6.2% —or about 3,522,000 hectares—of Kenya is forested. Of this, 20.0% —or roughly 704,000 hectares—is classified as primary forest, the most biodiverse form of forest.

Change in Forest Cover: Between 1990 and 2000, Kenya lost an average of 12,600 hectares of forest per year. The amounts to an average annual deforestation rate of 0.34%. Between 2000 and 2005, the rate of forest change decreased by 1.4% to 0.34% per annum. In total, between 1990 and 2005, Kenya lost 5.0% of its forest cover, or around 186,000 hectares. Kenya lost -38,000 hectares—0—of its primary forest cover during that time. Deforestation rates of primary cover have decreased 5.1% since the close of the 1990s. Measuring the total rate of habitat conversion (defined as change in forest area plus change in woodland area minus net plantation expansion) for the 1990-2005 interval, Kenya lost 2.0% of its forest and woodland habitat.

Biodiversity and Protected Areas: Kenya has some 1847 known species of amphibians, birds, mammals and reptiles according to figures from the World Conservation Monitoring Centre. Of these, 4.0% are endemic, meaning they exist in no other country, and 3.8% are threatened. Kenya is home to at least 6506 species of vascular plants, of which 4.1% are endemic. 6.0% of Kenya is protected under IUCN categories I-V.

Kenya Environmental profile


Kenya: Forest Cover, 2005
Total Land Area (ha)56,914,000
Total Forest Area (ha)3,522,000
Percent Forest Cover6.19%
Primary Forest Cover (ha)704,000
Primary Forest, % total forest19.99%
Primary Forest, % total land1.24%
Other wooded land (ha)34,920,000

Kenya : Forest types
Tropical (% forest area)100%
Subtropical (% forest area)0%
Temperate (% forest area)0%
Boreal/polar (% forest area)0%

Kenya: Breakdown of forest types, 2005
Primary forest (ha | %)704,00020.0%
Modified natural (ha | %)2,616,00074.3%
Semi-natural (ha | %)--
Production plantation (ha | %)202,0005.7%
Production plantation (ha | %)--

Kenya: Change in Forest Cover
Forest 1990 (ha)3,708,000
Forest 2000 (ha)3,582,000
Forest 2005 (ha)3,522,000
Annual Change 1990-2000 (ha | %)(12,600)-0.34%
Annual Change 2000-2005 (ha | %)(12,000)-0.34%
Total Change 1990-2005 (ha | %)(186,000)-5.02%
Change in rate (%)-1.41%
Primary 1990 (ha)742,000
Primary 2000 (ha)716,000
Primary 2005 (ha)704,000
Annual Change 1990-2000 (ha | %)(2,600)-0.35%
Annual Change 2000-2005 (ha | %)(2,400)-0.34%
Total Change 1990-2005 (ha | %)(38,000)-5.12%
Change in rate (%)-4.34%
Other 1990 (ha)35,530,000
Other 2000 (ha)35,120,000
Other 2005 (ha)34,920,000
Annual Change 1990-2000 (ha | %)(41,000)-0.12%
Annual Change 2000-2005 (ha | %)(40,000)-0.11%
Total Change 1990-2005 (ha | %)(610,000)-1.72%
Change in rate (%)-1.30%
Other 1990 (ha)238,000
Other 2000 (ha)212,000
Other 2005 (ha)202,000
Annual Change 1990-2000 (ha | %)(2,600)-1.09%
Annual Change 2000-2005 (ha | %)(2,000)-0.94%
Total Change 1990-2005 (ha | %)(36,000)-15.13%
Change in rate (%)-13.64%
Forest area+Wooded Area-Plantations
Other 1990 (ha)39,000,000
Other 2000 (ha)38,490,000
Other 2005 (ha)38,240,000
Annual Change 1990-2000 (ha | %)(51,000)-0.13%
Annual Change 2000-2005 (ha | %)(50,000)-0.13%
Total Change 1990-2005 (ha | %)(760,000)-1.95%
Change in rate (%)-0.66%

