Some Relief features of East Africa
Soil Types
 Oxisols – highly leached, low base nutrients for plant, Found largely in the humid areas – coast.
Mainly in Uganda and Tanzania and reddish in colour.
 Ultisols – widespread in the moist to sub-humid parts of Kenya and Uganda, less weathered
than oxisols, support agricultural activities such as tea, rubber and banana crops.
 Vertisols – confined to sub-humid and arid areas of Ethiopia and its surroundings. Supports
cotton, corn, sorghum and millet

Vegetation types
Rainforest: It is dominated by broad leaves, evergreen tree species, and it has a diversity of species,
which are structured into three (3) layers. The first layer or topmost layer is made up of emergent that
rise up to 16ft (50m) and in some cases as high as 300ft (90m). The middle layer is made up of trees
about 80tf to 150ft high(25-30m), forms a continuous cover as their crowns interlock and this tends to
deprive the lower layers of direct sunlight. The last layer is made up of trees of up to 5ft (15m) from the
lowest layer. They exhibit sparse undergrowth.
Rainforest in East Africa are restricted to the coastal areas of Kenya and Tanzania. This type of
vegetation is found in the southern coast of Kenya, stretches of the highlands of Usambara and Uluguru
in Tanzania and the wettest areas of Western Uganda. Kenyan Forests contain lowland rain forest in
western Kenyan, and montane forest in the central and western highlands and on higher hills and
mountains along the southern border. Many of these largest forested mountain blocks are of recent
volcanic origin and are relatively species poor.
Woodlands/Savanna: Woodlands constitute the largest vegetation cover in the region. This varies
considerably in the appearance, according to the amount of rainfall received and length of the dry
season. There is savanna woodland in the wetter areas which consists of more or less continuous cover
of short trees. The drier areas have savanna grassland, which usually consists of grasses with scattered
trees.In the very dry areas, there, there is semi-desert scrub. E.g. baobab tree and with drought resisting
thorny bushes. Savanna vegetation is usually found at the foot of the mountain, where the rainfall is
fairly low. As the height increases, the savanna is replaced by montane forest. As the temperature falls,
forest is replaced by woodlands. The plants in this zone consist of giant heathers, tussocky grasses as
well as shrubs such ad groundsel and lobelia.
Montane: Restricted to the rift highland areas of Kenya and Tanzania. Altitude may modify vegetation
because of changes in humidity and cloudiness, rainfall, amount of sunlight, level of temperatures and
evaporation. From the base of the mountain to the top, there are the montane rain forest, montane
woodland, montane tall grasses and montane short grassland.

Importance of Forest and Woodland
 Forest and woodland are a vital resource: Forest and woodland ecosystems in Tanzania occupy
more than 45% of the land area - more than two thirds of which made up of the Miombo
woodland. Miombo woodlands provide resources that are vital to the livelihood of millions of
rural and urban people living in and around them in central, eastern and southern Africa.
 Food, energy, shelter, medicines and number of invaluable environmental and spiritual services.
 Source of wealth: E.g. harvesting of timber and non-timber products, tourism, ecotourism and
carbon trading.
 Forest also provides catchment protection: E.g. The forest watershed catchment for Uganda,
 Wood fuel: with wood fuel being the main source of energy. Forests and woodlands are the
main source of fuel for the majority of households.
 Major source of foreign income.
 Construction purposes: E.g. use of timber in building.

Challenges faced in the management of forest resources
 Mismanagement - the emergence and growth of urban markets for forest products has led to
unprecedented clearing or degradation of woodland for fire wood, charcoal, timber and
industrial cultivation of tobacco.
 Some closed woodlands have degraded into open woodlands or cultivation and settlements due
to shifting cultivation, overgrazing or charcoal production.
 Poor monitoring hinder the effective use of the opportunities offered by forests and woodlands.
 Poor governance: including limited opportunity for community involvement.
 Low investment in forestation and reforestation by governments.

 Asiedu, A. 2013. Geography of Africa. In Manuh, T and E. Sutherland-Addy (eds) Africa in
Contemporary Perspective: a textbook for undergraduate students. Pp.1-47.
 www.unep.org/dewa/africa/docs/en/aeo-2/chapters/aeo-2_ch06_FORESTS...