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Forest Reserves

The Forest Reserves contribute significantly to national economic growth, employment and prosperity for all as outlined below.

a) The total economic value of Uganda's forests has been estimated at 593.24 billion shillings, equivalent to 5.2% of GDP

b) In the rural areas, about 24 million people depend on forests and tree resources for their basic needs such as firewood, building poles, furniture, and medicine. Forests, woodlands and trees contribute an average of UGX 332.3 billion (US$195.5 million) annually to the household incomes.

c) Over 90% Ugandans use fuelwood as their main and sole source of energy, consuming nearly 27 million tonnes of fuelwood (43.2 million m3) in 2007, valued at Shs 324 billion (US$ 191 million). It is expected that woodfuel will continue to be the dominant source of energy in Uganda for the foreseeable future, despite the growing importance of petroleum and electric power. Most of this energy is consumed in the form of firewood and charcoal at domestic level and by small &medium scale processing enterprises.

d) Forests and trees are an important source of construction materials in Uganda by providing timber, poles, ropes, and other construction materials. The current annual demand for round wood timber for the construction industry and export is estimated at 1million m3, equivalent to 70 billion shillings (US 41 million, and this is expected to increase with the growth of the economy.

e) Forests contribute significantly to the protection and stabilisation of the environment, including water catchment areas. The combined contribution of forests to soil and water management, carbon sequestration, and future uses for Uganda's biodiversity is valued at UGX 222.2 billion (US$ 130.7 million) annually. This represents the amount of money which government would have to spend annually to provide fertilizers, drill new boreholes and clean air pollution.

f) It is estimated that industrial plantations alone are to create over 98,000 jobs, valued at UGX 176 billion between 2008 and 2025 (NFA records). In addition, during this period the private sector will contribute Ushs 105 billion (61.8 million USD) directly to communities that provide labour for planting.

g) Forests, woodlands and trees render ecological services and support to other sectors principally agriculture, livestock production, industry, water, energy, health, wildlife, tourism although these are often taken for granted or are poorly understood. Virtually all CFRs serve the important functions of protecting biodiversity, water catchments, riverbanks, lakeshores and stabilising of steep slopes.

Forest Reserves were established through a series of legislation dating back to the 1900 Buganda Agreement. The first Forest Reserves were formally gazetted in 1932 with the objectives of conserving forest species, ecological functions and providing forest products such as timber and firewood.

About 64% of the forest cover is found on private land, while 36% is in the PAs (Draft Biomass Technical Report, 2009). The protected areas (PAs) consist of Central & Local Forest Reserves totalling 1,270,526 hectares, and National Parks (NPs), Wildlife Reserves (WRs) and Wildlife Sanctuaries (WSs) which cover 1,838,522 hectares. These PAs represent about 18% percent of the total land area of Uganda. The Central Forest Reserves, Local Forest Reserves and forested areas of National Parks and Wildlife Reserves constitute the country Permanent Forest Estate (PFE) totalling 1,9 million hectares. According to the Uganda Forestry Policy (2001), the Permanent Forest Estate (PFE) is defined as land that is set aside for forestry activities in perpetuity. This is forestland which is held in trust by Government for the people of Uganda. According to the Policy, this is the minimum area which Government has committed itself to keep as forest land permanently. Additionally, CFRs constitute the only forestland that is available for a variety of forest products in perpetuity because the natural forests on private land are being devastated, and those in National Parks & wildlife reserves are inaccessible for provision of these products.

The Central Forest Reserves (CFRs) are managed by the National Forestry Authority (NFA); local forest reserves (LFRs) are under District local governments (DLGs); while National Parks, Wildlife Reserves and Wildlife Sancturies are controlled by Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA). The National Forestry Authority is responsible for the management of 506 central forest reserves totalling to 1.26 million ha, with a total boundary length of 11,000 ha. The majority of the CFRs are less than 1,000 ha, and are scattered over the country.

