Previous Page Table of Contents Next Page


Pilot country study - Uganda


Acknowledgement
Executive summary
1. Introduction
2. Edible plants in Uganda
3. Bee-keeping and honey collection
4. Wild plants and basketry
5. Bamboo
6. Traditional medicine and pharmacopoeia in Uganda
7. Traditional medical practioners (TMP's and Traditional Birth Attendants (TBA's) (Midwives)
8. Traditional Veterinary Medicines
9. Forest birds of Uganda
10. Mammals
11. Natural gum and resins in Uganda
12. New national products with commercial potential
13. Biological diversity (biodiversity) in Uganda
14. Conclusion
15. Recommendations edible plants in Uganda
16. References


A REPORT ON A PILOT COUNTRY STUDY OF NON-WOOD FOREST PRODUCTS (NWFP) IN UGANDA

BY

J. T. NALUSWA (BSc (Hons) Forestry, MSc

NAKAWA RESEARCH CENTRE
P.O. BOX 1752, KAMPALA
UGANDA

AUGUST 1993

Acknowledgement

This report would not have been possible without the consent of Mr. L.S. Kiwanuka the Commissioner for Forestry to utilise the available facilities and documents in the Department.

I wish to extend my sincere gratitude to Dr. J.R.S. Kabogoza the Head of Forest Department, Makerere University and Dr. A.Y. Banana for having allowed me to use the Department Library.

This report also benefitted from detailed discussion with Dr. J.R.W. Aluma, the Director of Forestry Research institute (National Agricultural Research Organisation, (NARO), and Mr. P.W. Kityo, Principal Forest Officer/Senior Utilisation Officer, Nakawa Research Centre.

Special thanks go to Mr. F. Kigenyi the Assistant Commission for Forestry in-charge of Nature Conservation, Forest Department for offering secretarial facilities in the Natural Forest Management & Conservation Project for the writing of the report. Mr. J.P. Elokaokich Senior Forest Officer for assistance in proof rending of the draft is very much appreciated. Mrs. M. Naluswa is thanked for encouraging me to work on this pilot country study on NWFP in Uganda.

Finally I am grateful for the financial support rendered by the Commonwealth Science Council to enable me prepare the report.

Executive summary

The pilot country study of non-wood forest products (NWTP) in Uganda was initiated by the Commonwealth Science Council, based in the Commonwealth Secretariat, London when I was invited to prepare a report within a period of two and half months.

The invitation was received at the end of July 1993, work started immediately and this is a result of the finding.

The objective of the pilot country study is to provide a brief, concise and realistic overview of the importance of NWFP of Uganda and prospects for further promotion and development.

The main topics to be investigated during this study reads as follows:

1. Brief definition as well as a classification of NWFP which are mainly used for subsistence as well as trade purposes i.e. locally, domestically and internationally.

2. Assessment of the importance of NWFP at the community, district and national levels.

3. Description of different institutional aspects in order to demonstrate the organizational responsibilities of NWFP, human resources involved, technical responsibilities of the appropriate organisation, sources of funds.

4. Identification of NWFP which have relevant role in local communities in terms of food security nutrition, health, job opportunities, income, cultural aspects, religious ceremonies, etc.

5. Technical description concerning cultural practices, harvesting, transportation processing, storage, marketing and trade of the most relevant NWFP.

6. Statistical data on NWFP.

7. Overview of the main problems and constraints which halt the promotion and further development of NWFP.

8. Formulation of recommendation which should be implemented in order to further promote NWFP.

Following the assignment an extensive study of literature and consultation with concerned people and institutions was carried out.

This report focuses on resource use and management issues related with plants, bee-keeping and honey collection, basketry, traditional medicines and traditional medical practioners and birth attendants, bamboos, natural gum and resins, forest birds, mammals new natural products with commercial potential, biological diversity in Uganda.

There are specialist user groups within rural communities surrounding the forests. They represent groups of resource users with a common interest and good knowledge of plant resources.

Many are already members of organizations established either on community initiative or through their interests of the community, Uganda government and international organisations.

Recommendations for forest products by specialist group within multiple-use were made with emphasis on:

- carrying out taxonomic studies, inventories and surveys of the Uganda's biological diversity in order to fill the gap in about it;

- involve the local people and their communities in all relevant aspects of biological diversity uses and conservation including use of indigenous knowledge, compensation and equitable share of the benefits;

- the development of sustainable and appropriate methods of techniques of land use and natural resource management;

- institutionalising biological diversity conservation through policy and legislation so that it is reflected in the national plans and their implementation in all relevant sectors;

- train and educate the nationals in the relevant subjects to create the necessary personnel e.g. taxonomists, ecologists, biochemists, environmental economists etc.;

- the equitable partnerships about an additional new category of plant resources is almost ideal, as they can be extracted with low impact and some which have potentially high commercial value e.g. chemical structures and genetic materials from the forest;

- the exploratory efforts of the natural products should be pursued by a partnership of developing and developed nations, in such a way that the benefits are shared in a fair measure to all participants.

1. Introduction

The pilot country report of the NON-WOOD FOREST PRODUCTS in Uganda is based on research carried out in Bwindi-Impenetrable National, the Rwenzori and Semliki Forest Reserves in Western Uganda which carry natural forests and were managed by the Forest Department until recently when Bwindi has been proclaimed a National Park (Figure 1).

The area is recognised internationally as a forest rich with flora and fauna peculiar to Africa. It is the highest biodiversity site in East Africa for birds plants butterflies and primate and contains half of the world's endangered mountain gorilla (Gorilla beringei) population.

The report also is based on multi disciplinary field mission and ethno-botanical and floristic research undertaken in Uganda in 1991. It was the second specific mission on the use of medicinal plants and other products of traditional african medicine.

A study also has been carried out on the edible plants of Uganda and the Natural Gum and Resins in Karamoja.

Finally the study took into consideration the report of preliminary survey of Uganda's biological based natural resources carried out by the National Biodiversity Unit of the Department of Environment Protection in October 1991 under the auspices of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).

Figure 1. Showing the locality of Bwindi-Impenetrable National Park, Rwenzori, Semliki, Uganda in relation to other forest in Uganda, showing the former extent of forest cover (from Howard, 1991).

