The species biodiversity of the Albertine rift is unparalleled on the African continent (Eilu et al, 2004). It is also the most vertebrate species rich on the African continent (Plumptre 2003). The area has 14% of all African reptiles (175 species), 19% of Africa’s amphibians (119 species), 35% of Africa’s butterflies (1300 species), 52% of all African birds (1061 species), 39% of all African mammals (402 species of mammals), and about 128 species of fish (Greenwood, 1965). Plumptre et al., (2003) also noted that the Albertine Rift is the most important eco-region on continental Africa in terms of vertebrate species and species endemism. This species richness is important in the food chain and it contributes to tourism. A sample of this species richness is displayed in this biological resources layer.
All data that could be accessed and was collected in a scientifically acceptable manner has been used in this atlas. The variables used include large mammals, crocodiles, birds, plants and fish. Data on endemic and threatened species was incorporated. Data collected on the variables indicated above were combined to generate the biodiversity richness, species of special importance and overall biodiversity maps. It was desired that data from both protected areas and outside protected areas be used. However, to date, there is still limited scientific data on biological resources outside protected areas. Most of the data so far obtained is from protected areas. Data acquisition, therefore, needs to be carried out in the data-deficient areas so as to provide a complete picture of the species distribution in the Albertine graben. The protection status value of every protected area has been calculated. Whereas some protected areas may have one protection status e.g. Forest Reserves, others have several protection statuses. Details of the protection status ranking are described below.
Data collected on the variables indicated above were combined to generate the biodiversity richness, species of special importance and overall biodiversity maps.