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Editorial - Vernon Reynolds
Logging practices and Budongo's wildlife
- Andy Plumptre
Local uses of forest products - Kirsten
Chimpanzee parasites - Gladys Kalema
Ecology of Budongo's blue monkeys
- Chris Fairgreave
Chimpanzees coping with disabilities
- Duane Quiatt
by Vernon Reynolds
Welcome to Budongo Forest project, Vol. 1, No. 1!
It is a real pleasure to introduce this our first Newsletter. It makes
me feel quite nostalgic to read these accounts by our early pioneers. It
was Chris Bakuneeta wo found our research site at the old Sonso sawmill,
now more or less defunct. When he and I travelled to Budongo in 1990 we
stayed at Nyabyeya Forestry College, and we were there again in March 1991.
At that time we were exploring with Mr. Patel, owner of Budongo sawmills
Ltd, whether we could move into one of his wooden houses at Sonso. He agreed,
and Chris moved in. I first saw what is now 'House 1' on 15th July 1991.
Chris had also established an excellent trail system in the forest to the
north, east and west of the house. The project had taken off.
Bakuneeta, our first Ugandan co-director. He took on our first Field Assistants, Transect Cutters and domestic staff.
From 1990 to 1997 he studied the ecology of the Sonso chimpanzees,
comparing their use of logged and unlogged forest.
Andy Plumptre was with me on that day in July
1991, and when I left to return to England he stayed on. He didn't know
it but that house was to be his home for the next five years! I'm not sure
whether he ever made his bed in all that time. But one thing I am sure
of - he worked like a man possessed, both inside the forest and also in
the house, where he entered huge piles of checksheet data onto his laptop
computer. the results are still coming out.
Some of our first scientific visitors have written
brief accounts of their work here. More accounts will follow in later Newsletters.
I thought we'd start with the earlier people first, and move on to the
most recent ones as time goes by.
I want to take this opportunity to thank all
who have made the BFP possible, too many to mention by name. All will be
revealed in future issues! Our donors have been very generous - Jane Goodall
Institute who got us off the ground, the Boise Fund, the Rainforest Action
Fund, the National Geographic Society, the Overseas Development Administration,
USAID, and now as I write our core funding is coming from NORAD, the Norwegian
Aid Agency. To all our sincerest thanks.
If you were at Budongo, please write in. I wish
our chimps could write too. We'll feature them from time to time. This
Newsletter is intended for all with an interest in BFP. Our mailing list
is incomplete, so please let me know of people who might like to receive
a (paper) copy and we'll add them if they aren't on it. Write
to me, or our current expat co-director, Jeremy Lindsell.
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Logging practices and Budongo's
by Andy Plumptre
Andy Plumptre was expat
co-director of BFP from 1991-1997. Here he summarises the work he did at
Budongo. Andy now works for the Wildlife Conservation
Society in New York where he is in charge of their Africa programme.
The focus of my research at Budongo was to investigate
the effects of selective logging practices on forest structure and composition
and how this in turn affects the primate and bird communities. It is difficult
to summarise six years work into half a page so I will only briefly skim
over the topics covered here. Research on the primates involved surveys
of densities, group sizes and diets in eight areas of the forest (these
areas were selected to represent different recovery times since logging)
which has allowed an analysis of what factors are important in determining
primate densities in Budongo. For Cercopithecus mitis and C.
ascanius the availability of fleshy fruits is important in determining
the densities of these monkeys and Colobus guereza densities are
correlated with their most important food plant, Celtis durandii.
Additionally, 17 primate groups were habituated to gather more detailed
data on home range size, dietary intake, daily distance moved, and behavioural
activity in an unlogged, Cynometra dominated forest (compartment
N15) and around the field station which is mixed forest logged in about
1950 (compartment N3). The showed that home ranges were significantly smaller
in the logged forest and distances travelled were less. Predation by crowned
eagles appears to be higher in the unlogged forest.
At the same time as these studies phenology data
were collected in the eight study areas during 1993 and have been collected
in N15 and N3 since 1993 to the present date and are still ongoing. Data
on tree growth and mortality are being collected at the same time so that
an analysis of the effects of fruit production on growth can be analysed
in the future. Data analysed so far show that some trees, particularly
mahoganies, do not fruit until they reach large sizes (50cm diameter at
breast height) which has great implications for the sustainable harvesting
of these species if natural regeneration is relied upon to provide future
Studies of bird communities in five areas of the
forest were carried out by Isaiah Owiunji and myself and showed that frugivorous,
nectivorous, omnivorous and bark gleaning insectivorous birds are all more
abundant in logged forest. Leaf gleaning insectivores and sallying insectivorous
birds are at lower densities in logged forest. Sallying insectivores are
probably good indicators of disturbance to tropical forest as they seem
to decline where ever there is disturbance across the tropics.