The report concerns itself with some of the Non-Wood Forest Products (NWFP) including all biological material (other than industrial round wood and derived sawn timber, wood chips, wood based panels and pulp) that may be extracted from natural ecosystems, and be utilised in household be marketed or have social, cultural or religious significance. The main objective of the pilot country study is to provide the Commonwealth Science Council (CSC) and the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) a brief, concise and realistic overview of the importance of NWFP of Uganda and prospects for further promotion and development. The report will be utilized for the Africa Regional Expert Consultation on NWFP.

2. Edible plants in Uganda


2.1 Cultural aspects to some local plant species


The people use the leaves, stems, roots and fruits which are often eaten raw and a variety of mushrooms (Table 1).

Most rural people know local plant species of their areas but not always familiar with plants in other parts of the country. Local species are valuable in the diet especially where green leaves are required to provide adequate vitamin A or where protein supply is low.

In rural areas most people possesses land near their home, where they grow crops and keep a few animals. In general it is the women who look after the home gardens and it usually comprises food, crops, fruits and vegetables and possibly with a few medicinal plants or herbs.

Women are usually responsible for planting fruits and vegetables as part of domestic food production and for feeding the family with an adequate diet.

Vegetables are gathered randomly from either the bush or cultivated land nearby. In northern Uganda species of Hibiscus are grown this way whereas in the eastern and Buganda solanum species and Gynandropsis gyandra are commonly planted.

Many local plants have uses other than food. They may have medicinal properties or they may be used for production of homestead articles. Some leaves impart a mucilaginous consistency to the sauce, others, add a bitter flavour.

Several types of leaves and fruits are sun dried and stored for use in dry season. Children eat a variety of fruits on their way to school or herding livestocks supplementing the vitamin A intake needed for the bodies.

Vitamin B is abundant in tropical foods, in cereals, grains, leafy vegetables, fish, meat, milk and fruits.

Vitamin C is mainly got from vegetables and fruits. Green leaves are either steamed with the staple food, boiled and served on their own. In some cases green leaves are boiled and added to a sauce just before serving.

Purseglove (1943) described forty three herbs and plants with edible roots and seeds used as vegetables by Ugandans. He commented that while these plants may form part of the normal diet of the people, some are eaten only in time of food shortage.

Information about species of mushrooms is very little. Indigenous edible fruits are widely distributed in all regions of Uganda and constitute 37 families and 75 species.

TABLE 1. SOME EDIBLE PLANTS AND FRUITS EATEN IN UGANDA

Scientific name

Common name

Part used




VEGETABLES




Amaranthus dubius

Amaranthus spinach

Leaves

Phaseolus lunatus

Lima beans

Seed

Phaseolus vulgaris

French beans

Leaves and seed

Amaranthus lybridus

Amaranthus spinach

Leaves

Vigna unguiculata

Cow peas

Leaves

Gynandropsis gynandra

African spinderherb

Leaves

Lagenovia siceraria

Calabash gourd

Leaves

Solanum gito

Bitter berries

Leaves

Solanum nigrum


Leaves

Cucurbita maxima

Pumpkin

Leaves and fruit

Zingiiber officinalis

Ginger

Stem

Capsisum frutescens

Chillis

Fruit

Solanum indicum

Bitter berries

Fruit

Vigna unquiculata

Cow peas

Fruit

Colocasia schimperi

Cocoyam

Leaves

Oxytenanthera abyssinica

Bamboo shoots

Stem




FRUITS




Carica papaya

Pawpaw

Fruit

Psidium quajara

Guava

Fruit

Afromomum sanguineum

Ginger lily

Fruit

Musa spp

Sweet banana

Fruit

Saccharum officinarum

Sugar cane

Stem

Artocarpus integer

Jack fruit

Fruit

Citrus sinensis

Orange

Fruit

Mangifera indica

Mango

Fruit

Ananas comosus

Pineapple

Fruit

Citrus limon

Lemon

Fruit

Persea americana

Avocado pear

Fruit

Annona reticulata

Custard apple

Fruit

Citrus reticulata

Tangerine

Fruit

Canarium schweinfurtii

Incense tree

Fruit

Physalia peruviana

Cape gooseberry

Fruit

Citrus aurantiifolia

Lime

Fruit

Passiflora edulis

Passion fruit

Fruit




EDIBLE FUNGI




Lentinus proliferi

Fungus (whole)

Whole Fungi

Small white mushrooms


Whole Fungi

Fairy big white mushrooms


Whole Fungi

Very big brown and tall stem

Amakangago

Whole Fungi

Found in forest area


Whole Fungi

Medium dark cream cap


Whole Fungi

Fawnish cream


Whole Fungi




GRASSES EATEN




Dactylocterium aegyptium



Setaria pallidefussa



Sorghum verticilliflorum



Sorghum pellucidus



Sorghum panicoides



Table adapted from Goode P M FAO/42/1

People are conversant with a number of wild plants that can be eaten raw and cooked. Women use a variety of plants in preparing sauce for use with stable food. They know where to find the plants, when to collect them and how they are prepared.

2.1 Cultural aspects to some local plant species

(Goode 1989)

In many cases the vegetable plant is in some way connected with childbirth. There may be little on no truth in some of these stories but they illustrate that local plants found in the country feature considerably in the lives of the people.

2.1.1 The fatal "Bisunsa" incident (cucurbita maxima)

In Toro traditionally a woman should not eat "bisunsa" after giving birth because it may cause scouring "Biteera munda" in Rutoro.

2.1.2 Ekicuraganyi (Urtica massaica)

It is believed that women who are picking the young tender shoots and leaves of this plant remain very quiet except if greeted by someone passing by. If in the process of greeting the name of the plant is mentioned then the plant will never be cooked properly and the leaves will remain hard and tough.

2.1.3 Enderema (Basella alba)

In Buganda this vegetable is eaten by women because it is believed that any man who dares eat it will lose his sexual potential for ever. The superstition may have grown up because women wanted the vegetable for themselves. Some men will not even eat food cooked in the same pot as enderema.

2.1.4 Ensugga (Solanum nigrum)

The pregnant women are forbidden to eat "ensugga" because it is believed that to eat ensugga has an effect on unborn child. The effects reveals when the baby begins to crawl and it seems that, the child produces large quantities of saliva so that the baby's clothes are always wet.

2.1.5 Katunkuma (Solanum indicum)

This vegetable (katunkuma) is used by women after birth because they believe it increases milk production.

