Useful Tree Species for Eastern Africa
a species selection tool based on the VECEA Map
Mangrove is dominated by trees that occur on shores that are periodically flooded by sea-water. Mangrove was classified by White (1983) as a major physiognomic type and not as a subtype of forests - especially since near climatic and edaphic limits of mangrove, many mangrove species form communities that physiognomically resemble bushland and thickets but are otherwise very similar to “mangrove forests”.
The true mangrove species that occur in East Africa include Avicennia marina, Bruguiera gymnorhiza, Ceriops tagal, Heritiera littoralis, Lumnitzera racemosa, Rhizophora mucronata, Sonneratia alba, Xylocarpus granatum and Xylocarpus moluccensis. All these species extend further to the east and most reach the western Pacific Ocean (White 1983 pp. 54 - 55 and 261). All true mangrove species either have pneumatophores which are exposed at low tide or are viviparous (or nearly so). Most African mangrove species show both these features. Their roots are able to desalinate seawater to a high degree but some salts also accumulate in their tissues (only Avicennia species excrete salt from their leaves) (White 1983 pp. 54 - 55 and 261).
F. Gachathi 2011; Figure 3.4 in VECEA Volume 4
The main species recorded to occur within this vegetation type are listed below. Clicking the name of any of these species will open the page for that species on the Agroforestry Species Switchboard. Between brackets the English vernacular name of the species and the documented country distribution of the species (B=Burundi, E=Ethiopia, K=Kenya, M=Malawi, R=Rwanda, T=Tanzania, U=Uganda, Z=Zambia) is provided.
Based on information on species presence in national manifestations of vegetation types, each species was classified as a regionally dominant, characteristic, present or marginal species for a vegetation type (Read more ...)
- Dominant - if the regional documentation classified the species as dominant.
- Characteristic - if the species was documented to be characteristic for at least half of all the national manifestations of the vegetation type and if the species was characteristic in at least two national manifestations of the vegetation type. Species were always classified as characteristic if the species was a regional indicator or regional characteristic species for the vegetation type.
- Present - if the species was documented to be characteristic in at least one of the national manifestations of the vegetation type or if the species was documented to be present in a least half of all the national manifestations of the vegetation type. Species that were already listed as characteristic were excluded.
- Marginal distribution - if some of the national documentation listed the species, but where the species was not included as characteristic or present.
- Characteristic species
(Mangrove, EKT), Bruguiera gymnorhiza
(Black mangrove, KT), Ceriops tagal
(Yellow mangrove, KT), Heritiera littoralis
(Looking-glass tree, K), Lumnitzera racemosa
(KT), Rhizophora mucronata
(Red mangrove, EKT), Sonneratia alba
(Red-brown mangrove, KT), Xylocarpus granatum
(Cannonball mangrove, KT), Xylocarpus rumphii
(Cedar mangrove, )
Products and environmental services of tree species
Documented products and environmental services for the tree species occurring in this vegetation type (M) are listed below. Clicking the name of any of these species will open the page for that species on the Agroforestry Species Switchboard. Between brackets information is given on the status of each species ('dom' indicates dominant species, 'cha' characteristic species, 'pre' other species and 'mar' species of marginal occurrence), the English vernacular name of the species and the documented country distribution of the species (B=Burundi, E=Ethiopia, K=Kenya, M=Malawi, R=Rwanda, T=Tanzania, U=Uganda, Z=Zambia).
- Timber, Furniture, Construction
- Poles, Posts
- Thatch, Roofing, Mats, Baskets
- Tannin, Dye
- Live fence, Dead fence
For more detailed information about the species occurrences see this excel workbook. It provides country specific information on species composition for this vegetation type. It also allows you to select a subset of useful tree species to provide desired products and services. For each species links to a number of websites / databases with information about this species are provided as well.
The table shows the area (km2) of the vegetation type and the percentage of this area explicitly designated for biodiversity, species or landscape protection (A) and areas designated for both protection and sustainable use objectives (B). Only the nationally designated protected areas were included.
| PNV || Area (km2) || A (%) || B (%) |
| M || 1,628 || 0.00 || 52.60 |
A) Include the IUCN categories I - IV; B) Include the IUCN categories V - VI and the protected areas without IUCN classification. Read more
There are seven different International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) management categories
, based on their principle management objectives. Six of these can be found in the VECEA region. Based on van Breugel et al. (2015)
, we reclassified these six categories into two groups. The first (A) is composed of the IUCN categories Ib, II, III and IV, all of which are explicitly designated for biodiversity, species or landscape protection. The second (B) is composed of IUCN category V, designated to protect a landscape created through interaction of people and nature, and VI, which is designated for both protection and sustainable use objectives. In group B we also included the protected areas not classified into one of the IUCN categories. These include different types of national or community forest reserves and areas that have a focus on wildlife or game management. It should be noted that the aggregation of the protected areas in these two groups (A and B) does not imply any assumptions from our side on the effectiveness of the management in these different categories.
Species selection tool
Other vegetation types
Kindt R, van Breugel P, Orwa C, Lillesø JPB, Jamnadass R and Graudal L (2015) Useful tree species for Eastern Africa: a species selection tool based on the VECEA map. Version 2.0. World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF) and Forest & Landscape Denmark. //vegetationmap4africa.org
van Breugel P, Kindt R, Lillesø JPB, Bingham M, Demissew S, Dudley C, Friis I, Gachathi F, Kalema J, Mbago F, Moshi HN, Mulumba, J, Namaganda M, Ndangalasi HJ, Ruffo CK, Védaste M, Jamnadass R and Graudal L (2015) Potential Natural Vegetation Map of Eastern Africa (Burundi, Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia). Version 2.0. Forest and Landscape (Denmark) and World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF). URL: //vegetationmap4africa.org
van Breugel P, Kindt R, Lillesø J-PB, van Breugel M (2015) Environmental Gap Analysis to Prioritize Conservation Efforts in Eastern Africa. PLoS ONE 10(4): e0121444. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0121444
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Errors and omissions
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