Albertine Rift montane forests

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Albertine Rift montane forests
Bwindi mountains.jpg
Ecoregion AT0101.jpg
Ecoregion territory (in yellow)
BiomeTropical and subtropical moist broadleaf forests
Bird species732[1]
Mammal species228[1]
Area103,900 km2 (40,100 sq mi)
Coordinates2°45′S 29°08′E / 2.75°S 29.14°E / -2.75; 29.14Coordinates: 2°45′S 29°08′E / 2.75°S 29.14°E / -2.75; 29.14
Habitat loss27.433%[1]

The Albertine Rift montane forests is a tropical moist broadleaf forest ecoregion in east-central Africa. The ecoregion covers the mountains of the northern Albertine Rift, and is home to distinct Afromontane forests with high biodiversity.[2][3][4]


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 (the forest is almost completely cleared from here), and the Virunga Mountains and Rwenzori Mountains of Rwanda, Uganda, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

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.

Urban areas and settlements[edit]

Developed and settled areas in the region include:

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 Albertine Rift montane forests are included on the Global 200 conservation list.

The rare mountain gorilla (Gorilla beringei beringei) survives only in this ecoregion as do the L'Hoest's monkey, and a subspecies of the Hamlyn's monkey − as well as many endemic species of butterflies and birds including: Grauer's warblers, Chapin's flycatchers, and the Rwenzori turaco. The Lendu Plateau clawed frog is endemic to that landform in the ecoregion.


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 the Virunga, Itombwe, and Rwenzori Ranges. The forest clearance is ongoing and is a major threat to the ecology of the region, and to the forests as an important carbon store.[5]

The violent political and rebel history of the region in recent times has also caused damage to the ecological balance, for example almost eliminating the population of African bush elephants from Virunga National Park in the DRC.

Protected areas[edit]

11.93% of the ecoregion is in protected areas. Protected areas include:[3]


Visitor activities in the ecoregion's habitats 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.
  2. ^ "Map of Ecoregions 2017". Resolve. Retrieved August 20, 2021.
  3. ^ a b "Albertine Rift montane forests". DOPA Explorer. Accessed 22 March 2022. [1]
  4. ^ "Albertine Rift montane forests". The Encyclopedia of Earth. Retrieved August 20, 2021.
  5. ^ Cuni-Sanchez, Aida; Sullivan, Martin J. P.; Platts, Philip J.; Lewis, Simon L.; Marchant, Rob; Imani, Gérard; Hubau, Wannes; Abiem, Iveren; Adhikari, Hari; Albrecht, Tomas; Altman, Jan (2021-08-25). "High aboveground carbon stock of African tropical montane forests". Nature. 596 (7873): 536–542. doi:10.1038/s41586-021-03728-4. ISSN 0028-0836. Archived from the original on 11 Aug 2021.

External links[edit]