The Eastern Arc Mountains

The Eastern Arc Mountains is a system of 13 isolated mountain ranges, among the oldest of Africa, as are the forest communities of the region. The various mountain blocks have been under relatively moist and stable conditions for a very long time because of its close proximity to the Indian Ocean, even as periodic drying trends affected much of Africa. The Eastern Src rain forests are isolated from each other by great expanses of lowland, drier habitats. Isolation has produced a high level of endemism with many local species of plants and animals restricted to single mountain ranges. Altitude, age, soils, rainfall, and distance from the coast all contribute to the unique environment. The current climate of these mountains is much wetter than the surrounding lands, with perhumid (rain every month) conditions and rainfall up to 3,000 mm per year. Many locally endemic species of plants and animals are restricted to single mountain ranges and are go high conservation concern.

What’s special

The Eastern Arc Mountains are characterised by one of the highest level of species endemism on Earth, a severe degree of threat, and an exceptional diversity of plant and animal communities. Myers et al. (2000) recognised the area as part of one of the world’s 25 Global Biodiversity Hotspots on the basis of its having at least 1500 endemic plant species and having lost at least 70% of its original primary vegetation. Brooks et al. (2002) concluded that the region is the one Hotspot likely to suffer the most extinction events from a given loss of habitat (modified from Gereau et al., 2016  – Globally threatened Biodiversity of the Eastern Arc Mountains and Coastal Forests of Kenya and Tanzania).

Given that many of the species occurring in the Eastern Arc Mountains are poorly known and some never photographed before, this portfolio illustrate many species, sometimes regardless the quality of the photograph. Photos are arranged by taxonomic group or subject, scroll…