Study explores mysteries of Kilimanjaro

Sep 12, 2006

Kilimanjaro is Africa's highest mountain with some intriguing mysteries that are just now being solved after more than 100 years of scientific study.

Andreas Hemp of Germany's Bayreuth University, who has conducted extensive research on Mount Kilimanjaro, says the forests of the Tanzanian mountain are unusual for two reasons. One is that there is no bamboo zone, unlike other East African mountains. Another is that it was thought there were only a few rare plants in the Kilimanjaro forests.

Hemp says the missing bamboo is caused by a lack of elephants, which are needed to create disturbances that encourage bamboo regeneration.

"There are elephants on the dry side of the mountain" says Hemp "but the valleys are too steep and deep for elephants to traverse to the wet side where the bamboo could grow."

He said rare plants were found in forest relicts in the deepest valleys of the cultivated lower areas, suggesting a rich forest flora once covered Mount Kilimanjaro. The plants include a forest tree more than 131 feet high that is new to science.

Hemp details his discoveries in the African Journal of Ecology.

Copyright 2006 by United Press International

Explore further: Aging Africa

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

FIXD tells car drivers via smartphone what is wrong

6 hours ago

A key source of anxiety while driving solo, when even a bothersome back-seat driver's comments would have made you listen: the "check engine" light is on but you do not feel, smell or see anything wrong. ...

Team pioneers strategy for creating new materials

8 hours ago

Making something new is never easy. Scientists constantly theorize about new materials, but when the material is manufactured it doesn't always work as expected. To create a new strategy for designing materials, ...

Shell files new plan to drill in Arctic

8 hours ago

Royal Dutch Shell has submitted a new plan for drilling in the Arctic offshore Alaska, more than one year after halting its program following several embarrassing mishaps.

Aging Africa

8 hours ago

In the September issue of GSA Today, Paul Bierman of the University of Vermont–Burlington and colleagues present a cosmogenic view of erosion, relief generation, and the age of faulting in southernmost Africa ...

Recommended for you

Aging Africa

Aug 29, 2014

In the September issue of GSA Today, Paul Bierman of the University of Vermont–Burlington and colleagues present a cosmogenic view of erosion, relief generation, and the age of faulting in southernmost Africa ...

NASA animation shows Hurricane Marie winding down

Aug 29, 2014

NOAA's GOES-West satellite keeps a continuous eye on the Eastern Pacific and has been covering Hurricane Marie since birth. NASA's GOES Project uses NOAA data and creates animations and did so to show the end of Hurricane ...

EU project sails off to study Arctic sea ice

Aug 29, 2014

A one-of-a-kind scientific expedition is currently heading to the Arctic, aboard the South Korean icebreaker Araon. This joint initiative of the US and Korea will measure atmospheric, sea ice and ocean properties with technology ...

User comments : 0