Established in 1991, the Institute of Tropical Forest Conservation (ITFC) is a post-graduate research institute of Mbarara University of Science and Technology (MUST). ITFC is located on the edge of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park (BINP or ‘Bwindi’ for short), a UNESCO World Heritage site in South West Uganda. This area has numerous endemic species and half the world’s mountain gorillas (Gorilla gorilla berengei) which have attracted a valuable tourist trade trough gorilla trekking and other related activities. The wider region is poor and densely populated (about 500 people/km2) with people mainly dependent on subsistence agriculture. Forest cover stops abruptly at the park boundary.
Our mission is to support and undertake research, monitoring and capacity development; to bolster conservation understanding and practice in the region.
We have a track record of providing management support and guidance, as well as of capacity building, in Uganda. ITFC has carried out, often with partners, a range of biological and socio?economic research and monitoring, aimed at addressing the key conservation challenges in the region. ITFC works closely with the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA), theNational Forest Authority?(NFA) and other conservation partners working in the region to ensure that results and recommendations are translated into management decisions and actions.?
We welcome not only researchers and students but all visitors to the forest and its rich wildlife. Our education centre and other facilities are available for hire to researchers and environmental education organisations—offering an ideal venue for workshops and outdoor education projects.
More than 60 post-graduate students have studied at ITFC and are now amongst Uganda’s leading conservationists and scholars. Researchers from around the world are attracted by ITFC’s reputation as a centre pursuing globally important issues in a unique setting and with impressive facilities, including offices, library, internet access, herbarium, laboratory and accommodation.
Although our activities cover numerous forests and protected areas and sorrounding areas from the entire region, we have mainly been focusing on Bwindi, Mgahinga Gorilla National Park, and Echuya Central Forest Reserve. We are currently running studies in Queen Elizabeth National Park, Rwenzori Mountains, Semuliki, Murchison Falls, and Mount Elgon.
ITFC is a conducive place for research, due to its location and long term presence. We have been hosting organizations like the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology since 1998, TEAM Network: Tropical Ecology Assessment & Monitoring (since 2009) and the Rare Finch Conservation Group search for Shelley’s Crimsonwing, just to mention but a few.
ITFC is supported by several sponsors and partners but long-term financial security is a challenge. Continuing support is required.
In the USA, tax-deductible donations to support ITFC can be sent to:
The Africa Program
Wildlife Conservation Society
2300 Southern Boulevard
Bronx, NY 10460, USA