In addition to the research I was involved in
and greatly enjoyed training MSc students from Makerere University. This
I feel is one of the most important areas where the Budongo Forest Project
can contribute to long term conservation in Uganda and I was very pleased
to see all of the MSc students to date have continued with employment in
protected area management or biological research.
There are many people who need to be thanked for
helping me with the research and establishment of BFP: Chris and Vernon
who set the place up and contributed greatly to its management whilst I
was there, the Forest Department and Game Department who allowed us to
do research, people at Makerere who were always supportive and particularly
all the field assistants who 'busted their butts' (got to get some yankee
lingo in here somewhere) to collect all the data and create such a great
working environment at Sonso.
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Local uses of Budongo's forest
by Kirsten Johnson
Kirsten Johnson was our
first research student. Her study was on the uses local people were making
of the non-timber forest products in Budongo. she found an ethnically diverse
population to be using the forest in very many ways. Her M.Sc. thesis remains
a landmark in the subject.
The field work for this project was carried out
in 1991 and was the first of its kind to be carried out amongst the population
of Nyabyeya parish situated close to the southern edge of the Budongo Forest.
Based at the site of the Budongo Forest Project, I visited villages daily
for a period of three months in order to conduct a semi-structured questionnaire
with the assistance of a translator/interpreter Kugonza Dissan. The research
established that a variety of medicinal, wood, and animal products were
regularly obtained from the forest. It also identified the presence of
settlers from a larger number of ethnic groups that had previously been
thought, as well as a pattern of forest product use which for some resources
was determined by group.
Of most importance to conservation was the identification
of primate hunting for meat, particularly amongst groups originating from
Zaire. Although the research has proved a valuable introduction to local
nature resource needs, the full cultural significance of local uses of
forest products required much longer-term anthropological research. Nevertheless,
the findings have been used regularly by other researchers and staff for
the planning of other projects and in researching the potential for long-term
conservation of biological diversity in the forest.
The research was written up for the degree of
M.Sc. by research at the Institute of Biological Anthropology, Oxford University,
and supervised by Prof. V. Reynolds. Results may also be found in three
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by Gladys Kalema
Gladys Kalema was our first Ugandan
research student. While studying for her veterinary degree in London she
came to Uganda to do her project on the faecal parasites of the Sonso chimp
In September 1992, I came to Budongo forest and
did a study on the intestinal helminth parasites of wild chimpanzees. The
chimpanzee was the first species for me to do a parasitological study on.
This study lasted 2 weeks and I was supervised by Prof. Vernon Reynolds,
director of the Budongo forest project and Dr. Mark Fox, lecturer of Parasitology
at the Royal Veterinary College. London University, where I was doing my
veterinary degree. I did the study between my second and third year of
the veterinary course.
My aim was to carry out a study of chimpanzees
for two weeks that would provide conclusive data. Examining intestinal
helminth parasites meant that I could collect enough data to at least find
out the type of parasites that are harboured by the chimpanzees of Budongo
forest. I also wanted to get additional information on the level of parasitic
infection of the chimpanzees, and factors which may influence the parasite
type and burden. The study was based at the research station at Sonso.
I was able to collect 33 samples in this short
period which was very good. I got plenty of support from a lot of people
which i am very grateful for, especially as this was my first time to work
in the field. I am very grateful to Dr. Appleby and Prof. Vernon Reynolds
who gave me the idea of studying parasites in chimpanzee dung. I was greatly
assisted by the field assistants, Kugonza Dissan and Tuka Zephyr who took
me into the forest to collect the dung each morning, and identified some
of the chimps for me so that I knew which chimp passed the particular dung.
Sometimes the field assistants would collect samples for me and I was also
assisted by Dr. Andy Plumptre who had collected and preserved come samples
from Kanyo-Pabidi area earlier on so that I could ass them to my sample
size for some comparison with Sonso where I got most of my samples. i did
not have a field microscope, but luckily Dr. Jake Reynolds lent me his
torch which acted as a light source. The microscope was then put on top
of an upside down soda crate, and the torch placed under-neath it so I
was able to see the parasite eggs. I also started off the study with no
devices to measure the size of parasite eggs which is very important for
identification, so Dr. Jake Reynolds obtained a stage micrometer for me
in Makerere university, which enabled me to identify to come up with some
conclusive evidence while in the field, on the exact type of eggs. Late
Dr. Peter miller helped me to identify some of the parasites as he had
some experience in it. Dr. Vernon Reynolds assisted greatly in writing
the scientific report especially as this was my first time to write a scientific
report. I was also fortunate to get as much literature as I could from
the late Dr. Berkeley Hastings, a contact given to me by Dr. Andy Plumptre.
I would have wanted to get more samples from the
Kanyo-Pabidi area to make a better comparison between Sonso and Kanyo-Pabidi.
