Uluguru North-South

Region: Morogoro
Type: E - Potential connectivity of important habitats.
Threat: Critical - probably less than 3 years remaining.
The Bunduki Corridor, Uluguru Mountains
The Bunduki Corridor, Uluguru Mountains

The Bunduki Corridor, Uluguru Mountains

Description

The Uluguru Mountains are one of the blocks within the Eastern Arc range, and consistently rank in the top three of the blocks in terms of overall species values; many species are endemic just to this area. 

Forest habitat on the Uluguru Mountain range has been reduced from over 300 km2 to around 220 km2 over the past 50 years, and is now largely confined to a number of Forest Reserves – the two largest being Uluguru North Forest Reserve (83.57 km2) and Uluguru South (172.93 km2) – both of which contain significant biodiversity.

The Uluguru Mountains are also of critical importance for the provision of water to the Ruvu River, especially during the dry season.  Water flows from the Ruvu have been declining over the past 50 years and hence better protection for the remaining forests in the watershed of this river might help reverse this situation and thereby improve the situation for millions of people in Dar es Salaam.

Wildlife

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.  

Threats

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.

References

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.

www.cepf.net/Documents/Final_CARE_BundukiGap.pdf