oa East African Geographical Review - Temperature conditions in the tropical highland climates of East Africa
East Africa owes its great contrasts in natural vegetation, its diversity of crops and types of agriculture, to the wide range of altitude and resulting variation in temperature conditions, as well as to variations in amount of rainfall from place to place. The cool climate of the Kenya Highlands contributed largely to the success of European farming. besides being perhaps one of the most pleasant climates in the world. The text-book descriptionption of tropical highland climates is frequently so simplified as to suggest that increase in altitude has comparable effects to increase in latitude. In East Africa, from sea-level to nearly 20,000 feet, one might expect to find a range of climates equivalent to those found from the Equator to the Arctic or Antarctic: but the farmer or gardener soon becomes aware of differences when he introduces European plants to the East African highlands and finds that some will not grow well, or will not flower, in the light and temperature conditions of the short tropical day. In fact, there is considerable difference between 'temperate' high latitude climates, where the growing Season is limited by low winter temperatures, but compensated by long hours of daylight in the summer months, and 'temperate' climates at high altitudes in the tropics, where moisture availability (rainfall or irrigation), not temperature, determines the growing season. The adjective 'temperate' is perhaps most appropriately applied to the tropical highland climate with its small seasonal temperature range (Bailey, 1960), but in such areas crops must be suited to a wide diurnal range of temperature and fairly constant length of day.
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