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Flora And Fauna Of Uganda

Flora And Fauna Of Uganda

Flora And Fauna Of Uganda

Flora And Fauna Of Uganda- Uganda also named the pearl of Africa features a biodiverse flora and fauna and is legendary for its splendor, natural wonders, and amazing people. Uganda incorporates a wealth of unexploited natural resources. It showcases several collections of habitats, landscapes, and vegetation starting from bushy grassland, acacia woodland, open woodland savanna forest, tropical forest, montane forest, riparian forest, grasslands, outcrops, marshes, craggy hills, sweeping valleys, extensive wetlands, and bush thickets. All the above vegetation types host several wildlife, primates, and birdlife.

Uganda being crossed by the equator and its location on the good African plateau gives it unprecedented biological and physical flora and fauna. Uganda is endured with similar tropical hot climate, and therefore the temperatures are relatively unvarying throughout the year. Temperatures are tormented by the wide variation tall of land above water level across the country.

The presence of Lake Victoria offers moistness to the south, thus brings precipitation on the western shores. Without Lake Victoria, the places would be dry and arid throughout the year. However, most regions receive rainfall between 1000m and 2000m annually.

What is the vegetation of Uganda?

Geographically, Uganda may be a flat plateau with an altitude of 900m above water level in most places of the country with several mountains, hills, and valleys as well as extensive savanna plains. Uganda has various vegetation types which will be roughly classified in keeping with to the rainfall/ climatic zones;

  • Lake region
  • Northern region
  • Highlands of the southeast

Vegetation is plenty in the south of the country and becomes wooded savannah in the central and northern part of Uganda. In the highlands of the southwest, however, cultivating land is severe even on the high mountain slopes. However, there are distributed patches of thick forest or elephant grass and mvule trees, providing good timber.

The cooler western highlands comprise of a higher amount of long grass and woodland. In the drier region if north, shorter grasses appear, and there are areas of open woodland; thorn trees and Borassus palms also grow.

Savanna grasslands cover most parts of the country but vary in different regions depending on the altitude and temperatures. Southwest comprises of woodland, shrubs to the north, or dry to the northeast. Savannah habitat is conquered by grassland with Borassus palms, woodland with forest patches scattered.

The woody vegetation is conquered by acacia-dotted savanna species, Olea, and Boscia species. Forest savannah mosaic vegetation is spread throughout the country in areas close to lakes and rivers. The forest vegetation has ample amounts of evapotranspiration leading to an increase of rainfall around the region. The forest vegetation diminishes soil erosion, flooding and guarantees continuous flow of water in the dry season.

Uganda is gifted with several mountains meaning that mountain vegetation covers most parts of the country, like in the Rwenzori mountains, Mountain Moroto, and the Mount Elgon region. Budongo forest located in Murchison Falls National Park is  by now the largest survival natural mahogany forest with ironwood trees in Uganda covering an area of 825 sq km.

Hygrophilous vegetation flourishes in highly humid areas, lining near the Great Lakes, such as papyrus swamp and thin lush riparian woodland bands.

The vegetation of Uganda’s National Parks

Lake Mburo national park

Lake Mburo national parkland is occupied by a grassy escarpment rising above a shoreline fringed with acacia forest and also the closed canopy tropical Rubanga forest. On the park’s western side, it’s conquered by savanna vegetation with rocky ridges and forested gorges, while different park lakes are covered with lines of papyrus swamps. On the north and east, grasslands between hills leaking through stretches of marshland into Lake Mburo. While on the eastern side of the park you will find rock kopjes. Lake Mburo national park is always added to the western circuit Africa safaris reason being it is easy to access of all Uganda savannah national parks.

Bwindi impenetrable forest national park

Bwindi impenetrable forest national park is blessed with tropical and sub-tropical rainforest with many tree species, making it rightfully deserve its name impenetrable. The impenetrable forest is organically rich and is vital for the conservation of the Afromontane fauna especially species indigenous to the western rift valley mountains.

The Bwindi impenetrable forest has a uneven topography with narrow valleys interconnected by steep hills and rivers. The Park has more than 220 tree species, 104 flowering plants, and about 163 fern species, the threatened brown mahogany and brazzeia inclusive.

Queen Elizabeth national park

Queen Elizabeth national park situated in the western part of Uganda has a huge variety of habitats, including the savanna grassland, 3 spectacular crater lakes, tropical rainforest, and swamps. However, Queen Elizabeth national park has five vegetation levels in the different sectors: lakeshore/wetland vegetation, bushy grassland, acacia woodland, and forest grassland.

The vegetation is too much containing of mostly thickets of small trees, including Capparis tomentosa, acacia, dichrostachys cinerea, and evergreens. The park’s grasslands harbor wildlife such as lions, buffalos, rhinos, elephants, forest grassland harbors primates such as chimpanzees, black and white colobus monkeys, red-tailed monkeys, olive baboons, and many others. Kabatoro gate has a bumpy ground cover with thick vegetation occupied by candelabra thorn that makes game drives difficult.

The open savanna plains are the next to the beautiful Lake George’s western shores, just near to the area where the Kazinga channel joins with this lake. Fringes of vossia cuspidate with shrubs like Aeschynomene have developed at the shores of the lake.

Kidepo valley national park

Kidepo valley national park is located in the dry Karamoja region in the remote areas of northwest Uganda, with great savanna landscapes and rising mountains in the background.

