Queen Elizabeth National Park, Kyambura Wildlife Reserve and Kigezi Wildlife Reserve form the Queen Elizabeth Protected Area (QEPA) and lie within the Albertine Graben, which is a species-rich region in Uganda. QEPA provides a number of benefits to the people both within and outside the country. Tourism in the Protected Area (PA) has been improving over the last 10 years with over 35,000 visitors visiting the park every year. Like any other PA in Uganda, the park faces development challenges including inter alia, petroleum, mining, hydropower plants, roads, and electricity transmission lines. These developments have the potential to result in negative impacts that could compromise the ecological integrity of the PA. Petroleum exploration activities currently taking place in the Albertine Graben have also been carried out in the PA (Ngaji Exploration Block). With the country now moving towards production, the PA may face even more challenges.
This Environmental Sensitivity Atlas has been prepared to provide environmental planners with a tool to identify the most at-risk sensitive areas, establish protection priorities, and identify timely and appropriate response and cleanup strategies. The atlas provides information on various animal species, specifying their distribution, breeding information, and critical habitats. It also analyses sensitivities considering the physical, biological and socio-economic issues, and provides a map layer showing sensitive areas. This information will guide developers, licensees, managers and regulators on infrastructure and other facility locations during the implementation of various projects.
This tool has been prepared through a consultative process involving a number of stakeholders, and as such, it incorporates different aspects, i.e. biological, physical and socio-economic environments. Identifying with a wide range of sectors makes this tool particularly useful.
It is my sincere hope that this atlas will be put to use by all stakeholders to ensure that the various developments are implemented without negatively impacting the integrity of the PA. I am sure that when properly used, it will contribute to the protection of the PA.
I therefore entrust the Conservation Area Manager of QECA with this atlas, but also urge its use by all stakeholders to ensure that this atlas is used effectively during all decision-making relating to developments in and around the PA.
Dr. Andrew G. Seguya
UGANDA WILDLIFE AUTHORITY