Tiro Boter–Becho forest lies in Tiro–Afeta and Limu–Kosa Weredas of Jimma Zone, 80 km south-west of Welkite town, which in turn is 150 km from Addis Ababa. It lies along a volcanic mountain ridge, running almost north to south, and rising to a series of small peaks, the highest of which is 3,018 m. The mountains are drained by the Gilgel Gibe to the west, which forms a wide valley supporting the lower parts of the forest, and the main Gibe river to the north and east. The Tiro Boter–Becho forest is a mixed coniferous–broadleaf forest, fairly species-rich, and structurally diverse. Acacia woodland dominates the lowest altitudes, with high montane forest on the slopes and in the valleys up to around 2,500 m. Above this is a mixed coniferous forest, comprising Juniperus procera, Hagenia abyssinica and other small trees, that grades into an open Erica arborea zone around 3,000 m. There are some patches of Arundinaria alpina in wet, sheltered valleys. Aningeria adolfi-friderici are the largest trees and are sought-after for their timber. Although the Tiro Boter–Becho forest covers 85,804 ha of forest and forest land, in 1988 only 15,957 ha was undisturbed forest, the remainder comprising 23,289 ha of disturbed forest and 46,558 ha of plantation and bushland.
See Box and Table 3 for key species. So far 122 species have been recorded. Macronyx flavicollis is uncommon, being restricted to a few small grassland patches. Notable among the biome-restricted species are Dendropicos abyssinicus, Pseudoalcippe abyssinica, Cryptospiza salvadorii, the little-recorded Poeoptera tuhlmanni,Onychognathus tenuirostris, Cinnyricinclus sharpii and Serinus xanthopygius. Other species of interest include Accipiter rufiventris, Apaloderma narina and four little-recorded species, Emberiza affinis, Schoenicula brevirostris, Coracina pectoralis and Lagonosticta rubricata. In addition, one species of the Sudan–Guinea Savanna biome has been recorded; see Table 3.
Non-bird biodiversity: None known to BirdLife International.
Pressure/threats to key biodiversity
Since 1984, the Tiro Boter–Becho Integrated Forest Development and Utilization Project has aimed to ensure optimum protection, conservation and utilization of the natural forest based on the principle of sustained yield production for the benefit of local use and the national economy. The project is one of the few well-managed forestry projects in Ethiopia, and offers practical training across the full range of forestry activities. One part of the natural forest has been set aside for total protection, being used only as a reference area for studying the flora and fauna and making comparisons with the areas under forest management. However, the forest has been exploited since 1951, with 5,400–6,400 ha of Juniperus procera already harvested. Current threats to the vegetation come from neighbouring communities, with people grazing livestock in the forest, clearing areas for cultivation and cutting trees for construction timber and fuel (for their own use and to sell). The practice of planting fast-growing exotic trees in the grassland and woodland areas also represents a threat.
BirdLife International (2020) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Tiro Boter - Becho forest. Downloaded from
http://www.birdlife.org on 26/10/2020.