3. Bee-keeping and honey collection


3.1 Wild plants and bee-keeping
3.2 Sustainability bee-keeping and honey-hunting


Bee-keeping is an important seasonal activity in almost of all the parts of Uganda where traditionally bee hives are constructed either from timber, bamboo boruss palms or woven from forest climbers. Honey is usually taken from hives twice a year.

The most, favourite honey bees are Apis mellifera adansonii with two recognised varieties - the aggressive brown and darker. These tow produce honey. Six types of Trigonid bees are recognised all of which nest in the hollow of trees stems or branches.

3.1 Wild plants and bee-keeping

People have a good knowledge of bees, plants and hills favoured for bees hence placing of productive hives. Forest plants are an important source of nectar and pollen to bees and provide resin for Trigona bee hive construction. Forest tree species susceptible to heart-rot are important sites for wild bee nests (Cunningham 1992). The bee hunters know which plants have toxic pollen, producing honey causing diarrhoea, e.g. pollen from Lobelia gibberoa and forest climber Urera hippsellodendron.

Trigonid stingless bees are known to be pollinators of certain tree species. The knowledge about this aspect of tree biology has not been studied and unrecorded but is with honey-bee hunters.

There is also an observation of many bee-keepers in Bwindi forest, that where there are tea plantations near the forest, bee production drops. This is attributed by beekeepers to the insecticides used to spray the tea bushes. It needs further investigation (Cunningham 1992).

Bee hunters prefer placing of bee hives in forests compared to the open field because of three reasons. Hives hidden in forests are away from the smoke which is often made in the fields due to burning cleared vegetation. The hives are protected from wind in forest but, not, in the fields facilitating the bees to move from hive to hive. Hives in the forest are hidden away from scrupulous public who might either steal them or jealousy spoil them because of high productivity of certain hives. Hives kept, away from homestead prevents family members from being stung.

3.2 Sustainability bee-keeping and honey-hunting

It is noted that wooden hives from Faurea can last for over 20 years and those poorly protected from rain are said to last 5-8 years. Woven hives from bamboo, papyrus or some climbers if well constructed can last 5-6 years and 1-2 year when not protected from rain. (Cunningham 1992).

Large trees are felled to construct hives and some smaller trees also felled to clear each hive (Butynski 1984). These are concerns which must be studied.

Bee-keeping has two dangers in the forest. Fires started in the forest when bee-hunting causes runaway fires and felling of trees for construction of wooden hives. Mwesigye (1991) recorded 63 bee-keepers with a total of 469 hives around southern sector of Bwindi-Impenetrable National Park.

Large trees are felled (> 30 cm at DBH) for hive construction. The majority of hives (106) - 93.5%) were made) from Faurea saligna and the remainder (5) - 45% from Polyscias fulva wood.

4. Wild plants and basketry


4.1 Granaries
4.2 Sustainability: basketry resources


Baskets area household utensil in Uganda. They are used for harvesting, drying, winnowing, grinding and storing agricultural produce. Basketry combines traditional skills and local materials to produce a range woven baskets and mats used in homes.

Plant materials used vary from fast growing, productive wetland species (Cyprus papyrus to scarce, slow growing climbers that are found at low density in forest Loesneriella apocynoides (Table II).

Basketry techniques and plant materials are also used to weave granaries, fish traps, stools and tables. Skilled basket makers are relatively few in number.

TABLE II. MAIN PLANT MATERIAL USED FOR BASKETRY

Family

Plant species

Life form

Part used

Araceae

Raphia farinifera

palm

leaf

Araceae

Phoenix reclinata

palm

leaf, stem

Calastraceae

Cyperus papyrus

climbers

stem

Cyperaceae

Cyperus papyrus

edge

leaf cuticle

Plantaginaceae

Plantago palmata

herb

flower stalk

Source: Cunningham 1992

Types of baskets widely used are the flat, circular basket placed adjacent to the grinding stone to collect ground flour, the deep bowel-shaped millet basket, a larger and shallower bowl shaped basket for grain, larger basket or carrying head-loads of crops and the winnowing. Women make mats for sitting on or sleeping mats as well as for drying food stuffs (Figure 2).

There are baskets made for tea leaves collection, baskets for putting in dirty laundry and baby cots.

4.1 Granaries

Food security is a fundamental world problem today. Post-harvest losses of cereal crops is between 10-20% in developing countries (FAO 1981). These loses are attributed to insects, and fungi;

Granaries are the major means of storing crops in rural areas in Uganda. (Figure 3).

4.2 Sustainability: basketry resources

Basketry materials could be divided into five categories for resource management purposes.

- Species common in disturbed sites and old fields (Eleusine indica)

- Species found in wetland (Cyperus papyrus)

- Bamboo, climber and scandent scrub of disturbed scrub and forest, with (Smillax kraussiana, Arundinaria alpina) and the scandent shrub Grevia sp.

- Species restricted to moist, valleys and gulleys in the forest (Marantochloa leucantha, Raphia farinifera).

- Climbers found in older secondary forest and mature forest, (Loesnerialla apocynoides). The first two categories are common widespread and use would be sustainable.

5. Bamboo

Bamboo (Arundinaria alpina) is a widely used forest product to rural communities in Afro-montane forest in East African between 2400-3000 m.

In Uganda bamboo is cut in the Mt. Elgon, Rwenzori, Mgahinga, Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, and Echuya (Howard 1991).

Figure 2. Three types baskets commonly used in food processing :

1. Basin shaped basket for carrying and storing food.

2. The flat (Lugali) basket used to collect ground food and winnowing.

3. Basket for storing food and collect tea leaves.

Figure 3. Granaries ... :

A. Bamboo (Arundinaria alpina), thatched with sorghum stalks.

B. Elephant grass (Pennisetum purpureum), thatched with banana fibre.

C. The forest climber Loesneriella apocynoides (omijega), thatched with Imperata cylindrica (Bujengwe parish, adjacent to Kitaburira).

D. Papyrus (Cyperus papyrus) (with stored Irish potatoes).

Source: (Cunningham 1992)

Bamboo was one of the important "minor forest products" sold by the Forest Department in former Central and Local Forest Reserves (almost 500,000 bamboos annually) between 1961/62 -1963/64.

