Ed Wilson

wilson.JPGAs the WWF Regional Representative at the time that ITFC was established, I worked very closely with Professor Kayanja, Tom Butynski and Jonathan Baranga to develop the documentation and institutional arrangements to make ITFC a sustainable part of Uganda's conservation landscape. It is very satisfying to see that, despite all of the challenges we faced at the beginning, ITFC is thriving and making the contribution to tropical forest conservation that we envisioned. I am sure that no one needs to be reminded that it was primarily Dr. Butynski's vision that led Bwindi to become a centre of tropical forest conservation research rather than just a mountain gorilla conservation project.

In parallel with the establishment of ITFC, WWF was also working with the Government of Uganda to facilitate Bwindi's transition from a Forest Reserve to a National Park. As part of this process, WWF asked Dr. Alan Hamilton to carry-out an assessment of the views of the communities surrounding the Forest Reserve regarding its change of status to a National Park. One of the more interesting findings of Dr. Hamilton's assessment was that the Forest Department had been telling the communities around Bwindi that Uganda National Parks would introduce tigers if Bwindi became a National Park! This was just one of the many strategies that the Forest Department used in its efforts to retain control of Bwindi's valuable forest resources.

All of the photos I took at the time were housed at the photo library at the WWF Regional Office in Nairobi but I am sure that Dr. Butynski took much better ones which are hopefully still part of the ITFC photo library. I remember he had some very good ones of the construction of the various buildings that became the Institute's impressive physical assets.  

Ed Wilson is a Pulitzer Prize-winning Harvard  Professor and Curator of Entomology at the Museum of Comparative Zoology at Harvard University. Ed is one of today's finest scholars and naturalists, and he is one of the world's leading authorities on ants.