ECOTRUST with funding from the World Land Trust (WLT) is supporting the establishment of a Corridor Restoration Fund (CRF) to drive the restoration of forest connectivity corridors between the two forest reserve forests of Bugoma and Budongo in the Murchison Landscape of Western Uganda (the Bugoma-Budongo Corridor).
We have made significant progress in the implementation of the Corridor Restoration Program. So far 51 ha of land have been purchased from multiple landowners within the Bugoma – Wambabya (Kidoma) sub-linkage with another 5.9ha set to be secured within the first quarter of this year. Preparations are also under way to have trainings conducted for households more interested in signing conservation agreements.
The plan is to secure land tenure within the two forest linkages in a phased 3-year approach and reforest the area completely by planting 240,000 trees. The project is working with public institutions including the National Forest Authority (NFA) and the District Local Government specifically the District Forest Services (DFS) and the District Land Office within the three districts of Kikuube, Hoima & Masindi that make up the corridor.
Maintaining the corridor is essential for maintaining genetic diversity. These tropical forests harbor an astounding biodiversity; 52% of Africa’s bird species; 39% of its mammal species; 19% of its amphibians; 14% of its reptiles; and 14% of its plants. This once continuous forest is now reduced and dis-aggregated into large and small forest patches along the length of the Albertine Rift, some established as protected areas, others as fragments on community land. The core protected areas (Bugoma and Budongo Forest Reserves) have lost the connecting natural vegetation that is critical for the long-term survival of wildlife in the corridor. The crisis for biodiversity is severe, especially for the flagship endangered species, the eastern chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes schweinfurthii).
The Corridor Restoration Program aims to secure and restore the connectivity of the corridor between the two forest reserves to ensure conservation of the rich biodiversity, climate resilience and sustainable livelihoods in the Murchison Landscape.