What we do
With 152 bird species, including 18 Albertine Rift endemics and the Endangered Grauer's Swamp-warbler, Echuya is ranked as the most important forest in the country for the rarity of its fauna and flora. RSPB and the Ugandan BirdLife Partner, NatureUganda are working with local communities to ensure Echuya's long-term survival.
Echuya is a montane rainforest in south-western Uganda, adjoining the border with Rwanda. Covering 3,400 ha, the forest includes a high altitude swamp called Muchuya. The forest cover is approximately 80% mature Macaranga kilimandscharia and Hagenia abyssinica and 20% mountain bamboo Yushania alpina.
Echuya lies in the Albertine Rift section of the Eastern Afromontane Hotspot, the most endemic-rich region in Africa. Muchuya Swamp is home to an important population of 30-50 pairs of the Endangered Grauer's Swamp-warbler and the entire Reserve is considered a priority amongst BirdLife International's 30 Ugandan Important Bird Areas (IBAs).
Echuya is situated in one of the most densely populated and poorest agricultural regions of Uganda. Its long-term conservation will depend on the support of the surrounding population, since pressure on forest resources - for firewood, poles, bamboo etc. is intense. Prior to RSPB/NU's involvement, access to forest resources was legally restricted, but in practice unenforced. Local communities (Bachiga and Bafumbira farmers and the marginalised Batwa pygmies) lacked the capacity to negotiate Collaborative Forest Management agreements that would permit them to access resources legally and to conserve them. The result was destructive, illegal harvesting and conflict with staff of the National Forestry Authority.
Dr Chris MaginPartner Development OfficerE-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Kulika Uganda htpp://www.kulika.org
From June 2004-December 2008, NatureUganda, with £350,000 financial support from Department for International Development/Civil Society Challenge Fund, and technical and management support from RSPB, implemented a project to enhance biodiversity conservation and improve livelihoods of local communities at Echuya. A grant of £45,000 was also received from Kulika Uganda to train farmers in Sustainable Organic Agriculture.