Biodiversity and Conservation

, Volume 16, Issue 6, pp 1901–1915 | Cite as

The uses, local perceptions and ecological status of 16 woody species of Gadumire Sub-county, Uganda

Original Paper


Populations of naturally growing woody species valued for their contribution to human livelihoods are threatened with extinction. Most at risk are those existing in human inhabited areas outside protected areas that are subjected to high population pressure and to a variety of land use demands. The sustainable utilization of these plants requires as a first step knowledge, including, their ecology and an understanding of the peoples attitudes to conservation. This study was conducted to generate data that would contribute to the management for conservation and sustainable use of woody resources. The study objectives were to document local knowledge covering the uses, status, threats, habitats and management solutions of woody species; determine the abundances, distribution and population structure of 16 woody species, and assess the conservation status of the selected woody species. The study was carried out in Gadumire Sub-county, Uganda using both an ethnobotanical approach and quantitative ecological methods. The species are multipurpose and are exploited to satisfy different subsistence needs. They had population densities ranging between 3.6 and 2630 individuals ha−1, and distributions ranging between 0.3 and 39.5%. The species Acacia hockii, Albizia zygia, Acacia seyal, Markhamia lutea and Albizia coriaria had a good conservation status. The remainder of the species appear threatened either because they had low densities, frequencies or less steep size class distribution (SCD) slopes. Securidaca longipedunculata Fres. was not encountered at all in the study plots. Community perceptions collaborated the measured population dynamics. The major threats believed to be impacting the species by the community are the growing human population, expanding crop agriculture, poor harvesting methods and over-exploitation of the species.


Ethnobotany Harvesting patterns Population structure Savanna woodland 



Permission to carry out this research was granted by the Uganda National Council for Science and Technology (Research No. EC 606). Funding for the study was provided by NORAD. The community of Gadumire Sub-county is acknowledged for collaborating on this study. The following people A-M. Lykke, J.M. Kasenene, P. Mucunguzi, J. Kalema, H. Tushabe and two anonymous referees are thanked for their comments on different aspects of the research. P. Sebulime assisted with field work.