In 1961/62 - 515,000 bamboos were sold;
1962/63 - 450,000 bamboos were sold;
1963-64 - 459,882 bamboos were sold (Forest Department 1964).

Young bamboo culm provide A valuable material for basketry for commercial sale and home use. On Mt. Elgon bamboo shoots are eaten by people. Bamboos are also useful in house construction, making fences, granaries and baskets. In other parts it is used as firewood. Young shoots are also eaten by animals (mainly primates).

The previous system of selling licences to people as a means of controlling and monitoring the harvesting of forest produce (including bamboo) failed because of declining purchasing power of salaries, Forest Officers laxed their supervision and unofficial sale of forest produce to supplement income became the order of the day (Howard 1991). It would be important to avoid this problem by paying living wages to employees if sustained use of forest produce is to be implemented.

6. Traditional medicine and pharmacopoeia in Uganda

A multidisciplinary field mission and ethno-botanical and floristic research was undertaken in Uganda from 20th September to October 20th 1991, the area covered were Tororo, Lira, Bushenyi and Kabarole (represented the Uganda region Figure 4). It was the second specific mission on the use of medicinal plants and other products of traditional African and Research Commission of the Organization of African Unity (OAU/STRC). 302 species were identified and remarkably well drawn. The particular habitat of each medicinal plant is described as is its African or Tropical biogeographic distribution. Some of its medical uses are mentioned and a detailed account of phytontherapeutic uses. The number of diseases treated is 200; the therapeutic indications mentioned are covered by a total of 500 recipes and the data were gathered from 90 traditional healers and suppliers of information (Adjanohaun 1993).

Main diseases and the plants used to treat, them has been given. Certain number of diseases and symptoms have been grouped together as:

- Diseases and conditions according to the systems
- Infectious disease
- Parasitic diseases (not; of the digestive system)
- Specific diseases and conditions (miscellaneous)
- Specific symptoms not mentioned elsewhere
- Childhood disease and conditions
- Directions for medico-magical use

Figure 4. Map of Uganda showing places visited by the mission.

An overview of these recipes reveals certain pathological or symptomic tendencies primarily, female genital pathology, particularly the treatment of fertility and secondary sterility. The approach to various type of digestive, skin and nervous diseases are also dealt with.

Some recipes for rare cases are also dealt with such as asthma, epilepsy, parasitoses, childhood and eye disease, sexual asthenia in male, sickle cell anaemia, fractures, snake bites, anasarca, fever, headache, jaundice, asthenia malaise, functional psychosis etc. (Table III).

TABLE III. INDEX OF SOME OF MEDICINAL PLANTS COLLECTED INSIDE OR AT PERIFERRY OF FORESTS IN UGANDA (Adjjinohoun et al J.E 1993)

Species Names

Family

Location

Medical Use

Adenia rumicifolia

Passifloraceae

Forest edge

plant used to treat neuroticilla

Adhatoda engleriana

Acanthaceae

closed high Forest

Leaves treat abnormal pains

Alchornea corclifolia

Euphorbiaceae

Fringing forest

Root treats snake bite

Aristolochia elegans

Aristolochiaceae

Eucalyptus plantation

Root treats snake bite

Brillantaisia Kirungae

Acanthaceae

Forest edge

Leaves treats urethritis

Brillantaisia mahonii

Acanthaceae

Forest edge

Leaves treat psychotic excitement

Cardamine trichocarpa

Brassicaceae

In Forest

Tops treat Kwashiokor

Cardiospermum grandiflorum

Sapindaceae

Forest edge

Shoots treat fever

Chasmanthera dependent

Menispermaceae

Forest

Rhizome treat gonorrhoea

Chlorophytum sp.

Liliaceae

Forest edge

Tubercules treat infertility

Clerodendrum cordifolium

Verbenaceaae

Forest edge

Roots treat pelvic disease

Clerodendrum discolor

Verbenaceaae

Forest edge

Roots treat ulcers

Clerodendrum myricoides

Verbenaceaae

Forest edge

Leave treat dizziness

Clutraabyssinicca

Euphorbiaceae

Forest edge

Leaf treats shock

Coffea canephora Rubiaceae

Rubiaceae

In Forest

Leaf treats diarrhoe

Conbretum paniculatum

combretaceae

Forest edge

Leaf treats cough

Commelina benghalensis

Commelinaceae

In Forest

Root treats excitement

Crassocephalum mannic

Asteraceae

In Forest

Root treats polio

Cryptolepsis sanguinolenta

Asclepiadaceae

In Forest

Root treats malaria

Cyathula prostrata

Amaranthaceae

Forest edge

Whole plan treat leucorrhoe

Analysis of the table show the richness of Uganda forests with regard to medicinal plants. It also indicates that rural people who are far from medical services can be treated in a variety of diseases using medicinal plants.

The use of Rytigynia kigezinsis (Rubiaceae) bark to treat intestinal parasites (worms) in Bwindi is high. An examination of stool samples from 35 people 89% (31) were infested with round worm (Ascaris) and 34% (11) with whipworm (Trichuris) mematodes in addition to ten other types of intestinal parasites (Ashford et el, 1990). The bark is used by TMP's as a household remedy hence the local people look at it as a great saviour of their lives.

7. Traditional medical practioners (TMP's and Traditional Birth Attendants (TBA's) (Midwives)


7.1 Sustainability: Traditional medicines


No data is available on the ratio of TMP's or TBA's to total population in Uganda. No doubt there are more numerous TMP's and TBA's than medical doctors. A ratio of a medical doctor to total population 1:20,000 is cited from the Ministry of Health (M.O.H) (Kakuru 1991). Although clinics are mushrooming in the city, towns and counties these are difficult, to get to for many people and the exorbitant fee charged is prohibitive. In most cases drugs are non-existent.

Uganda government has recognised the need and services of the TMP's and TBA's. The government has registered members of TMP's and TBA's associations using cards connected with UNICEF. The government has undertaken a comprehensive long-term health development strategy in maternal and child health, primary health care, health strategy in diarrhoeal control, education network, and assistance of women needs.

Traditional medicinal plants are mainly gathered from the wild. Traditional birth attendants (TBA's or traditional midwives) play an important role in assisting home births in Uganda.

