Dakatcha Woodland

An extensive tract of forest, woodland and thicket, interspersed with farmland located north of Malindi Town.

Subject: Forest conservation
Location: Kenya

Size of the forest: 2,000km2

Conservation status: designated an Important Bird Area (IBA) by Birdlife International and forms part of the Coastal Forests Global Hotspot defined by Conservation International.

Key tree species: dominated by Brachystegia spiciformis with almost impenetrable thickets of Cynometra webberi. Brachylaena huillensis trees are almost gone now due to selective harvesting over many decades for the wood carving industry and the timber from large hardwood trees (Newtonia hildebrandtii) has been sold in coastal towns.

Notable wildlife: 10 red-listed species, including four that IUCN classify as Endangered: the Sokoke Scops Owl Otus ireneae, Clarke’s Weaver Ploceus golandi, the Sokoke Pipit Anthus sokokensis and the Golden-rumped Sengi Rhynchocyon chrysopygus.

Dakatcha Woodland is an important water catchment in a water-scarce landscape. It protects the fragile soil from erosion and moderates the local climate.

Threats to the forest

Ensuring a sustainable future for Dakatcha that takes into account people’s livelihoods and the protection of important habitats remains a constant challenge.

The growing local population depends on the forest resources for their energy and construction needs. Agriculture is the main economic activity for the communities, making land their most valuable resource. Pineapples grow particularly well on the red soils and have become an important source of income for local farmers. However, current practices give little consideration to the immense pressure being placed on the forest.

Woodland clearance at Marafa

How is A Rocha helping?

A Rocha Kenya has been working in Dakatcha Woodland for over a decade. An Indian House Crow control project was followed by various other bird research projects that confirmed the importance of this woodland for the breeding endemic Clarke’s Weaver Ploceus golandi, led to the discovery of critical populations of the globally endangered Sokoke Scops Owl and recently expanded the distribution range of the endemic Golden-rumped Sengi.

To help protect this special landscape, and the people and wildlife that depend on it, we have established a nature reserve which will ensure its important habitats are preserved for the future.

Working with the churches, schools and neighbouring farming community we are promoting the protection of Dakatcha and helping to develop agriculture practices sensitive to the environment.


In light of the ever present threats to Dakatcha, A Rocha initially purchased 200 acres of forest, now known as the Kirosa Scott Reserve. This area continues to be expanded, providing further protection for the Sokoke Scops Owl and so many other precious inhabitants of the Dakatcha Woodland.

Project in partnership with