Extensive long term research in this area has identified more than 135 endemic species of plants, two endemic species of birds (Uluguru bush shrike and Loveridges sunbird), six endemic species of amphibians (Hyperolius tornieri, Nectophrynoides laevis, Nectophrynoides cryptus, Nectophrynoides pseudotornieri, Scolecomorphus uluguruensis, Probreviceps uluguruensis), two endemic species of reptiles (Typhlops uluguruensis, Xyeledontophis uluguruensis) and one endemic small mammal (Myosorex geata).
Forty four Eastern Arc endemic vertebrates are also found in the Uluguru Mountains. Some species are confined to only one or other of these reserves. Many of these species are regarded as threatened with extinction.
The two dense forest endemic birds of the Ulugurus have been studied to a significant degree in recent years. A census of the Uluguru Bush Shrike in year 2000 indicated there were at least 1,200 pairs of this bird, mainly in Uluguru North Forest Reserve, with some in the degraded public land forest outside the reserve. A further survey in 2006 showed that the bird also occurs on the eastern flanks of the Uluguru South Forest Reserve, and hence the Bunduki gap is a real conservation issue for the long term survival of this forest dwelling bird.
Loveridge’s sunbird is another endemic bird of the Uluguru Mountains, where it is known from Uluguru North, Uluguru South and Bunduki Forest Reserves. A census in year 2000 indicated a population range between 21,000 and 166,000 individuals (with a median estimate of 37,000 individuals). As the species is found in all three of the higher altitude reserves on the Ulugurus, then maintaining forest connection between them is important.
Continued cutting of the forest and village expansion severely threaten this area.
In 1955 the Uluguru North and South reserves were joined by natural forest across the Bunduki Gap. Over the past 50 years this forest has been cleared back to the reserve boundaries, creating a deforested gap of farmland.
A new Nature Reserve has been proposed that includes the Uluguru North, Uluguru South, Bunduki FRs and a strip of land in the Bunduki corridor (106.5 ha) that joins the three reserves. The total area of the proposed Nature Reserve is 24,115.09 ha. This Nature Reserve, if formally gazetted, would allow the forest vegetation of the Bunduki Gap to regenerate and re-establish the connection between the forests of the three reserves in the area.
Doggart, N., J. Lovett, B. Mhoro, J. Kiure and N. Burgess (2005). Biodiversity surveys in the Forest Reserves of the Uluguru Mountains, Tanzania. WCST and TFCG, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. 200 pages. See http://www.easternarc.or.tz
Rodgers, W.A. & Burgess, N.D. (2006). The conservation of the Uluguru Mountains: learning lessons from the past. Miombo 29: 6-9.
Batulaine, G. (2007). Assessment of baseline ecological and socio-economic factors for forest restoration planning in the Bunduki Gap, Uluguru mountain forests of Tanzania. Unpublished M.Sc. thesis, Sokoine University of Agriculture.