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Kasyoha-Kitomi Forest Reserve is located in Western Uganda, covers an area of 392 Km2 and situated South of Lake George and Kazinga channel in the Albertine Rift eco-region, characterized by a high number of endemic species (NFA, 1999, Franks, 2003). The core landscape surrounding the primary conservation area of Kasyoha-Kitomi Forest Reserve covers approximately 870 km2. Kasyoha-Kitomi Forest Reserve is one of Uganda’s few remaining medium altitude moist forests. It was designated as a forest reserve in 1932 covering Kasyoha (77 Km2) and Kitomi (90 Km2) and regazzeted later as Kasyoha Kitomi Forest Reserve in 1948. Lately, the Lubare ridge in the South and Kakasi in the North, were added to the Reserve in 1996 and 1997 respectively. The first management plan was written in 1957. The forest management is under the jurisdiction of the Districts of Bushenyi, Ibanda and Kamwengye. The forest borders Kanyambogo to the North, Kalinzu / Maramagambo Forest Reserves to the South-east, Kyamuhanga tea estate/Bitoma and Ndangaro parishes to the South, Rwanjere to the East and Kyambura Wildlife Reserve (UG008) and Queen Elizabeth National Park (UG007) to the west. The area covering Mwongyera and Butoma parishes acts as a biodiversity corridor connecting the Wildlife Reserve and the National Park with the Forest. There are exoduses of animals from the Park to the Forest and vice versa. The area also borders with the Kazinga channel to the west which connects Lake Albert and Lake George. The lakes function as a source of river Kyambula which traverses the whole Forest Reserve. Kasyoha-Kitomi provides ecological services for Lake George which has the most fisheries in the country. It lies within the Albertine Rift. The altitude ranges from 975 – 2136 m above sea level. Most of the Forest is found along the valleys of the Western ranges. The rainfall is bimodal with quantity of 1250 – 1400mm per year (Raben et al., 2007). It has a minimum temperature ranges of 13 – 15oC and maximum temperatures ranges of 25 – 26oC. Kasyoha-Kitomi provides ecological services for Lake George which has the most fisheries in the country. It lies within the Albertine Rift eco-region characterised by a high number of endemic species (NFA, 1999, Franks, 2003). The vegetation of Kasyoha-Kitomi has been described by Langdale-Brown et al. (1964) and classed into Parinari forest described as medium altitude moist-evergreen forest (Kasyoha); Albizia-Markhamia forest described as medium altitude moist-semi deciduous forest (Kitomi and Kakasi); Forest/Savanna mosaic at high altitude (Lubare ridge and South-west of Kasyoha) and, post-cultivation Hyparrhenia-Pteridium community (Southern part of Kasyoha). The major Forest types as described by Langdale-Brown et al. (1964) are therefore medium altitude, moist evergreen and medium altitude moist semi-deciduous Forest; with grasslands.
The current number of bird species recorded from Kasyoha-Kitomi stands at 308 species (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 .
Non-bird biodiversity: 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 L’hoest’s monkey (C. l’hoesti). 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’s 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.
BirdLife International (2021) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Kasyoha-Kitomi Forest Reserve. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 13/04/2021.