Kidepo valley national park vegetation contains semi-arid plains interspersed with hills, mountain ranges, and rocky outcrops. A third of the national park lies within the Narus valley located in the west and south, and the other two-thirds occupy the Kidepo valley in the northeast and east. Life in the park is said to revolve around these two seasonal rivers Narus river and the Kidepo river. The Narus river has water for about six months annually and has well-developed acacia gerrardii forest. Kidepo valley national park only has water in the rainy seasons. Apart from acacia gerrardii woodland, Kidepo valley national park also has extensive grasslands, shrub-steppe, trees, and bushland. Overall the vegetation of Kidepo valley national park can best be described as an open tree savanna that varies much in structure and composition.

Kibale national park

This evergreen rain forest park is situated in the western part of Uganda near fort portal, east of mountain Rwenzori. Some endangered timber species of trees in this park include cordial millennia, lovoa swynnertonni, and entandrophragma. The forest understory is occupied by shade-tolerant shrubs and herbs, which comprise of palisota schweinfurthii and pollia condensate, in addition to broadleaf grasses and ferns.

Semuliki national park

The fairly flat park is located in the remote part of Bundibudgyo district, in the western region of Uganda. The park contains tropical lowland forest, Sempaya hot spring area, and is home to several wildlife species and birds.

The area of Semuliki national park is a distinct ecosystem within the larger Albertine rift ecosystem. The national park is located at the intersection of numerous climatic and ecological zones, and as a result, has a high diversity of plant and animal species and many microhabitats. Most of the flora and fauna species in Semuliki national park are also found in the Congo basin forests, with many of these species reaching the eastern limit of their range in Semuliki national park. The vegetation of the park is predominantly medium-altitude moist evergreen to a semi-deciduous forest. the dominant plant species in the forest is the Uganda ironwood.

The Park has more than 441 bird species, 216 of these species are true forest birds, including the rare oberlander’s ground thrush, sassi’s olive greenbul, and 9 species of hornbill. The Park is also a home to 53 mammals of which 27 are large mammals including the African elephant, leopard, African buffalo, mona monkey, bush babies, African civet, water chevrotain, pygmy scaly-tailed flying squirrel, and hippopotamus.  The Park has 9 species of duikers, 8 species of primates, and almost 460 butterflies so far recorded.

Rwenzori national park

This snowcapped mountain Rwenzori ranges include an amazing range of landscapes, from thick tropical rainforests on the lower slopes, bizarre afro-alpine moorland to glaciers at the high altitudes.

Montane woodland is an open woodland comprising of dense ground cover. The bamboo zone on the mountain covers about 60% of the park and it is a favored habitat for larger mammals such as elephants, Rwenzori otters, and leopards.  The main montane forest tree species grow up to an elevation of 3,200m and are used for medicinal purposes. The ground level is composed of grasses, lichen, mosses, and liverwort.

The subalphine zone is divided into the Afromontane belt and the moorland zone. None of the zones has trees: vegetation is made up of ground plants capable of enduring extreme conditions thus mammals are rare.

The highest altitudes are home to the giant lobelia and senecio. At these altitudes, there is less rainfall as the area is above regular cloud level.

Examples of vegetation species

The rare germs of trees, grasses, and shrubs of Uganda have uses ranging from cultural, construction, and industrial.

Candelabra trees grow in the savanna biome and are found near the equator. They grow up to 30 to 40 feet tall. The tree branches grow on one trunk and resemble like cactuses that grow near the top, giving it the shape of a candelabra. Candelabra has little beautiful yellow flowers but are poisonous, of which, if a drop of the white sap from the inner tree comes in contact with the human skin, a blister will form. It has gluey, poisonous fluid along with its sharp spines , so animals don’t feed on it.

Elephant grass is a species of perennial tropical grass native to the African grasslands with low water and nutrient requirements or input and therefore can make use of otherwise uncultivated lands.

Acacia Seyal. This is also known as red acacia or the shittah tree, it is thorny and can grow 610 meters tall with a  pale greenish or reddish bark. At the base of the feathery leaves, there are two straight light grey thorns. It grows along lake beds and rivers in savanna places and on clay soils in damp valleys.

Eucalyptus takes over 12 years and above to grow for timber. Many hybrid eucalyptus clones form the basis of both large- and small-scale commercial planting programs.

Baikiaea Insignis, also known as Nkobakoba or Nkoba is a legume species of fabaceae family. It can be found in the south Buddu forests of Uganda.

Acacia nilotica is found around the Nile banks 5-20m tall with a dense spheric crown, stems, and branches normally dark to black colored, fissured bark, grey-pinkish slash, exuding a reddish, low-quality gum. The tree has thin, straight, light grey spines in axillary pairs.

Other plant species include;

Jatropha curcas (pig nut, fig nut, physic nut)

Butyrospermum paradoxum (Shear butter)

Olea Europea (brown olive, wild olive).

Cajanas cajana (Pigeon pea)

Borassus aethiopum (Borassus palm)

Cycad, Santalum album (sandalwood)

Annona senegalisis (wild custard apple)

Azadiracha indica (Neem)

Kigelia Africana (sausage tree)

Tamarindus indica (tamarind)

Vitex doniana (black plum)

Cordia millenii (drum tree)

Prunus Africana (Red stinkwood)