7.1 Sustainability: Traditional medicines

Forests outside Forest Reserves which were a source of traditional medicines in the past has been cleared for agriculture. With the low level of urbanisation in Uganda (6% of total population) there is a corresponding low level commercial trade in traditional medicines (IUCN 1991). In Owino market in Kampala only 10-12 men sell traditional medicines in small quantities (Cunningham 1992) (Figure 5).

Leaf material is the most common part of the plant used by TMP's, TBA's and cattle owners.

Data for medicinal plants gathered by TMP's in Bwindi are given leaves 38.9% [59 species], roots (21.7% [33 species] bark 29.6% [45 species] stems (1.3% [2 species) fruits 4.6% [7 species] whole plant 2.6% (4 species] flowers (1.3% [2 species] (Cunningham 1992).

The three most important categories of uses of medicinal plants by TBA's were for symbolic or magical purposes (as protective charms against bad omens to ensure safe journey or assist in love affairs and court cases) [22% [34 species] to assist women either prior to or shortly after child birth, preventing premature labour, assisting labour, removal of placenta, treat swollen breasts or improved lactation [18% (29 species)] treatment of internal parasites (de-worming) [7%, [11 species]. Although the data are incomplete, they show that of the plant, parts used, at least 62% (96) is leaf material, the majority from herbs growing outside the forest.

7.2 Dental care: chewing sticks

In many rural areas in African, traditional tooth brush or chewing sticks from thin branches or roots of local plants are in common use because tooth brush and tooth paste are expensive. Chewing sticks particularly those which have anti-bacterial properties is important as a primary health care.

8. Traditional Veterinary Medicines

Cattle has important economic and social significance in parts of Uganda e.g. Ankole and Karamoja. Veterinary medicines and formally trained veterinary doctors are scarce and expensive. Wild plants are commonly used to treat a wide variety of livestock diseases in cattle and goats. Over 20 different types of ailments affecting cattle are recognised. Leaf material forms the bulk of plant, parts used (64% (16). There is no commercial trade in plants for veterinary medicines.

More detailed work is required on traditional veterinary medicines before firm conclusion can be drawn on major ailments treated in livestock.

The most commonly used remedies are diarrhoea disease, swelling on the logs, ears or groins, mastitis and swelling of the udder.

9. Forest birds of Uganda

The Uganda Forests are recorded the richest areas in Africa for forest birds and this is due to a number of factors (Penford & Francis 1991).

The forests provide a great diversity of food and habitat for the birds. Many food resources are available at different levels throughout the forest.

- Swifts, swallows, rollers and bee-eaters are seen hawking through the air above the canopy catching insects, returning to the branches to eat them.

- Flowers in the canopy attract a number of sun birds with thin down curved beaks which reach into the flowers and reach nectar hence help to pollinate the flowers.

- Fruits in the canopy support birds such as pigeons, hornbills and the turacos. These birds help in seed dispersal in the forest.

- Forests provide other features necessary for bird community such as song perches from where birds can proclaim territory. Holes in trees are useful for hole nesting birds such as hornbills and dead trees support woodpeckers that depend on insects in dead wood.

- Greenballs, robins and thrushes live mainly in the shrub layer of the forest and are mainly insect enters.

- The forest floor with termites, fallen fruits and seeds, support ground living birds such as guinea fowl and francolins.

- Rivers and streams provide habitats for black duck and several species of king fisher.

- Birds of prey occur at, different levels in the forest. Sparrow hawks catch small birds at, the shrub layer while the crowned eagle catches monkeys at the canopy.

Eco-tourism is increasingly being based on bird watching and photographic safaris. Birds are beautiful and conspicuous creatures and many people find it interesting to learn their names and habits and this is the basis for ornithological safaris. Uganda has a great potential for this kind of tourism.

- Eight families, 345 genera and over 1000 species have been listed for Uganda.

10. Mammals

Mammals have attracted the attention of a variety of people ranging from the amateur naturalists to the professional zoologist. This has been to the large and conspicuous nature of some members of the group (Table IV).

In the early mid 1960s there were studies on elephants and other mammals. Later studies on large mammals continued such as those on the waterbuck, buffalo and the Uganda Kob.

According to the International Union for Conservation of nature (IUCN) there are currently five mammalian species on the "endangered" list in Uganda. These include the Mountain Gorilla - Gorilla beringei, Northern White Rhinoceros - Ceratotherisus semum cottoni, Black Rhinoceros - Diceros bicornis, African Wild Dog - Lycaon pictus, as well as Rwenzori Black fronted Duiker - Cephalophaus nigrifrons rubidus.

In addition to those there are three other species that are definitely extinct in Uganda. The Bongo - Tragelaphus cephalophus leucogaster is believed to have been present in forests of south western Uganda such as Semliki but has since been exterminated.

The Yellow backed Duiker - Cephalophus silvicultor and the mountain Red buck - Redunca fulvarufula are endangered. The former occurs in the forest of western Uganda and was originally common but illegal hunting has reduced the population. The creation of Mgahinga and Bwindi National Parks may perhaps allow the species to recover.

Eight species that occur in Uganda are designated as "vulnerable" by the IUCN. These, include five primates; the chimpanzee-Pan troglodytes, Crested Mangabey Cercocebus galeritus, L' Hoest's quenon - Cercopithecus l'hoestii, Owl faced quenon - Cercopithecus haralyni and the Red Colobus Procolubus badius.

The primate as well as mountain squirrel are threatened by forest destruction. Elephant numbers in Uganda declined due to unprecedented poaching during the 1970s but such poaching now appears to be on the wane. De Brazza's Monkey - Cercopithecus neglectus occurs in a few forest patches in the eastern and western Uganda which are under intense human pressure. If such habitats are lost to human beings, that will probably exterminate Cercopithecus neglectus.

The Black fronted Duicker - Cephalophus nigrifrona is a montane forest specie occurring in the Rwenzoris, Mt Elgon, Bufumbira volcanoes and Bwindi. Its population has declined markedly due to intense hunting pressure.

The conversion of Mgahinga, Bwindi and Rwenzori forest reserves to national parks status is likely to limit hunting and allow the population to recover.

Bates' pygmy Antelope is a very scarce antelope occurring in lowland rain forests of South western Uganda such as Maramagambo - Kalinzu, Kasyoha-Kitomi, Kibale and Semliki. There is need to survey these forest to establish the current status of this species.