Kenya: Primary
Primary or "old-growth" vegetation
Primary Forest 2005 (ha)704,000
Other primary wooded land 2005 (ha)-
Other primary wooded land 2005 (ha)704,000
Undisturbed vegetation 2005 (% land area)1.24%

Kenya: Forest designation
Ownership of forest land, 2000
Public (%)97.8%
Private (%)2.2%
Other (%)0.0%
Ownership of other wooded land, 2000
Public (%)90.0%
Private (%)10.0%
Other (%)0.0%
Designated functions of forest – primary function 2005
Production (%)0.0%
Protection (%)100.0%
Conservation (%)-
Social Services (%)-
Multiple Services (%)-
None of Unknown (%)-

Kenya: Disturbances affecting forest land 2000
Forest Area annually affected by
Fire (%)0.08%
Insects (ha)-
Diseases (ha)-
Other (ha)-

Kenya: Protected areas
Protected areas
Biosphere reserves, 2005
Wetlands of international importance (Ramsar sites), 20054
World Heritage sites, 20043
Protected Areas: IUCN categories I-V, percent of total land6.0%
Protected Areas: IUCN categories Ia, Ib, and II, extent, percent of total land5.91%
Protected Areas: IUCN categories III, IV, and V, percent of total land, 20040.09%
Protected Areas: IUCN categories VI and other, percent of total land, 20046.39%

Kenya: Biodiversity - Wildlife
total species76
endemic species13
threatened species4
total species1103
endemic species17
threatened species28
total species407
endemic species22
threatened species33
total species261
endemic species22
threatened species5
Wildlife diversity
total species1847
endemic species74
threatened species70

Kenya: Biodiversity - Plants
Growing stock composition
3 most common species
% of total growing stock
Growing stock composition
3 most common species
% of total growing stock
Number of Native tree species
Native tree species-
Number of tree species in IUCN red list
Critically Endangered3
Vascular Plant Species, 2004
Number endemic265
Number of Threatened Plant Species, 2004
Species threatened103

Kenya: Value of forests
Biomass stock in forest, 2005
Above-ground biomass (M t)536
Below-ground biomass (M t)133
Dead wood (M t)74
Total (M t)743
Carbon stock in forest, 2005
Carbon in above-ground biomass (M t)268
Carbon in below-ground biomass (M t)66
Carbon in dead wood (M t)37
Carbon in litter (M t)-
Soil carbon (M t)-
Change in growing stock 1990 - 2005
Annual change rate (1000 cubic m/yr)
Growing stock per hectare 1990 - 2005
Annual change rate ( cubic m/ha per yr)
Wood removal 2005
Industrial roundwood (1000 cubic m)2,402
Wood fuel (1000 cubic m)24,256
Total wood removal 2005 (1000 cubic m)26,658
Total wood removal 2005 (% of growing stock)9
Plant products 2005
Food (t)-
Fodder (t)-
Raw material for medicine and aromatic products (t)-
Raw material for colorants and dyes (t)-
Raw material for utensils, handicrafts & construction (t)-
Ornamental plants (t)-
Exudates (t)-
Other plant products (t)-
Animal products 2005
Living animals (units)-
Hides, skins and trophies (units)-
Wild honey and bee-wax (t)-
Bush meat (t)-
Raw material for medicine and aromatic products (t)-
Raw material for colorants and dyes (t)-
Other edible animal products (t)-
Other non-edible animal products (t)-
Value of wood and non-wood forest product removal 2005
Industrial roundwood (US$)-
Wood fuel (US$)-
Non-wood forest products (US$)-
Total value (US$)-
Total value ($USD/ha)$-
Employment in forestry 2000
Total people employed2,000

Kenya : Production, trade and consumption of forest products, 2002
Woodfuel ('000 cubic m), 2002
Industrial roundwood ('000 cubic m), 2002
Sawnwood ('000 cubic m), 2002
Wood-based panels ('000 cubic m), 2002
Pulp for paper ('000 metric tons), 2002
Paper and paperboard ('000 metric tons), 2002
Kenya: Environment
Environment - current issueswater pollution from urban and industrial wastes; degradation of water quality from increased use of pesticides and fertilizers; water hyacinth infestation in Lake Victoria; deforestation; soil erosion; desertification; poaching
Environment - international agreementsparty to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Marine Life Conservation, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands, Whaling
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
Natural hazardsrecurring drought; flooding during rainy seasons

