Above: Elephants on Mathews Range. Facebook: Kitich Forest Camp
Part 3 of 3
“If you want to protect the forest, you have to understand what you are protecting and how it works,” states Borghesio. Fencing off national parks and reserves is an over-simplification to protecting forests. “It’s not enough. Wildlife is driven by resources and move in and out of the forests or higher up or lower down.
“Research shows protected areas are losing biodiversity despite being protected. If you want to protect forests, than you have to plan it to be self-contained. And that’s also not enough because if there are mega-herbivores like elephants, they move in and out of forests and onto the plains following well-established migratory corridors.
Asked about the fencing-off of the Aberdares National Park in response to the increasing human-wildlife conflict, Borghesio’s response is that Aberdares is changing very, very fast. “The fence is protecting the forest, but the question is – are all the species in it being protected?”
It’s fascinating research so far for it raises more questions about the survival of ecosystems. In the absence of long term monitoring in Africa, it opens a new window for managing ecosystems long into the future.