There are several rodent species that are of conservation concern in the "indeterminate" category. The herbivorous, forest dwellings Otomys denti, the march dwelling Delanymys brooksi, the high altitude Praomys denniae and Thamnomys verustus as well as two relented wetland species, Pelomys hopkinea and Pelomys isseli.

The Mill rat Mytomys dybowskii is also in this category in addition to a montane species Rousetus lanosus (ternonycteria lanosus). There is little or no information on the population and in some cases precise habitat requirements for all of the "vulnerable" species. There is need for research in the ecology of all these species on a country wide basis.

With the recent proclamation of Bwindi forest as a National Park, the mountain gorilla peculiar to Uganda has started to attract many tourist hence boosting the foreign currency to the country.

TABLE IV: MAMMALS 0F UGANDA

Family

General

Species

Remarks

Tenrecidae

2

2


Chrysochloridae

1

1


Erinaceidae

1

1


Soricidae

5

32


Macroscelidae

2

4


Pteropodidae

10

12


Emballonuridae

2

5


Nycteridae

1

7


Megadermatidae

2

2

Insufficiently known

Rhinolophidae

1

10

Insufficiently known

Hipposideridae

2

6

Insufficiently known

Vespertilionidae

10

32

Insufficiently known

Molossidae

3

20

Insufficiently known

Galagidae

1

4

Insufficiently known

Lorisidae

1

1

Insufficiently known

Cercopithecidae

5

14

not known

Pongidae

2

2

Extinct, venerable

Leporidae

2

3


Sciuridae

4

10


Anomaluridae

2

4


Bathyergidae

l

1


Rhizomyidae

1

1


Cricetidae

11

17


Muridae

20

39


Muscardinidae

1

1

Insufficiently known

Histricidae

2

3

Insufficiently known

Thryonomyidae

1

2

Insufficiently known

Canidae

3

4

Not known, extinct, insufficiently known

Mustelidae

5

6

Insufficiently known

Viverridae

11

14

Rare

Hyaenidae

3

3

NT Insufficiently known

Felidae

3

7

Insufficiently known

Elephantidae

1

1


Equidae

1

1


Rhinocerotidae

2

2

Extinct

Hippopotamidae

1

1


Suidae

3

3

Insufficiently known

Tragulidae

1

1

Insufficiently known

Giraffidae

2

2

Extinct

Bovidae

17

31

Rare, Extinct

Procovidae

3

5

Insufficiently known

Manidae

1

3

Insufficiently known

Orycteropodidae

1

1

Insufficiently known

TOTAL

154

321


Source: Uganda Country Study on Costs, Benefits, and Unmet Needs of Biodiversity Conservation - January 1992

11. Natural gum and resins in Uganda


11.1 Physical and chemical properties of local gums
11.2 Market evaluation
11.3 Production of gum arabic


A research project funded by IDRC and implemented by Nakawa Forest Research Centre of the then Minister of Environment Protection looked into the possibilities of reviving gun arabic industry which had collapsed due to the civil unrest in the country.

The research also looked into the extent, type and quality of the gum resource and to evaluate the current utilization and market potential of the local gums. The project area was in Karamoja north-east of Uganda. The extent of this resource has largely been unknown (Kityo 1993). The utilization and marketing of gum arabic was embarked on in 1960s and showed some promise as an important export earner, source of rural employment and an alternative to costly import. The gum arabic industry was completely abandoned by the early 1980s.

The Forest Department has for sometime been developing the effective utilization of gum arabic for rural development in Karamoja region where it occurs naturally in dry sandy thorn scrub areas, valley depressions and rock hills. The species include Acacia senegal, Acacia seyal, Acacia polyacantha and Commiphora abyssinica etc. The actual extent, and composition of these species is little known nor the types, qualities of the exudate (Kityo 1993).

11.1 Physical and chemical properties of local gums

Gum arabic has a variety of uses which are in printing and book binding. Some potential users of the local gum are eminent, if the chemical properties, purity, viscosity, absorption and solubility are established.

11.2 Market evaluation

The Forest Department, organized the handling and marketing of gum arabic in late 1960 purposely to offset costly imports. Government departments, institutions and private industries which had depended on this gum arabic wound up due the civil strife while others resorted to using inferior gum and others imported it (Kityo 1993).

Now that there is peace in the country these industries are being revived and are keen to use local gum arabic (Table V).

It, is not known how much gum arabic can be produced in the country and where it can be utilised.

TABLE V: MAIN CONSUMER OF GUM ARABIC IN UGANDA IN 1970s.

Institution

Yearly consumption

Government Printer

1 - 2 tons

Mugonza & Co Ltd.

2 - 3 tons

Lands and Survey Dept.

0.2 tons

Kampala Textile Crafts School

0.1 tons

Associated Match Company

0.3 tons

Total

3.4 tons

Basing on the past, consumptions and population growth, the current, domestic requirements of gum is estimated to be between 5-8 metric tonnes annually. This is likely to increase with improved awareness of the potential users. (Kityo 1993)

11.3 Production of gum arabic

There is no tapping of trees for gum collection in Karamoja, all that is collected exudes naturally. The gum exudation process is not very clear since gummosis is known to follow bark damage by some kind of pathogen. There are variations on yield depending on tree, within the tree, area and season.

Information of yields in Uganda is still lacking. Gum collection is done once in an area with no follow up. Most, of the gum is collected by herdsmen who wonder about while grazing cattle. There is a general agreement that 200 gm may be collected from each tree every season (Kityo 1993). Assuming a stocking of 425 tree per ha, then between 85-127.5 kg gum arabic per ha could be collected (Table VI).

A man may collect, between 0.5 - 1.5 kg a day depending on the stocking of the area. Some gum is however, eaten by the herdsmen as they go along. Whatever remains is sold to the buyers - who is mainly the Forest Department. The cost of a kilogramme of gum arabic is paid USh. 300 = (June 1991 figures)

TABLE VI. GUM ARABIC PRODUCTION FROM KARAMOJA IN THE EARLY 1970s

Season

Quantities (in Kg)

1969/70

400

1970/71

986

1971/72

1936

1972/73

3970

1973/74

3952

1974/75

1084

1975/76


Source: Forest Department

The Forest Department in 1973/74 and 1974/75 collected 3953 and 1084 kgs respectively from an area four km apart in Bokoro County. There was a steady increase of the gum collected from 1969/70 up to 1973/74 which declined from 1974/75.