Kenya: Land use / Resources
Land use (%)arable land: 8.08%
permanent crops: 0.98%
other: 90.94% (2001)
Natural resourceslimestone, soda ash, salt, gemstones, fluorspar, zinc, diatomite, gypsum, wildlife, hydropower

Kenya: Economy
Economy - overview:The regional hub for trade and finance in East Africa, Kenya has been hampered by corruption and by reliance upon several primary goods whose prices have remained low. In 1997, the IMF suspended Kenya's Enhanced Structural Adjustment Program due to the government's failure to maintain reforms and curb corruption. A severe drought from 1999 to 2000 compounded Kenya's problems, causing water and energy rationing and reducing agricultural output. As a result, GDP contracted by 0.2% in 2000. The IMF, which had resumed loans in 2000 to help Kenya through the drought, again halted lending in 2001 when the government failed to institute several anticorruption measures. Despite the return of strong rains in 2001, weak commodity prices, endemic corruption, and low investment limited Kenya's economic growth to 1.2%. Growth lagged at 1.1% in 2002 because of erratic rains, low investor confidence, meager donor support, and political infighting up to the elections. In the key 27 December 2002 elections, Daniel Arap MOI's 24-year-old reign ended, and a new opposition government took on the formidable economic problems facing the nation. In 2003, progress was made in rooting out corruption and encouraging donor support. GDP grew 5% in 2005.
GDP - per capita$1,200 (2005 est.)
GDP - real growth rate (%)5% (2005 est.)
Agriculture - productstea, coffee, corn, wheat, sugarcane, fruit, vegetables; dairy products, beef, pork, poultry, eggs
GDP - composition by sector (%)agriculture: 16.3%, industry: 18.8%, services: 65.1% (2004 est.)
Industries small-scale consumer goods (plastic, furniture, batteries, textiles, soap, cigarettes, flour), agricultural products; oil refining, aluminum, steel, lead, cement; commercial ship repair, tourism
Economic aid - recipient$453 million (1997)
Debt - external$7.349 billion (2005 est.)
Population below poverty line (%)50% (2000 est.)
Labor force - by occupation (%)agriculture 75% (2003 est.)

Kenya: Population / Demographics
Population (July 2005)33,829,590
Population growth rate (%) (2005)2.56%
Population density (people/sq km) (2005)59.4
Percent rural (2003)60.6%
Median age (years)total: 18.19 years
Total fertility rate (children born/woman)4.96 (2005 est.)
Ethnic groups (%)Kikuyu 22%, Luhya 14%, Luo 13%, Kalenjin 12%, Kamba 11%, Kisii 6%, Meru 6%, other African 15%, non-African (Asian, European, and Arab) 1%

Largest Cities in Kenya

Cities and urban areas in Kenya with population over 100,000 All figures are estimates for 2002.

CityCountryCity PopulationUrban Area Population

 Environment, Land use / Resources, Economy, Population / Demographics, Infrastructure, Health -- CIA World Factbook, 2005
 Forest Cover, Forest types, Breakdown of forest types, Change in Forest Cover, Primary forests, Forest designation, Disturbances affecting forest land, Value of forests, Production, trade and consumption of forest products -- The FOOD AND AGRICULTURE ORGANIZATION OF THE UNITED NATIONS's Global Forest Resources Assessment (2005) and the State of the World’s Forests (2005, 2003, 2001)
 Protected Areas, Plant and animal biodiversity -- United Nations Environment Programme - World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UNEP-WCMC). 2004. World Database on Protected Areas.
 Biosphere reservers -- United Nations Education, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) - Man and Biosphere Program. 2004. UNESCO - MAB Biosphere Reserves Directory.
 RAMSAR sites -- The Bureau of the Convention on Wetlands . 2005. The Ramsar List of Wetlands of International Importance.
 World Resources Institute's EarthTrends web site
 The 2004 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species
 Population Data -- United Nations Population Fund
 With additional analysis by Rhett Butler of

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