Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science




Dr. Jane Bowles

Second Advisor

Dr. Charles Trick



The objectives of this study were to assess the health of the Acacia xanthophloea woodlands that surround Lake Naivasha, Kenya, and examine how woodland health is correlated with adjacent land use. Field surveys were conducted in 26 woodlands around Lake Naivasha in 2010. Analysis of the size distribution of acacia trees showed that woodlands grow in even-aged stands. Recruits were abundant in areas of low canopy cover and high wildlife impacts, and absent in sites with high soil electrical conductivity. Heavy browsing stunted the growth of small trees and was positively correlated with acacia thorn length. Small and mid-sized trees were subject to bark stripping by giraffes. Ant diversity and ground cover related positively with human disturbance. Land use change, heavy browsing by wild animals, high soil conductivity and invasion by non­ native species were negatively correlated with the health of acacia woodlands and may threaten their long-term survival.



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