It is reported that collection of gum arabic was limited to Bokoro County because it WAS easily accessible by vehicles. It is therefore assumed that if all the productive areas in the region are involved an estimated amount of between 15-20,000 kg of gum arabic could be collected every season (Nov-March). This could increase with the improvement of stocking and tapping methods.

The cost, of´ collecting 1 kg of gum is UShs. 300= Hence cost of 1 ton of gum is USh. 300,000 = Basing on transportation costs a tonne FOB Kampala is 39,714 or US$ 377.

The present stocking is quite variable with some scattered stands of Acacia senegal often entangled with the other species, making gum tapping difficult. Most of the areas of high intensity are on public land.

12. New national products with commercial potential

Tropical forests are a source of potential medicines or other natural products or wild relatives of crops plants.

Conserving tropical forests for potential new natural products e.g. pharmaceutical drugs has had a wide publicity by international conservation agencies (Cunningham 1992).

There is also a need to conserve wild relatives of new crop plants. If these new products are discovered in an area they add to means of improving income to rural people living in or near forests as a means of earning income from forest without destroying it.

Bwindi impenetrable forest, contains a number of wild plants falling in this category (Cunningham 1992). For example Allanblackia kinbillensis seeds are potential source of fat which might be used in cosmetics. Allanblackia stuhimannii seeds contains an edible fat which is harvested and sold to Gapex (General Agricultural Products Export Company) by local people in Usambara mountains, Tanzania for extraction of fat (FAO 1983a).

Local people in Bwindi extract an oil from Carapa grandiflora seeds and use it, as a substitute for vaseline (Cunningham 1992) Myrianthus arboreus and Myrianthus holstii have high prospects as new crop plants and have been proposed for planting and fruit production (FAO 1983a).

Bwindi Impenetrable Forest contains many representative plant families of interest as potential sources of new drugs, such as the Rubiaceae and Apocynaceae both of which are rich in alkaloids. Edible fungi which may have potential for cultivation e.g. Lentinus prolifer exists.

Bwindi Impenetrable forest is a rich source of soil micro-organisms such as actinomycetes which are a source in new antibiotics.

Western Uganda is rich in plants with horticultural potential in the genus Impatiens.

Vigna luteolus (the cow pea relative) Coceinia mildbraeddii, (cucumber and pumpkin relatives) and coffee (wild coffee) have international interest for their value in breeding programmes for forage plants. Local farmers have a greater knowledge of these new natural products.

A mechanism is needed to link the recognition of the origin and value of these resources as one of the incentives for habitat conservation in developing countries, so that they are seen as a regional resources rather than global common property.

Those who benefit from biological resources should pay more of the costs of ensuring that such resources are used sustainably (Mac Neely et al, 1990).

Consideration should be taken to develop these products locally to a greater degree. Prices paid for raw materials at source are low, leading to a low returns to local harvesters and over-exploitation of medicinal plants in the wild.

The commercialization of new wild plant for new products (e.g. seeds, bark) and harvesting them on large scale can have major effect, on forest.

13. Biological diversity (biodiversity) in Uganda


13.1 Biodiversity conservation in Uganda


Biodiversity is a term used to describe the total variety of living organisms (plants, animals, fungi and microbes) that exist on this earth.

Biological diversity exists virtually everywhere in a wide range of habitats capable of supporting some form of life. Species diversity within habitats varies widely and correlates well with the annual rainfall, with wetter areas tending to be richer in species.

In Uganda the highest number of species identified are plants and the great proportion of these is found in forests.

Tropical deforestation is a continuing process. Rapid population growth both by natural increase as well as by immigration has resulted in broad-scale clearing and degradation of forest-. habitats causing species extinction (Etoori 1991).

In Uganda, the tropical high forest which used to cover 12.7% of total land in 1900 covered only 3.0% in 1987 (UNEP 1988). A major problem has been encroached in the gazetted forest reserves. Since then, this problem has been addressed to and some encouraging signs of regeneration can be seen in forests. However, the problem of rapid degradation of tree resources by pitsawyers and charcoal burners still exists and need further to he addressed.

13.1 Biodiversity conservation in Uganda

The recently revised Forest Policy (1988) has gone a long way to strengthen the conservation of biodiversity. The European Economic Community (EEC) financed Natural Forest Management, and Conservation Project is emphasizing on this aspect of forest management, and setting aside at least 20% of the reserved forest as strictly protected nature reserve and 30% as buffer zone.

Human activities have accelerated the rate of extinction of species to an alarming level, hence the need to strengthen conservation measures. Conservation here meaning both protection and management, for sustainable utilisation. If the current plans and policies are implemented the forest reserves will have significant improvement,. however areas outside protected areas (forest reserves) do need urgent. attention. Attention need to be given to how biodiversity consideration can be expanded within the overall context of national development.

Relevant areas would include:

- legislation both national and international;

- policy development that integrates biodiversity conservation with socio-economic needs and national development;

- improvement of the national capacity to conserve and manage biodiversity and the generation of greater public awareness and involvement.

14. Conclusion

Measures geared towards effective biological diversity conservation are either on going, planned or proposed are summarised as follows:

- carry out, a range of taxonomic studies, inventories and surveys in order to fill the gap in knowledge about Uganda's biological diversity. This should include studies on ecological status, functions and roles, and implication in the economic context;

- the design and implementation of national awareness campaigns to educate the public in order to install a sense of responsibility about biological diversity from the person to the national level evolving activities both the formal e.g. curriculum development and information levels e.g. mass media programmes and workshops etc.;

- the involvement of local people and their communities in all relevant aspects of biological diversity conservation including use of indigenous knowledge, compensation and equitable share of the benefits;

- training and education of nationals in the relevant but more specialized subjects in order to create the necessary personnel, e.g. taxonomists, ethno-botanists, biochemists, ecologists, environmental economists etc.

- the development of sustainable and appropriate methods of techniques of land use and natural resources management;

- institutionally biological diversity, conservation through policy and legislation so that it is reflected in national plans and their implementation in all relevant sectors.

15. Recommendations edible plants in Uganda


15.1 Edible plants in Uganda
15.2 Beekeeping and honey collection
15.3 Basketry and granaries
15.4 Bamboo
15.5 Medicinal plants
15.6 Birds
15.7 Mammals
15.8 Natural gum and resins
15.9 New natural products with commercial potential


15.1 Edible plants in Uganda

- There is need for seed collectors, production and storage in gene banks.

