Forests are distinguished by tall trees and a closed-canopy. Little light penetrates to the forest floor in mature stands, resulting in a fairly sparse understory of plants. Kenya has several types of forest, including coastal, mangrove, mountain and upland, bamboo, the equatorial forests of Kakamega and plantation forests. Forests vary not only in composition but also cover,
Kenya has 3.5 million ha of forests, including indigenous forests, open woodlands, and plantations, and an additional 24.6 million ha of ‘bushland’. These are highly fragmented and degraded forests patches. An estimated 10 per cent of the original wet montane forest remains. Much of the forest cover was lost in the early stages of expanding human cultivation that began some 2,000 years ago and accelerated with the fivefold increase in population, and extensive agricultural expansion since the early 1900s. The demand for timber, fibre and fuelwood spawned by Kenya’s economic growth over the last half century, coupled with an insufficient forest plantation, settlement schemes, and illegal farming and herding, greatly accelerated forest loss and degradation.