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Observations on the Ecology of the Budongo Rain Forest, Uganda

W. J. Eggeling
Journal of Ecology
Vol. 34, No. 1 (Feb., 1947), pp. 20-87
DOI: 10.2307/2256760
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2256760
Page Count: 71
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Observations on the Ecology of the Budongo Rain Forest, Uganda
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Abstract

1. The situation, geology and general climate of Budongo forest are described. The mean annual rainfall on the edge of the forest is about 1500 mm. (59 in.). 2. Brief mention is made of the main biotic factors affecting the area. Until recently man has had a negligible influence on the forest, but elephant and fire play a major part in controlling development. 3. The forest is comparatively young. Although it is spreading it is unable to colonize pure stands of elephant grass. 4. The least advanced type of closed forest at Budongo is Colonizing Forest, in which one associes and one consocies are recognized. Colonizing Forest is succeeded by Mixed Forest and Mixed Forest is succeeded by Ironwood Forest, which is the climatic climax. Swamp Forest is regarded as an edaphic climax. Both climates are consociations. 5. An account is given of the methods used to investigate the forest. Floristic composition was studied in eleven sample plots each 122 m. (400 ft.) square. Structure is illustrated by means of profile diagrams constructed from data from clear-felled plots. 6. Colonizing Forest is shown to be two-storied, Mixed Forest four-storied and Ironwood Forest three-storied. The stratification of Ironwood Forest and of Mixed Forest differ only in the fact that in Ironwood Forest the topmost (emergent) layer is composed almost entirely of the same tree (Cynometra alexandri C. H. Wright) which dominates the main canopy. In Mixed Forest the two top layers are composed of different species. 7. Shrub and herb strata are described. Climbers, epiphytes, parasites and saprophytes are discussed. 8. A description of the forest types is followed by a comparison of Budongo with other forests in Uganda and with rain forests elsewhere in the tropics. The climax type at Budongo is shown to have a close general similarity with consociations described from British Guiana, although fewer understory species are present.

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