Also the time that I was there was too short to pick up more varieties
of parasites. Consequently the study was continued in July 1996 by another
veterinary student, Michelle Barrows from Glasgow Vet School, and more
types of parasites eggs were found, so knowledge is being built up. I would
have wanted to get more data on Khaya bark, and whether it affected the
parasite burden of the chimpanzees, but was not able to because the sample
size was too small. However in this study I was pleased with the outcome
because I was able to come up with conclusive data by finding out the 2
most common parasites affecting the chimpanzees of Budongo forest, Oesophagostomum
sp. and Strongyloides fulleborni. I was able to learn something
about chimpanzee behaviour and ecology, which I will always treasure. All
this knowledge has come in very useful in my present job, in Uganda Wildlife
Authority, where I am responsible for the health of chimpanzees.
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The ecology of Budongo's
by Chris Fairgreve
Chris Fairgreve was our first
PhD student. He came to us from Edinburgh University, where his supervisor
was Elizabeth Rogers. He specialised in all-day follows of the monkeys,
going into the forest before daylight began and returning after it had
finished. He also set new standards of cuisine for the project.
I arrived in Budongo in early 1993, and found
the Budongo Forest Project already well established with a hardworking
staff and field assistants already trained. The work I had come to carry
out involved studying groups of blue monkeys (Cercopithecus mitis stuhmanni),
in areas of logged and unlogged forest, with a view to documenting differences
in ecology which might have resulted from the changes in vegetation associated
with logging in Budongo. It had already been observed that density of blue
monkeys was higher in areas of logged forest and in conducting a more detailed
study of their ecology it was hoped to establish which factors if any were
responsible for these differences in density. To help me in this task,
Muhumuza Geresomu was to work with me, and did so excellently throughout
the period of fieldwork, proving to be an invaluable help as well as a
good companion in the field.
The main part of my work was to make a comparison
of the feeding ecology and ranging patterns of four groups of blue monkeys,
two in an area of unlogged forest and two in an area logged in the 1950s.
In addition, patterns of fruit leaf and flower production were to be recorded
for an important subset of tree species which provided the main food items
for blue monkeys in the two areas. Finally, within the home ranges of two
groups (one in unlogged forest and one in logged forest) vegetation plots
were to be laid out and enumerated to provide data on the structure and
composition of the habitat and to investigate any differences which may
have been important in determining home range size and requirements.
Initial work involving habituation of the necessary
groups went well and data collection on the four study groups continued
for a period of twelve months. the recording of tree phenology was carried
out during the same period, and together with the data on tree species
abundance and diversity, this allowed estimates of food availability within
the ranges of the groups to be made. As had been suggested by the higher
density of blue monkeys in logged forest, the habitat appeared to be more
diverse with a higher production of blue monkey foods compared to unlogged
forest. Range sizes were consequently smaller and groups in logged forest
had a higher intake of fruit (probably their preferred food) compared to
groups in unlogged forest.
The evidence therefore suggested that logged forest
in Budongo was a more suitable habitat for blue monkeys. This was largely
due to the nature of unlogged forest, described as 'monodominant' and low
in species diversity, as well as the low intensity logging which was carefully
carried out in the 1950s. Logged forest subsequently regenerated well and
the resulting forest type was more suitable for an omnivorous primate like
the blue monkey.
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Chimpanzees coping with disabilities
by Duane Quiatt
Duane Quiatt was our first research
visitor of full professional status, thus adding a new level of dignity
to the Project. A well known anthropologist, he initiated studies of injuries
on our Sonso chimps, which were later followed up by John Waller. Among
other achievements he made Vernon feel younger than someone else on the
I worked at the BFP in 1993, 1994 and 1995 for
periods ranging from 10 to 15 weeks. My main concern was with disabled
chimpanzees of the Sonso Community, more specifically with motor deficiencies
that in practically all instances have resulted from encounters with snares,
examining the extent to which locomotor and feeding behaviour is impaired
by injuries of various character, differences in the way that individuals
cope with their particular handicap, and differences in the degree and
character of social integration of disabled vs. able chimpanzees. Preliminary
results were reported to the IPS Congress in 1994, co-authored with Vernon
Reynolds and in press, still, as of March 1998. We are currently preparing
a more comprehensive and multi-authored report on snare injuries to chimpanzees
with resultant disability.
I have also been interested in leaf sponging and
in the instrumental use of leaves in other connections. Zephyr and I reported
the first observation of leaf sponging by a Sonso chimpanzee in 1993. In
1996, with the help of other research assistants, we began to compile on
a regular basis observations of leaf use. This work continues. I don't
know when I will be able to make another visit to the BFP - the sooner
the better, of course. I have not worked with any of the project's field
assistants, but I owe particular thanks to Zephyr for helping in learning
to recognise individual chimpanzees (and in learning much else). to Tinka
John for identification of plant species, to Muhumuza Geresomu for certain
procedural observations when we were both watching chimpanzees in 1994,
to Joy and Richard for more or less continual assistance out of the forest,
and to everyone and most particularly the trail crew for fellowship on
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© 1999 - 2006. The Budongo Forest Project