Echuya Central Forest Reserve Uganda
Echuya Forest Reserve is situated in Bufumbira county in Kisoro District and Rubanda county in Kabale District. The Forest Reserve, a sanctuary for different species of plants and birds is found between Kabale and Kisoro district.
Echuya Forest Reserve is situated in Bufumbira County in Kisoro District and Rubanda County in Kabale District in south western Uganda. The southern end of the forest runs along the north-eastern border of Rwanda. The forest that lies between 1’14’ – 1’21’ S and 29’47’ – 29’52’E covers 34 square kilometers and has an altitude range of 2270 – 2570 metres. Echuya positioned on high elevation range running between Lake Bunyonyi, 5km to the East and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park, 13 kilometers to the south west. Echuya forest is 11 km east of Kisoro and 15 km west of Kabale town. The main Kabale – Kisoro road passes through the northern end.
The jungle is at the heart of the biodiversity rich Albertine rift eco-region and is a site of global biodiversity importance. Henceforth it categorized by Birdlife as a vital Bird Area because of the high multiplicity of bird species among which are universally endangered and widespread.
Echuya, one of the tourist sites in western Uganda is predominantly known for its high quality bamboo,Yushania alpina. There are also areas of broad-leaved forest, mostly along the Eastern side and higher loftiness northern end of the Kabale – Kisoro road. The woodland cover is about 80% mature Macaranga kilimandscharia and Hagenia abyssinica forest and 20% mountain bamboo Yushania alpina.
The forest is encircled by high population density areas that depend largely on natural resources and forest products for their basic living needs like firewood, bamboo for construction, medicinal plants and many more. Much of the scenery nearby Echuya has been deforested, leaving the Central Forest Reserve as the only community source of forest produces. The surrounding populations have been using forest in an untenable way because of lack of other livelihood sources. Conservation organizations including Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) have also come up with sustainable programmes like gorilla tracking, birding, community walks and many more that are set towards improving the livelihoods of the surrounding societies.