Albertine Rift montane forests

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Albertine Rift montane forests
Bwindi mountains.jpg
Biome Tropical and subtropical moist broadleaf forests
Bird species 732[1]
Mammal species 228[1]
Area 103,900 km2 (40,100 sq mi)
Countries Burundi, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda
Habitat loss 27.433%[1]
Protected 12.48%[1]

The Albertine Rift montane forests ecoregion, of the Tropical moist broadleaf forest Biome, are in the heart of Afromontane tropical Africa.

Location and description[edit]

The high montane forests cover the western portions of Rwanda and Burundi, the eastern edge of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and portions of western Uganda and Tanzania. This area occupies the parallel Albertine Rift Mountains that enclose the western branch of the East African Rift. The mountain ranges include the Lendu Plateau of Uganda (although here the forest has almost completely been cleared), Virunga Mountains, and Rwenzori Mountains. At the highest elevations of the Rwenzori and Virunga ranges (above 3000 meters), the forests transition to the Afroalpine Rwenzori-Virunga montane moorlands ecoregion, including the high peaks of Mount Stanley and Mount Karisimbi. The highest peak in Burundi, Mount Heha however is in this ecoregion.

Flora and fauna[edit]

The mountain rainforests of the ecoregion have a cooler climate than the Congolian lowland forests or the savanna of Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi, and therefore are home to a rich variety of Afromontane flora and especially fauna. The rare mountain gorilla (Gorilla beringei beringei) survives only in this ecoregion as do L'Hoest's monkey and a sub-species of Hamlyn's monkey as well as many species of butterflies, and birds including Grauer's warblers, Chapin's flycatchers, and the Ruwenzori turaco. The montane forests are included on the Global 200 list.

Threats and protection[edit]

Much of the forest has already been cleared for agriculture or for logging, especially in densely populated Rwanda and Burundi, but large areas of forest still remains in forest reserves and at higher altitudes in ranges including the Virunga, Itombwe, and Rwenzori. The forest clearance is ongoing and is a major threat to the ecology of the region. The violent history of the region in recent times has also caused damage to the ecological balance, for example almost eliminating the population of elephant from Virunga National Park in the Congo.

As well as Virunga the ecoregion includes the Ruwenzori Mountains National Park, Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, Kibale National Park in Uganda, and Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda.

Urban areas and settlements[edit]

Built-up areas in the region include:

Visiting the region[edit]

Popular activities include:


  1. ^ a b c d Hoekstra, J. M.; Molnar, J. L.; Jennings, M.; Revenga, C.; Spalding, M. D.; Boucher, T. M.; Robertson, J. C.; Heibel, T. J.; Ellison, K. (2010). Molnar, J. L., ed. The Atlas of Global Conservation: Changes, Challenges, and Opportunities to Make a Difference. University of California Press. ISBN 978-0-520-26256-0. 

External links[edit]