Budongo Central Forest Reserve

The forest supports 42 species (32 tree species, 4 birds, 4 moths and 2 butterflies) unique to it. It is endowed with Mahogany and Cynometra timber tree species and the richest in terms of timber production in Uganda. It has great potential for nature-based tourism with rare species such as chimpanzee, ideal spots for watching forest birds. It is zoned into 3 strict nature reserves, 2 recreation (ecotourism) zones, a production zone, a protection (buffer) zone and a site o special scientific interest.

Two species of birds found in Budongo Forest Reserve are not found elsewhere in East Africa. The forest is the second most important in Uganda after Semliki National Park, for species of the Guinea Congo Forests biome, and the list of such species will probably continue to grow. Muscicapa sethsmithi, only known from Budongo in Uganda, used to be common in mature forest, but is now extremely hard to find. Illadopsis puveli, a recent addition, is not known elsewhere in East Africa. Other species such as Ceratogymna fistulator, Smithornis rufolateralis, Ixonotus guttatus, Neafrapus cassini, Sylvietta denti, Batis ituriensis and Zoothera camaronensis are known from few other forests in the country. Other rare species in Budongo Forest include Pitta reichenowi and Parmoptila woodhousei, both with multiple recent records. Four tree species are of conservation concern: Cordia millenni, Irvingia gabonensis (LR/nt), Milicia excelsa (LR/nt) and Entandrophragma angolense (VU). Threatened mammals include Pan troglodytes (EN) and Loxodonta africana (EN; although this species has rarely visited Budongo in recent years). The butterfly Papilio antimachus (DD) occurs.

Bugoma Central Forest Reserve

Bugoma Central Forest Reserves supports 9 species (7 butterflies and 2 large moths found in no other forest in Uganda. It is zoned into 2 strict nature reserves, a production and a recreation zone (ecotourism). It has a range of forest dependent and biome-restricted species and with two globally threatened species. Nahan Francolin and Grey Parrot are so far the only two globally threatened species found here. The surveys done in the major sites for Nahan Francolins in Uganda suggest that Bugoma Forest Reserve contains the highest density of the species. There are also several Guinea-Congo biome-restricted species.In addition to birds, Bugoma Central Forest Reserve is also important for other biodiversity, which would contribute to the information for qualification to the Key Biodiversity Areas process. There are a number of tree and mammal species that are listed in IUCN Red Data Books. There are 38 species of mammals of which 4 are globally threatened and 9 species listed in IUCN red list. It has 9 species of reptiles, 20 species of amphibians of which one is an Albertine Rift endemic. Also has 257 species of trees and shrubs of which 7 are Albertine Rift endemics, 12 are globally threatened and 14 listed in IUCN red list. There are 225 species of birds with two globally threatened species, 292 species of butterflies with 4 Albertine Rift species and 118 species of moths (Forest Department, 1996, Plumptre et al, 2003).

Echuya Central Forest Reserve

Echuya Forest Reserve including the Muchuya swamp, has a total of 100 species recorded. It supports 10 species (5 tree species, 4 butterflies and 1 bird species) which do not occur anywhere else in Uganda. Of these, a high proportion are dependent on highland forest. In view of its size, the swamp is likely to support a larger population of Bradypterus graueri, a globally threatened species, than the nearby Mubwindi swamp, one of only a few known localities for this species in Uganda. Birds in the reserve that are restricted to the Afrotropical Highlands biome include such rare species as Francolinus nobilis, Batis diops, Ploceus alienus and Cryptospiza jacksoni. There are four Albertine-endemic small mammals, namely Lophuromys woosnami, Dasymys montanus (VU), Myosorex blarina (VU) and Sylvisorex lunaris. The rare Delanymys brooksi restricted to montane swamps also occurs. The forest is dominayted by 2 vegetation communities namely; Hagenia-Rapanea moist montane forest and Arundinaria montane bamboo forest. It is zoned into strict nature reserve, buffer (protection) and production zone.