- To train breeders, taxonomists, agronomists and nutritionists in this regard.

- To popularize consumption through analysis of nutritional value and development recipes.

- There is no doubt that the indigenous vegetable and fruits will continue to gain in importance and value should thus be conserved.

15.2 Beekeeping and honey collection

- Training course on improved hive construction (such as the top-bar hive) should be mounted vigorously.

- Beekeepers should take responsibility for preventing fire occurring in the forests owing to their negligence.

- Involve as many local people in bee keeping activities because they are extremely knowledgeable about bees, and this will give successful beekeepers an opportunity to earn money from the sale of honey from the forest.

15.3 Basketry and granaries

- Skilled local people should be involved in teaching improved granary design to farmers.

- Research into major causes of stored crop losses and appropriate solution to the problem should be undertaken.

- Facilitate the commercial marketing of finally made baskets, and mats to improve local income either through export or to tourists.

- Organizations which use baskets in their production e.g. Uganda Tea Growers Corporation (UTGC) should establish nurseries for growing species which are important for basket weaving e.g. Phoenix reclinata.

- Government, should carry out, an inventory of the weaving material in the forest reserves so as to know the amount available in the country.

- Ecological research is needed on the biology of climbers and their biomass production and spacing in relation to canopy gap dynamics.

15.4 Bamboo

- Cultivation of bamboo should be considered as an important component of Agro-forestry programme.

- Research needs to be done to find out the biomass production and effects of harvesting on Arundinaria alpina.

- Research should be carried out on the population biology and gap dynamics of Arundinaria alpina with regard to resource use and maintenance of the vegetation type.

- Stock taking and mapping of available bamboo thicket need to be taken.

- How the bamboo is establish must be researched fire induced, elephant or canopy gaps.

15.5 Medicinal plants

- Planting of popular medicinal plants (trees and scrubs) should be included in the afforestation programmes.

- To produce scarce and popular medicinal plant species from cuttings for distribution at costs to herbalists and interested farmers.

- Investigations probably by medical schools, to find out, the efficacy of popular herbal remedies the desirability of producing medical plants of known taxicity.

15.6 Birds

- Monitoring of bird population as indicators of environmental change.

- Promotion of bird related tourism and promotion of sustainable utilization of e.g. the guinea fowl.

15.7 Mammals

- Research should be undertaken to determine the population and habit requirements for all "vulnerable" species of mammals.

- Research should be done into the ecology of all the species on a country wide basis.

- Ecological studies should be done to resolve the status of "not known" and "indeterminate" categories of mammals.

15.8 Natural gum and resins

- Forest Department should gazette some areas with high intensities of Acacia senegal.

- The government should solicit funds for development of gum industry in Uganda.

- The government, to create public awareness of the availability and utilisation of gum arabic in the country and encourage investments in its production by potential users.

- Training in gum production technique be instituted.

- Gum collection could help the idle Karamoja population and boost their financial out look and living standards. It would increase the country's export diversification.

15.9 New natural products with commercial potential

- Profits arising, if a new natural product is developed, to he returned to the region of that product (oil, resin, organic chemical genetic material).

- Prices for raw materials at source are low, lending to low returns to local harvesters and over-exploitation of medical plants in the wild.

- Steps should ho taken to cultivate the material in short supply in a region in order to offset the over exploitation of the wild stock.

- National infrastructure to develop these products locally need to be looked into.

- Assistance be provided to develop and strengthen local expertise in screening of extracts.

16. References

Adjanohoun J.F., Ahy M.R.A., Ake'Assil L., Acia A.M., Amai C.A., Gbile Z.O., Johnson C.L.A., Kakooko Z.O., Lutakome H.K., Morakinyo O., Mubiru N.K., Ogwal-Okeng, J.W. Sofowora, E.A. 1993. Traditional medicine and Pharmcopoeia - Contribution to Ethnobotanical and Floristic studies in Uganda unpublished.

Ashford R.W., Reid G.D.F. and Butynski T.M. 1990. The intestinal faunas of man and mountain gorillas in a shared habitat. Annals of Tropical Medicine and Parasitology.

Butynski T.M. 1984. Ecological survey of the Impenetrable (Bwindi) forest; Uganda and recommendations for its conservation and management. Unpublished report to the Uganda government.

Cunningham A.B., People and Plant use - unpublished report, prepared for Care - International, Kampala July 1992.

Etoori D.K. What is biodiversity? Nature Conservation in Tropical forests: Principles and practice - a paper delivered during the proceeding of symposium for district and Regional Forest Officers, Makerere University, Kampala, May 1991.

FAO 1983a. Food and fruit, bearing forest species examples from eastern Africa. Forestry Paper 44/1.

FAO 1981. Food loss prevention in perishable crops. FAO Agricultural services Bulletin 43, FAO, Rome.

Forest, Department,. 1964 Annual report of the Forest Department 1963/4. Uganda Government Printer, Entebbe.

Goode P.M. 1989. Edible plants of Uganda. The value of wild and cultivated plants as food. FAO Food and nutrition paper 42/1. FAO Rome.

Howard P.C. 1991. Nature Conservation in Uganda's Tropical Forest Reserves. IUCN, Gland, Switzerland.

IUCN 1991. Biodiversity in sub-saharan Africa and its islands. Occasional papers of the IUCN species survival Commission, no. 6 IUCN Switzerland.

Kakuru W. 1990. The potential of the Impenetrable (Bwindi) forest for medicinal plants BSc (Forestry) project, Makerere University, Kampala.

Kityo P.W. 1993. Natural gums and resins Uganda 3p-86-0239. Technical report 1st July 1987 - June 30, 1991, Nakawa Research Centre, Kampala.

Mwesigye V.M. 1991. Beekeeping in the Impenetrable forest unpublished field training report. Institute for Tropical forest conservation, Ruhija.

MacNeely, J.A. Miller, K. R. Reid, W.V. Mittermeier, R.A. and Werner T.B. 1990. Conserving the World's biological diversity. IUCN Gland.

Penford N. and Francis I. 1991. Forest Birds in Uganda a paper delivered to District and Regional Forest Officers, Makerere University, Kampala May 1991.


Previous Page Top of Page Next Page