Welcome to the Marine Mammal and wildlife Research and Community Development Expedition blog where you can keep up to date with all the happenings and information from Kenya

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

The Tree Of Oblivion

The sign was made for the friends of Shimoni forest eco-tourist trail 

Over the course of 300 years within the Shimoni Forest a Baobab tree has existed. Slowly over time a strangler fig suffocated the tree wrapping around the wide trunk, eventually the baobab tree within died and decomposed, leaving a large hollow space. This tree became known as the Tree of Oblivion. The Tree of Oblivion was a highlight of the Friends of Shimoni forest tourist trail (a local community group working towards protecting the forest through eco-tourism).

Still standing
The first week I spent on the forest program I was lucky enough to see the Tree of Oblivion. It was an incredible sight and really displayed both the ruthlessness and the wonders that nature is capable of.  The tree itself stood about 10 metres high and going inside the tree you could look up to the top of the strangler fig and imagine the baobab which once stood within

Sadly two weeks ago when a group of volunteers were carrying out a bird survey they came upon the tree and found that it had been cut down at its base. The great fallen tree lay on the earth floor largely intact except for a small part of the upper tree for which it had been cut down for. It was extremely sad to see such an amazing tree cut down especially when only such a small piece of wood was taken, destroying not only the habitat of the local fauna that lived there but also taking away such a sight that tourist now will never get to see.  
Only a small piece of wood was taken

Unfortunately the Shimoni forest is under serious threat due to deforestation – largely caused by the charcoal burning. We can only hope that as we move into the future that the forest can eventually be protected and that trees like the Tree of Oblivion remain intact not only so that we have the privilege of viewing them but so that the many species will continue to exist within the Shimoni Forest.

Maria Swenson- Conservation Intern



Sara Mayer said...

sad sad sad. i remember that tree and it's near mythic status. not only does the forest lose a fauna habitat and a valuable tourist draw, but everyone loses a part of that experience of wonder that reminds us to be humbled and grateful in nature. thanks for sharing this sad post. hopefully it will inspire continued action to protect this special place.