Mount Kadam

Kadama (local), Mount Debasien (colonial)

UGATIPA19
Mount Kadam

Country: Uganda

Administrative region: Northern (Region)

Central co-ordinates: 1.78245 N, 34.72954 E

Area: 221km²

Qualifying IPA Criteria

A(i)Site contains one or more globally threatened species, C(iii)Site contains nationally threatened or restricted habitat or vegetation types, AND/OR habitats that have severely declined in extent nationally

IPA assessment rationale

Mount Kadam qualifies as an IPA under sub-criterion A(i) due to the presence of three globally threatened taxa, one Endangered and four Vulnerable. In addition, A(iii) is triggered by two highly range restricted species, Crotalaria macarantha, which is endemic to Mount Kadam and Bothriocline congesta, known only from this site and the Mount Kinyeti in the South Sudanese Imatong Mountains; both are currently assessed as Data Deficient on the Red List. As this site has received little survey effort so far, further collecting would likely yield more species of conservation importance. Finally, this IPA also triggers sub-criterion C(iii), encompassing significant areas of a nationally threatened habitat, Afromontane undifferentiated forest, as the best site nationally for this Vulnerable habitat.

Site description

Mount Kadam (formerly known as Mount Debasien) is located in Nakapiripirit district, immediately south of Nakapiripirit town in southern Karamoja. Located 30 km north of Mount Elgon and 55 km south of Mount Moroto, this Miocene volcano and is the second highest in Karamoja, with the Libo (or Kaiko) peak reaching 3063 m (Clark 1969). The boundary of this IPA follows that of Kadam Central Forest Reserve. The site is not well collected but, from the few collections that exist, there are a number of range restricted plant species known from this mountain. This site also has the largest area nationally of Juniperus-Podocarpus forest which is limited to the drier montane slopes in the north and east of Uganda and threatened by encroachment at several sites.

Botanical significance

There has been little botanical survey effort on Mount Kadam. However, there are a small number of species that are of conservation significance. Crotalaria macrantha is endemic to this mountain and is only known from its type specimen collected in 1959 (J. Wilson #777). As so little is known about this species it has been assessed as Data Deficient on the IUCN Red List meaning it is unclear whether it is at risk of extinction. Although it is likely that this species is still extant as there is intact habitat at this site, urgent survey work is needed to understand the size of the population and whether this species is currently threatened by any of the anthropogenic activities known to occur on Mount Kadam.
A second highly range restricted species, Bothriocline congesta is known only from this site and Mount Kinyeti in the Imatong Mountains of South Sudan. This species was collected in 1936 near the peak of the mountain and is likely protected from threats such as burning which occur at lower altitudes (IUCN SSC East African Plants Red List Authority 2013). However, further research is needed to establish if this species is threatened with extinction and requires conservation efforts to prevent such an outcome, and so this species is also currently assessed as Data Deficient.
Three Aloe species known from this site are of conservation interest. A. cheranganiensis is endemic to Karamoja and adjacent West Pokot County in Kenya while A. wilsonii has a similar distribution but is also found on Mount Elgon. The latter species is assessed as Vulnerable to extinction as there are potential threats of habitat loss within its range (Baldwin et al. 2022), whilst A. cheranganiensis is considered to be of Least Concern. A third Aloe species, A. tweediae, has been observed to be threatened throughout the Karamoja region, possibly through over-harvesting of plants for extraction of sap (T. Cole, pers. comm. 2024).
One of the other threatened taxa known from this site is Abutilon eggelingii, an Endangered species known only from this site and another collection close to Agaro town in Ethiopia. The latter site is heavily exposed to agriculture and the expansion of townships nearby and, as the only protected area from which this species is known, Mount Kadam is central to preventing the extinction of this species (Rotton; in press). Tricalysia bagshawei subsp. bagshawei, a Ugandan endemic species, is contrastingly found in montane sites of Karamoja as well as forests around Lake Victoria and Murchison Falls, but has also been found to be threatened with extinction. Many of the forest sites around Lake Victoria are threatened by habitat loss and, as such, this species has been assessed as Vulnerable. Similarly, