Introduction: The importance of environmental conservation is well recognized globally. Gardens are an effective tool for growing environmental awareness by increasing access to and familiarity with local trees and shrubs. The sovereign Italian embassy grounds host several plant species that have remained well protected relative to adjacent public and private properties in metropolitan Nairobi, Kenya.
The residence is physically located on a semi-sloping valley of the Gitathuru River overlooking Karura forest on Limuru road in the metropolitan city of Nairobi. Within the garden are several indigenous tree and shrub species of Kenya’s K5 floristic province.
The Embassy thus stewards a communal treasure and legacy of indigenous and exotic trees whose documentation is essential to efforts of conserving the Karura forest. It is envisaged that biodiversity documentation will provide a database for the needs of preserving this natural heritage.
Purpose: The Italian Embassy offers to qualitatively and quantitatively document the natural plant biodiversity in its official residence gardens to promote conservation, awareness, education, management.
Indigenous species are of particular interest in this effort because of their cultural heritage value, environmental suitability, low maintenance, and beauty. Furthermore anticipated future restorative conservation activities due to expansion of the chancery will benefit from this inventory. The goal of this effort is to document the tree and shrub biodiversity and develop a database of tree and shrub species. This proposal outlines resources and methods that will be used.
Methodology: We propose a rapid, accurate, flexible and low-cost documentation method. Guided transects and walks in the residence lawns will be done to georeference, collect and identify woody plant species.
All plants will be classified to the species level (i.e. with generic and specific names) e.g. Synadenium compactum. Plant species identification will be done by a professional taxonomist on-site, herbarium specimen comparison at Kisii University and using flora books. To further aid identification colour photo of the plant, close-up, or any of its parts will be used. Permission will be required to visit the residence twice. List of species collected will be compiled and a write up including, species name, local names and uses, scientific name, distribution for each species done.
The plant guide will be prepared from compiling all the species details and written amply in non-technical and precise English. The estimated cost for the contract is 2000USD????.
Audience: The plant guide will be a useful educative introductory plant classification resource for interested persons. The Italian Embassy hosts a diverse group of dignitaries and visitors annually. This plant guide will be useful in promoting conservation, managing plant biodiversity and knowledge. It will appeal to visitors and plant enthusiasts. Most of the exotic trees were planted on special occasions on initiative of several ambassadors who occupied the residence since its purchase, and the database will be a useful record for new tree plantings.
Deliverables: The contracting team will support documenting a list of existing exotic and indigenous woody plants: labeling, developing a database and a handy plant guide in two months. Backup data for the guide can be requested in electronic form.
· Caleb Orwa – is a database expert who has extensive experience in plant database design and publication. He has worked for the World Agroforestry Centre. ???????
· Bethwell Owuor – is a Senior Lecturer at Kisii University. He is a trained plant taxonomist and avid plant researcher on local plant use documentation. He will be available to identify plants during the survey.
Lowenthal D. 2006. Natural and cultural heritage. International Journal of Heritage Studies, 11:1, 81-92. doi.org/10.1080/13527250500037088
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