Budongo offers conservationists a unique platform to assess the impacts of utilization and management interventions on forest biodiversity because it is one among a few tropical forests whose management history has been documented over the past century. Also the permanent sample plots (PSP), established in the 1930s within Budongo, are probably the oldest tropical rainforest PSPs in the world that offer a unique opportunity to our understanding of the dynamics of tropical forests.
Despite these opportunities and the forest's inherent value, Budongo Forest and many of its species are currently under immense threat from many sources: population pressure from immigration due to wars and civil unrest in neighbouring countries means cropland is scarce and the forest edges are encroached with burning and clearing; illegal pitsawing of the remaining timber trees is well-organised; wire snares are set to catch duikers or bushpigs but often cause serious injuries to chimpanzees travelling along the forest floor; agribusiness employs outreach farmers who extend cultivation beyond forest boundaries; and now the exploitation of oil reserves along the lake shore below the escarpment is likely to exacerbate land pressures and environmental degradation.
Recognising the severe threats to the forest and its species, the Budongo Forest Project (now Budongo Conservation Field Station) was founded in 1990 by Prof. Vernon Reynolds with a grant from Overseas Development Agency (now DFID). One early objective was to conduct research into the effects of logging on biodiversity. In addition, the local community of chimpanzees (named the Sonso communityt) was gradually habituated and has been under daily observation for almost 25 years making Budongo one among a few long-term chimpanzee research sites in Africa. More recently a second community has been habituated, providing interesting comparative studies. BCFS has long established itself as a leading research institution in Africa and has developed a number of linkages with key local and international conservation institutions.
Locally BCFS has worked closely with the School of Forestry, Environment, and Geographical Sciences at Makerere University in providing research and training facilities for the staff and students. Also, the National Forestry Authority (the custodian of Budongo Forest) use scientific information generated by BCFS researchers to make management decisions. We are also very thankful to the UWA (Uganda Wildlife Authority) and JGI-Uganda with whom we have worked closely on chimpanzee health monitoring, interventions and training of our Veterinarians.
Internationally BCFS has worked with major donors including Overseas Development Agency (UK), Norwegian Agency for International Development (Norway), National Geographic Society (USA), Oakland zoo (USA) and Conservation International (USA). Currently, the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland (UK) provides the core funding for BCFS. The funding from these institutions has enabled BCFS to establish itself as a key player in the long-term conservation of Budongo Forest.
- Conservation & Research
- Conservation and Research Overview
- Meet the Team
- Project Partners
- Forest management in the Budongo Forest
Highlights from 2017
February 08, 2018
Powering the forest walk with a Rolex
December 24, 2017
Reducing the threat of snares in the Budongo Forest
July 08, 2016
Using forest research to inform chimpanzee conservation in Budongo
May 26, 2016
Providing alternative livelihoods to forest dependent communities
April 15, 2016