The Cambridgetanzania rainforest survey 1990 – A wildlife survey of the East Usambara and Ukaguru Mountains, Tanzania

Tom Evans

To report on the conservation status of two evergreen forests in the Ukaguru Mountains and in the Mtai Forest of the East Usambaras of Tanzania. Forest birds studied using mist-netting and several threatened or endemic species found. Herptiles observed, specimens and sound recordings taken. Many unusual records. In Mtai butterflies were surveyed along altitudinal transect and fishes studied in nearby streams.

Project update: 16/8/96. Visited the Ukaguru and East Usambara Mountains, both known to be of high conservation value. The forests deserve protection on social, economic and scietific grounds. Results indicate that Mount Mtai in the East Usambaras has a rich forest fauna, containing at least three threatened species of bird and many restricted-range amphibians and butterflies. Mount Mtai has at least a fifth of the remaining virgin forest in the East Usambaras. The forest is being degraded by poorly regulated pit-saw logging. Proposals for its protection are made, the most urgent being the reduction or cessation of pit-saw logging. In the Ukagurus, four forest bird species new for the mountains were recorded and both previously known threatened birds were found in reasonable numbers. All herpetological records were new, and included many rare species. The forest is under heavy pressure of degradation as it is the sole source of firewood to around 10,000 local households. Modest funds are required by the Wildlife conservation Society of Tanzania to complete a demarcation of the gradually eroding Forest reserve Boundary. A nearby softwood plantation could perhaps supply firewood in the interim - it is suggested that this possibility should be investigated.