Kasyoha Kitomi Central Forest Reserve

It supports 15 species found in no other Ugandan forest (11 butterflies, 1 water bird, 3 tree species). The current number of bird species recorded from Kasyoha-Kitomi stands at 308species (Plumptre et al, 2003) and over 276 species of birds has been reported from this Forest Reserve (Howard and Davenport, 1996) of which the White-napped Pigeon (Columbia albinucha) and Grey Parrot (Psittacus erithacus) are considered globally Near-threatened. Kasyoha-Kitomi has one confirmed Albertine Rift endemic species (Blue-headed Sunbird). The other biome restricted species include Afep Pigeon, Black Bee-eater, Blue-throated Brown Sunbird, Blue-throated Roller, Dusky Long-tailed Cuckoo, White-collared Olive-back, Cinnamon-breasted Bee-eater, Shelley's Greenbul, Equatorial Akalat and Mountain Illadopsis among others. Kasyoha-Kitomi exhibit a diversity of wildlife, including one threatened species and one IUCN listed species of mammals. The mammals include among others, the elephant (L. africana), chimpanzee (P. troglodytes) and Lhoest monkey (C. lhoesti). The small mammals recorded in Kasyoha-Kitomi according to Howard and Davenport (1996), include three uncommon forest dependent shrews Northern Swamp Musk Shrew, Eastern Musk Shrew and Hero Shrew. The Albertine endemic, Woosnam Brush-furred Rat is also recorded. It habours one threatened species and one IUCN-listed species of reptile, four Albertine Rift endemic species of amphibians, two threatened and two IUCN-listed species of amphibians. It is zoned into strict nature reserve, recreation (ecotourism), buffer (protection) and production zone.

Mabira Central Forest Reserve

The list for Mabira Forest Reserve contains almost 300 species. It supports 9 species (6 butterflies, 1 moth, 1 bird and 1 tree) found in no other forest in Uganda. Many species of the Guinea Congo Forests biome are not well-represented in other protected areas in Uganda, for instance Francolinus nahani, Caprimulgus nigriscapularis, Phyllanthus atripennis, Macrosphenus concolor and Trochocercus nitens. Three species of the Lake Victoria Basin biome are known, but further surveys in the valley papyrus swamps could reveal more. The site also holds one species of the Sudan Guinea Savanna biome and four of the Afrotropical Highlands biome. Up to 202 tree species have been recorded, including one (Diphasia angolensis) not known from elsewhere in Uganda. Five tree species from this reserve are of international conservation concern: Milicia excelsa (LR/nt), Cordia millenii, Irvingia gabonensis (LR/nt), Entandrophragma angolense (VU) and Lovoa swynnertonii (EN). The present status of the larger mammals is not known; Loxodonta africana (EN) was last recorded in the mid-1950s. It is zoned into strict nature reserve, buffer (recreation/ ecotourism/ protection) and production zone.

Mount Kei Central Forest Reserve

Mount Kei lies in the Sudan Guinea Savanna biome, which is reflected in the species composition of the reserve. A total of 175 bird species is known. It supports 17 unique species (3 tree species, 4 birds, 1 mammal, 7 butterflies and 2 moths). The reserve contains several species known in Uganda only from this area, including Accipiter brevipes, Buteo auguralis, Merops orientalis, Euschistospiza dybowskii and Nectarinia osea.There are more than 30 uncommon plant species in the reserve, three of them known in Uganda from this reserve only, i.e. Aeschynomene schimperi, Combretum racemosum and Morinda titanopylla. A shrew, Crocidura somalica, is known from no other site in Uganda. It is zoned into Strict nature reserve, buffer (protection) and production zone.

