Ecology: Climate, Soil, Plants & Animals

05 June 2017 by 16149 comments Ecology 36393 Views

Climate

Rainfall is bi-modal where the long rains fall between mid March-May and short rains being experienced between October-December. The Menengai Forest Reserve area is within the tropically moderately cool regime of the Mau. The mean maximum temperature is 250 C. The mean minimum temperature is 9.20 C. The lowest temperatures are experienced from June to August.

The station receives a mean annual rainfall of 1254.6mm. The months of January to early March are usually very dry with high temperatures accompanied by limited rainy days. This is the time to declare Fire Season.

Geology and soil

Menengai Forest and Caldera majestically stands out from the floor of the Great Rift Valley. The forest area has rugged and undulating topography. It is characterized by sharp descends to the caldera which has a long and steep embankment. The crater (caldera) floor is characterized by bare rocks, very steep slopes with shallow soils of freshly weathered material that support low lying acacia vegetation. As you advance down the crater, one encounters interlocking spurs with steep valleys covered with acacia. The thickness of the soils improves allowing growth of a tropical savanna woodland forest dotted with leleshwa shrubs.

The surface of Menengai Caldera is covered by volcanic rocks mostly erupted from volcanic centres within the caldera.

The soil profiles of these areas are shallow, stony, and saline

The rocks exposed at the surface are mainly the Menengai massif building lava (pre-caldera formations), the pyroclastics that accompanied the caldera collapse (syn-caldera) and glassy lavas that erupted after the collapse (post-caldera). Some alluvial deposits are found in low-lying narrow grabens where they are deposited as thin reworked layers.
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