Sites - Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas (IBAs)
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Echuya Forest Reserve
29o 48.96' East 1o 16.38' South
A1, A2, A3
2,270 - 2,570m
Year of IBA assessment
Site description This site is mostly forest (the 3,400 ha Echuya Forest Reserve) , but includes a permanent high-altitude swamp (Muchuya) at 2,300 m, about 7 km long by up to 750 m wide, in a narrow valley surrounded by steep forested hillsides. The swamp vegetation is dominated by sedges Carex and includes tussock vegetation and giant lobelias. The swamp drains north-west into the Murindi river. The reserve is dominated by Hagenia-Rapanea moist montane forest and montane bamboo Arundinaria. Echuya may not be as diverse overall as other Ugandan forests, but in terms of the conservation value of the species represented (based on their worldwide distributions and occurrence in Ugandan forests), Echuya is ranked among the top 10% of the 65 sites visited by the Forest Biodiversity Inventory Team.Densely populated agricultural land surrounds the Forest Reserve, although agricultural encroachment appears not to be significant. However, the reserve is used as the main source of bamboo for building and crafts by the local communities. Batwa have traditionally lived in the forest and continue to earn their living from various forms of resource extraction.
Key Biodiversity See Box and Tables 2 and 3 for key species. Echuya Forest Reserve IBA, including the Muchuya swamp, has a total of 100 species recorded. Of these, a high proportion are dependent on highland forest. In view of its size, the swamp is likely to support a larger population of Bradypterus graueri than the nearby Mubwindi swamp (in IBA UG004), one of only a few known localities for this species in Uganda. Birds in the reserve that are restricted to the Afrotropical Highlands biome include such rare species as Francolinus nobilis, Batis diops, Ploceus alienus and Cryptospiza jacksoni.
Non-bird biodiversity: There are four Albertine-endemic small mammals, namely Lophuromys woosnami, Dasymys montanus (VU), Myosorex blarina (VU) and Sylvisorex lunaris. The rare Delanymys brooksi (restricted to montane swamps) also occurs.