Mount Moroto Central Forest Reserve

It supports 36 unique species (13 bird species, 3 species of mammals, 8 species of moths, 9 butterflies, 3 species of trees). The reserve is relatively rich in savanna birds, with a total of 220 species recorded, although the list is certainly not complete. Moroto supports several species not known elsewhere in Uganda and has more in common with similar areas in north-western Kenya than with Uganda. Species such as Eupodotis gindiana, Tockus hemprichii, Mirafra poecilosterna, Tchagra jamesi, Eremomela flavicrissalis, Parus thruppi, Nectarinia hunteri, Emberiza poliopleura and Onychognathus salvadorii are not found in any other IBA or protected area in Uganda. Thirty-two species, including Tricholaema melanocephala and Nectarinia habessinica, are only known in Uganda from this north-eastern area. Four species of the Sudan Guinea Savanna biome occur. About 200 tree and shrub species were recorded in Mount Moroto Forest Reserve by the Forest Biodiversity Inventory Team, 22 of which had not been recorded previously from this floral region (U1). Among the 22 species of small mammal are three endemic to the Somali Masai biome. It is zoned into Strict nature reserve, 4 buffer (protection) and production zone.

Mount Otzi Central Forest Reserve

It supports 10 unique species (7 tree species and 3 species of butterflies). So far, 168 species of birds have been recorded. Among species restricted to the Sudan Guinea Savanna biome, Falco alopex has only been recorded at only one other site in Uganda, Kidepo Valley. This Reserve is considered one of the richer areas in northern Uganda in terms of avifauna, with mainly open-habitat and savanna woodland species. Three restricted-range small mammals are known from Otzi, including the shrew Crocidura cyanea, formerly thought to be a southern African species. Crocidura selina, formerly known only from Mabira Forest, has also been recorded in Mount Otzi Forest Reserve. It is zoned into Strict nature reserve, buffer (protection) and production zone.

Central Forest Reserves in Ssese Islands

There are 31 Central Forest Reserves that support 13 unique species (8 species of trees, 1 species of mammal, 3 species of butterflies, and 1 moth).The only detailed study of the birds of the islands was by the Forest Biodiversity Inventory Team, and this covered only the forests. A general checklist of birds for this site has yet to be compiled. The other area visited was Lugala islands and a few selected sites on the shoreline near Kalangala Township and Banga rocks at the end of Lugala island (the biggest of the Ssese islands). Two small areas were identified as important for breeding Phalacrocorax carbo. Other notable species, such as Ploceus weynsi and Ploceus castanops a species of the Lake Victoria Basin biome, also occur. Lugala island has a rodent species, Pelomys isseli, that has evolved on Ssese and Kome islands. Another mammal, Tragelaphus spekei (LR/nt), is said to have an endemic race on the islands. Other endemic species include three butterflies: Acraea simulata, Thermoniphas togara bugalla and Acraea epaea. The Ssese islands contain over 12% of Uganda known tree and shrub species. Lasianthus sesseensis, a tree endemic to Uganda, is known from Ssese islands, and the Forest Biodiversity Inventory Team recorded eight species that were not recorded in any other forest of the 65 surveyed in the country. The zonation is such that 5 Forest Reserves are zoned as Strict nature reserves (Funve, Nsirwe, Busowe, Mugoye, and Bufumira), 1 Forest Reserve (Lutoboka) as recreation (ecotourism) and the rest are production reserves.

Kalinzu Central Forest Reserve

The vegetation of Kalinzu is broadly classified as medium altitude moist evergreen vegetation (Forestry Nature Conservation Master Plan 1999). According to Burtt-Davy classification; the forest is intermediate between tropical lower montane evergreen rain forest and tropical semi-ever-green. The majority of the forest, however, is occupied by tropical high forest communities classified as C3 (Parinari Forest), P2 (Cynometra celtis forest) and G1 (undifferentiated semi-deciduous thicket); Langdale Brown et al; 1964.

The reserve supports flora and fauna of a high biodiversity including many rare and endangered species. The flora and fauna include both highland and lowland species in close proximity and a large proportion are dependent on closed intact forest. A number of threatened species have been recorded in these forests including Elephant (Loxodonta africana), Chimpanzee (Pantroglodytes), Ihoeste Monkey Cercopi-thecus Ihoesti), Leopard(Panthera pardus), White-naped pigeon (Colomba albinucha), and African giant swallowtail butterfly (Papilio antimachus).According to the Biodiversity Report 1996, the forest supports 12 species found in no other Uganda forests.