Kenya trees, shrubs and lianas

Author(s): Beentje H


Some important projects never seem to be complete and the enormous task of compiling the text and illustrations for Kenya Trees, Shrubs and Lianas was at times a cause for concern. Fortunately it has been completed, after almost ten years, and the work is to be published. This is a major achievement for which many will be grateful; the book sets forth an authoritative account of some 1850 trees, shrubs and lianas that are found in Kenya. The importance of such an accessible reference cannot be overstated, particularly today when so many habitats are being destroyed by senseless and ill-planned human activities.

The field of botany has always had particular importance in Kenya given the great diversity of plants that are to be found in the wide range of Kenya’s environs. The interest in botany is generally believed to have begun when European travellers and administrators came to Kenya towards the end of the last century. Whilst this is certainly part of the story, we should not forget that the indigenous peoples of Kenya had for thousands of years made use of Kenya’s plants for a very wide variety of needs. One of the great gaps that remains to be filled in contemporary records is a comprehensive review of this traditional knowledge. Sadly much of this important information is being lost as young people take up modern education and wild plant communities are compromised by land use practices where exotic species are believed to be more useful.

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