Environmental and anthropogenic changes in and around the Budongo Forest Reserve

Budongo Forest Reserve (BFR) is a medium altitude, moist semi-deciduous forest, covering an area of 825 km2 of which about 50% is forest and the rest is grassland (Figure 3.1). Budongo has for a long period been the centre for studies in tropical silviculture and botanical work in the East African region (e.g. Eggeling 1947, Plumptre 1996, Sheil et al. 2000, Babweteera et al., 2000). Budongo Forest Reserve (31o 22' – 31o 46' E and 1o 37' – 2o 03' N) was gazetted by the British Colonial Administration in the early 1930s although timber extraction started as early as 1910. Initially the logging planned to remove all old timber trees over 1.3 m DBH followed by felling smaller trees 80 years later. The ultimate aim was to create a two-stage uniform crop of trees which would be felled over a 40 year polycyclic interval. However, due to the slow recovery of valued timber of suitable sizes harvesting was changed to monocyclic felling on an 80 year rotation and the felling limit lowered to 85 cm DBH (Dawkins, 1958 and Philip, 1965). Enrichment planting with mahoganies (Khaya anthotheca and Entandrophragma spp.) was carried out between the 1940s and 50s but was quickly abandoned after it was found that many seedlings died and that natural regeneration in logged areas was as good as that in planted areas. Later planting of saplings was started but elephants often ate and killed these. Consequently, during the 1950s and 1960s arboricide treatments were carried out on trees with low market value („weed species‟), together with climber cutting, to open up the canopy and encourage the spread of mixed forest which favoured regeneration of the mahoganies. However, the treatments were stopped in the 1970s when more tree species became marketable and the cost of the arboricide became too high.
Environmental and anthropogenic changes, Budongo Forest Reserve
Babweteera, F., Sheil, D., Reynolds, V., Plumptre, A. J., Zuberbuhler, K., Hill, C. M., ... & Tweheyo, M. (2012). Environmental and anthropogenic changes in and around Budongo Forest Reserve. The ecological impact of long-term changes in Africa's Rift Valley, 31-53.