Located in north-western Burundi, Kibira National Park lies along the north–south-oriented mountains of Congo–Nile divide. It extends from theborder with Rwanda almost as far south as the town of Muramvya. Kibira is contiguous with Nyungwe forest in Rwanda (RW007) and, with it, forms a montane forest block of some 130,000 ha. Most of the remaining primary forest is found on the wetter, western mountain slopes. It is estimated that not more than 16% consists of primary evergreen forest. Dominant tree species include Symphonia globulifera, Newtonia buchananii, Albizia gummifera and Entandrophragma excelsum. There are also areas of montane bog and bamboo, Arundinaria alpina. Annual rainfall varies from 1,400 mm to 2,000 mm.
See Box and Tables 2 and 3 for key species. The forest holds many of the Albertine Rift endemics. In addition, five species of the Guinea–Congo Forests biome occur while a further two, Trachyphonus purpuratus and Illadopsis fulvescens, used to do so, but are now thought to be locally extinct. One species each of the Lake Victoria Basin and Zambezian biomes have also been recorded (see Table 3). Kibira has been less well studied than the contiguous Nyungwe forest, but is certainly the most important site in Burundi for the conservation of montane-forest birds.
Non-bird biodiversity: Several species of primate occur, including Pan troglodytes (EN), Colobus angolensis ruwenzorii (VU), Cercopithecus l’hoesti (LR/nt) and C. mitis kandti (EN), while the presence of C. hamlyni (LR/nt) is unconfirmed.
Pressure/threats to key biodiversity
Kibira has been legally protected since 1933, while active conservation effort, as elsewhere in Burundi, dates from 1980. Historically, the forest was used as royal hunting and burial grounds and some areas of Kibira retain almost magical qualities to local people and remain out of bounds. Despite this and its status as a National Park, there is much pressure on parts of the forest as a result of felling of trees and cutting of bamboo, fire and poaching, etc.
BirdLife International (2023) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Kibira National Park. Downloaded from
http://www.birdlife.org on 09/02/2023.