  1. Aumeeruddy Y (1994) Local representations and management of agroforests on the periphery of Kerinci Seblat National Park, Sumatra, Indonesia, People and plants working paper 3. Paris, UNESCOGoogle Scholar
  2. Condit R, Sukumar R, Hubbell SP, Foster RB (1998) Predicting population trends from size distributions: a direct test in a tropical tree community. Am Nat 152:495–509CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  3. Cunningham AB (1993) African medicinal plants: setting priorities at the interface between conservation and primary health care. People and plants working paper 1. Paris, UNESCOGoogle Scholar
  4. Cunningham AB (2001) Applied ethnobotany: people, wild plant use & conservation. People and plants conservation manual. Earthscan Publications Ltd., LondonGoogle Scholar
  5. Dalle SP, López H, Díaz D, Legendre P, Potvin C (2002) Spatial distribution and habitats of useful plants: an initial assessment for conservation on an indigenous territory, Panama. Biodivers Conserv 11:637-667CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Department of Land and Survey (1962) Atlas of Uganda. Department of Land and Survey, Uganda, Entebbe, pp 22–23Google Scholar
  7. Forest Department (1997) The National Biomass Study. Land Cover Stratification map, Bulamogi County. Forest Department, Uganda, KampalaGoogle Scholar
  8. Government of Uganda (1963) Map Series Y732: Sheets 52/4, 53/3. Scale 1:50 000 edn. I-DOS. Directorate of Overseas Survey for Uganda Government, EntebbeGoogle Scholar
  9. Hall P, Bawa K (1993) Methods to assess the impact of extraction of non-timber tropical forest products on plant populations. Econ Bot 47:234–247Google Scholar
  10. Jongman RHG, ter Braak CJF, van Tongeren OFR (eds) (1995) Data analysis in community and landscape ecology. Cambridge University Press, UK, p 137Google Scholar
  11. Kaimowitz D, Mertens B, Wunder S, Pacheco P (2004) Hamburger connection fuels Amazon destruction: Cattle ranching and deforestation in Brazil’s Amazon. Bogor, CIFORGoogle Scholar
  12. Konstant TL, Sullivan S, Cunningham AB (1995) The effects of utilization by people and livestock on Hyphaene petersiana (Arecaceae) basketry resources in the palm savanna of North-Central Namibia. Econ Bot 49:345–356Google Scholar
  13. Langdale-Brown I, Osmaston HA, Wilson JG (1964) The vegetation of Uganda and its bearing on land-use. Uganda Government, KampalaGoogle Scholar
  14. Lykke AM (1998) Assessment of species composition change in savanna vegetation by means of woody plants’ size class distributions and local information. Biodivers Conserv 7:1261–1275CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. National Environment Management Authority (2002) State of the environment report for Uganda 2002. National Environment Management Authority, KampalaGoogle Scholar
  16. Obiri J, Lawes M, Mukolwe M (2002) The dynamics and sustainable use of high-value tree species of the coastal Pondoland forests of the Eastern Cape Province, South Africa. For Ecol Manage 166:131–148CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Ollier CD, Harrop JF (1959) The soils of the Eastern Province of Uganda: a reconnaissance survey, memoirs of the research division, series I: soils, number 2. Department of Agriculture, Kawanda Research Station, KampalaGoogle Scholar
  18. Peters CM (1999) Ecological research for sustainable non-wood forest product exploitation: an overview. In: Sunderland TCH, Clark LE, Vantomme P (eds) Non-wood forest products of central africa: current research issues and prospects for conservation and development. Food and Agriculture Organization, Rome, pp 19–35Google Scholar
  19. Primack RB (1998) Essentails of conservation biology, 2nd edn. Sinauer Associates Inc., Massachusets USAGoogle Scholar
  20. Rosa EA, York R, Dietz T (2004) Tracking the anthropogenic drivers of ecological impacts. Ambio 33(8):509–512PubMedGoogle Scholar
  21. Schippmann U, Leaman DJ, Cunningham AB (2002) Impact of cultivation and gathering of medicinal plants on biodiversity: global trends and issues. In biodiversity and the ecosystem approach in agriculture, forestry and fisheries: satellite event on the occasion of the ninth regular session of the commission on genetic resources for food and agriculture. Rome, 12–13 October 2002, FAO, RomeGoogle Scholar
  22. Shackleton SE, Dzerefos CM, Shackleton CM, Mathabela FR (1998) Use and trading of wild edible herbs in the central Lowveld Savanna region, South Africa. Econ Bot 52:251–259Google Scholar
  23. Tabuti JRS, Dhillion SS, Lye KA (2003a) Ethnoveterinary medicines for cattle (Bos indicus) in Bulamogi county, Uganda: plant species and mode of use. J Ethnopharmacol 88:279–286CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Tabuti JRS, Dhillion SS, Lye KA (2003b) Fuelwood use in Bulamogi County, Uganda: species harvested and consumption patterns. Biomass Bioenerg 25:581–596CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Tabuti JRS, Dhillion SS, Lye KA (2004) The status of wild food plants in Bulamogi County, Uganda. Int J Food Sci Nutr 55:485–498CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  26. Tabuti JRS, Lye KA, Dhillion SS (2003c) Traditional herbal drugs of Bulamogi, Uganda: plants, use and administration. J Ethnopharmacol 88:19–44CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Ticktin T (2004) The ecological implications of non-timber forest products. J Appl Ecol 41:11–21CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Twine WC (2005) Socio-economic transitions influence vegetation change in the communal rangelands of the South African lowveld. Afr J Range For Sci 22:93–99Google Scholar
  29. Uganda Bureau of Statistics (2005) The 2002 Uganda population and housing census—main report. UBoS, KampalaGoogle Scholar
  30. Uganda Participatory Poverty Assessment Process (2002) Deepening the understanding of poverty: second participatory poverty assessment report. Ministry of Finance Planning and Economic Development, KampalaGoogle Scholar
  31. Walter S (2001) Non-wood forest products in Africa: A regional and national overview. FAOGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of BotanyMakerere UniversityKampalaUganda

Personalised recommendations