys like the Tana river red colobus (Procolobus rufomitratus), Tana river mangabey (Cercocebus galeritus) and Zanzibar red colobus (Procolobus kirkii) are important flagship species of the region. Four species of galagos or bush babies, two of which are endemic-Rondo dwarf galago (Galagoides rondoensis) and Kenya coast galago (G. cocos)-are found here. Threatened large herbivores of Africa are also found here-black rhinoceros (Diceros bicornis) and African elephants (Loxodonta africana). Among amphibians the Loveridge's snouted toad (Mertensophryne micranotis), the only member of its genus is confined to this hotspot. This species is remarkable in that it is one of the few amphibians to breed by internal fertilisation. The relict dragonfly species (Coryphagrion grandis) also makes its home here.

Agriculture, burning wood for charcoal, fuelwood collection, demand for timber, huge demand from the wood carving industry and mining are the major threats to the hotspot. Nearly 50,889 sq km or 17% of the hotspot is under some form of protection. A number of non-governmental organisations are working in this region and include the World Wide Fund for Nature, the Wildlife Conservation Society of Tanzania, the Tanzania Forest Conservation Group, CARE-Tanzania and the IUCN forest programme.

[The information has been sourced from the Conservation International website on biodiversity hotspots ( Accessed in February 2008.]

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