Dakatcha Woodland Important Bird and Biodiversity Area (IBA) covers nearly 2,000 square kilometres in the rolling hills of Magarini sub-county of Kilifi County. The beautiful spreading trees called Mrihi (Brachystegia spiciformis) are the main forest type. It is the most northern Brachystegia spiciformis forest in Africa. This forest gives Dakatcha Woodland its signature bird – the Clarke’s Weaver.
Rare Coastal Animals
Three bird species considered so rare that they are in danger of extinction are found in Dakatcha Woodland: Clarke’s Weaver, Sokoke Pipit and Sokoke Scops Owl. Clarke’s Weavers live only here
and in Arabuko-Sokoke Forest to the south. There’s also a mammal found only at the Coast and which is globally threatened: the Golden-rumped Sengi (Elephant-shrew). More than 220 kinds of
birds can be seen here, including the spectacular Fischer’s Turaco and international migratory birds such as Eurasian Rollers, Eurasian Golden Orioles, Nightingales and Spotted Flycatchers.
Dakatcha Woodland has no formal protection status. The economic and ecological services it provides and its remarkable biodiversity are threatened by over-exploitation of resources.
Uncontrolled logging of indigenous trees and illegal charcoal production have destroyed large tracts of forest vegetation and wildlife habitat. Agricultural expansion, especially pineapple production, has led to clearing of Cynometra forests and thickets, critically important as habitat for the endangered Sokoke Scops Owl. Unsustainable bush meat hunting poses a threat to the survival of rare mammals.
The Dakatcha Woodland Conservation Group (DWCG) is a local environmental group working with Nature Kenya to conserve Dakatcha Woodland. The group was formed in 2008 with the main
objectives being to monitor birds and biodiversity, advocate for the conservation of Dakatcha Woodland IBA, create environmental awareness and support community livelihoods. DWCG comprises of four community groups and is affiliated to more than ten other groups, thus forming the largest community group in Marafa. Working together, DWCG, the Dakatcha Community Forest Association and the local community have set aside 26,000 hectares as Community Conserved Areas. These are nature reserves managed by local communities for preservation of animals, plants and ecosystem services, and for ecotourism and other cultural and non-consumptive uses.