Minziro Forest Reserve

The Minziro (Nature) Forest Reserve is a 24,841 ha[1] conservation area along the Kagera River in Bukoba district of northwestern Tanzania. It protects one of the largest forests in Tanzania, of a forest type that is unique in the country. It was gazetted in 1947[1] and is situated at around 1,150 metres a.s.l.[2] in fairly level terrain. The forest is continuous with the Malabigambo Forest over the nearby Uganda border.[3] The largest part consists of BaikiaeaPodocarpus seasonal swamp forests[1] while the remainder is flooded acacia woodlands.

Minziro Forest Reserve
Minziro-bos, gebrande ekotoon, Tanzanië, a.jpg
Burnt ecotone of Minziro Forest
Map showing the location of Minziro Forest Reserve
Map showing the location of Minziro Forest Reserve
Location in Tanzania
LocationKagera Region, Missenyi District, Tanzania
Nearest cityBukoba
Coordinates01°06′21″S 31°30′58″E / 1.10583°S 31.51611°E / -1.10583; 31.51611Coordinates: 01°06′21″S 31°30′58″E / 1.10583°S 31.51611°E / -1.10583; 31.51611
Area248.41 km2 (95.91 sq mi)

WildlifeEdit

The Minziro Forest is similar to forests found in the Congo and Guinea, and consequently it contains flora and fauna that reach their eastern range limits here.[3]

Characteristic trees of swamp forests include Afrocarpus dawei, Heywoodia lucens, Mussaenda erythrophylla, Cassipourea ruwensorensis, Citropsis articulata, Manilkara obvata, Baikiaea insignis, and Uncaria africana.[4]

58 of the 245 bird species recorded in the reserve are not found outside Kagera in Tanzania, while 56 of these have only been seen in Minziro. In addition, more than 600 butterfly species are native here, surpassing any other forest in Africa.[3]

ThreatsEdit

 
Satellite image of June 2004 showing wildfires in the vicinity of the forest (at center).

The forest was formerly extensively logged for the valuable Afrocarpus dawei trees, which are now scarce, with only small specimens remaining.[3] Illegal logging is ongoing.

Pastoralists have been entering the central grasslands illegally in search of grazing. They burn the grasslands which is detrimental to the over-wintering population of blue swallows, and also affects vegetation in the forest-grassland ecotone. In 2017 the Bukoba magistrate's court fined one trespassing pastoralist, and expressed dismay at the escalating damage to the environment.[5]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b c Baker, Marc. "Birds of Minziro Forest Reserve, Missenyi District, north west Tanzania". Retrieved 6 December 2013.
  2. ^ "Minziro Forest Reserve". Birdlife Data Zone. Birdlife International. Retrieved 6 December 2013.
  3. ^ a b c d "Birding Minziro Forest Reserve". Bukoba Steve's Tanzania birding blog. December 5, 2010. Retrieved 6 December 2013.
  4. ^ Kamukala, G. L., and S. A. Crafter, eds. (1993). "Wetlands of Tanzania: Proceedings of a Seminar on the Wetlands of Tanzania, Morogoro, Tanzania, 27-29 November, 1991". Volume 10 of The IUCN Wetlands Programme. IUCN, 1993.
  5. ^ Mulisa, Meddy (14 April 2017). "Tanzania: Man Fined, Forfeits 30 Cattle to Govt for 'Illegal Entry'". allafrica.com. Tanzania Daily News. Retrieved 16 April 2017.