How the Species Site Matching Tool (SSMT) works

Species Site Matching Tool (SSMT) is a Geographical Information System based tool that overlays the growing conditions across Kenya and Tanzania (based on temperature, rainfall, evapotranspiration, soil types, soil depth and topographic data) with the growing requirements of different species and matches them to different climatic areas. The tool is designed to be a preliminary guide in selection of ecologically suited species to sites, instead of selecting a species and trying to modify the site to suit.

A user can access SSMT information through:

  • Georeferenced PDF maps (Basic user experience)
  • ArcGIS online (Advanced user experience)

Georeferenced PDF maps with a limited number of species for Kenya and Tanzania have been generated and uploaded here. For each species, four (4) suitability ranges has been defined and symbolized as shown in the table below.

SSMT uses the term suitability to describe the likely success of a particular tree species establishing and growing to the rotation age on a given site achieving expected productivity depending on other factors such as silviculture. Very and moderately suitable are the most recommended in a site while marginally suitable is only recommended where no other options exist or when production goals are of lesser importance as a site objective. More precise assessment of suitability should be carried out through undertaking microsite assessment

Avenza Systems | Map and Cartography Tools

The PDF maps are then downloaded from the website and can be accessed on personal computers, laptops or from smart mobile devices. Field application involves uploading the maps into Avenza mobile applications. Avenza Maps app is downloaded either from Appstore or Play store and one is then required to sign up before using. Once in the field, GPS picks different locations and you can see from the map which species is suitable for the location.

For users who require a more detailed assessment of the SSMT capabilities, ArcGIS online may be preferable. This facility is recommended only for those that have professional GIS experience. Users will be provided with log in credentials for Gatsby Africa ArcGIS online. A user can request the link here.