Semliki National Park, Uganda
KBA status: confirmed
Rationale for qualifying as KBA: This site qualifies as a Key Biodiversity Area of international significance because it meets one or more previously established criteria and thresholds for identifying sites of biodiversity importance (including Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas, Alliance for Zero Extinction sites, and Key Biodiversity Areas) KBA identified in the process of compiling the CEPF Ecosystem Profile of the East Afromontane Hotspot. Species taxonomy and threat category was based on IUCN Red List 2010-4.
This park, sometimes referred to as Bwamba forest, lies in the Albertine Rift Valley, north-west of the Rwenzori mountains, bordering the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). The Lamia and Semliki rivers bound the park to the west and north, and the Fort Portal–Bundibugyo road forms part of its boundary to the south. The Park is contiguous with the DRC’s Virunga National Park (IBA CD010) and with the small North Rwenzori Forest Reserve in Uganda. Much of its flat to gently undulating landscape is poorly drained and floods during rainy seasons. Much of the park (c.19,500 ha) is covered by forest, which is classified as moist semi-deciduous and which is dominated over large areas by a single tree species, Cynometra alexandrii. Swamp-forest communities occupy about 7% of the area, dominated by Mitragyna, oil-palm Elaeis and Ficus. The breakdown of law and order in the 1970s and early 1980s resulted in about 30% of the original forest cover being cleared for agriculture and settlement. However, the encroachers were evicted in 1988 and 1990, and the forest is now slowly regenerating.The Semliki forest is cut off from the rest of East Africa by the natural barrier of the Rwenzori massif. Its forests represent an easterly extension of the great Ituri forest of north-eastern DRC and its flora and fauna show strong affinities with the Congo-Basin forests. There are also strong affinities between the people and cultures of Bwamba and those of neighbouring DRC.
Semliki National Park was gazetted as Semliki Forest Reserve in 1932 and formally gazetted as a National Park in 1993. Conservation efforts have faced a number of obstacles that largely relate to the conflict over land-use by local communities who desire to utilize the park resources as they have done traditionally. This has resulted in agricultural encroachment, poaching, illegal removal of forest products and hostility by the local community. Involving the local people in decision-making is a major objective of current management, supported by an IUCN project. The high population density in Bwamba county (300 people/km², increasing at 3.4% per annum) poses a big problem for the future, with people saying that they need more land for cultivation.
|IUCN Habitat||Coverage level||Coverage %||Habitat detail|
|14. Artificial - Terrestrial||-||21-30%|
|Threat level 1||Threat level 2||Threat level 3||Timing||Scope||Severity||Impact|
|2 Agriculture & aquaculture||2.1 Annual & perennial non-timber crops||2.1.2 Small-holder farming||Ongoing||Affects the minority of the population (<50%)||Causing or likely to cause negligible declines||Low|
|2 Agriculture & aquaculture||2.3 Livestock farming & ranching||2.3.2 Small-holder grazing, ranching or farming||Ongoing||Affects the minority of the population (<50%)||Causing or likely to cause negligible declines||Low|
|5 Biological resource use||5.2 Gathering terrestrial plants||5.2.2 Unintentional effects (species being assessed is not the target)||Ongoing||Affects the minority of the population (<50%)||Causing or likely to cause negligible declines||Low|
|5 Biological resource use||5.3 Logging & wood harvesting||5.3.3 Unintentional effects: subsistence/small scale (species being assessed is not the target) [harvest]||Ongoing||Affects the minority of the population (<50%)||Causing or likely to cause negligible declines||Low|
|7 Natural system modifications||7.1 Fire & fire suppression||7.1.1 Increase in fire frequency/intensity||Ongoing||Affects the minority of the population (<50%)||Causing or likely to cause negligible declines||Low|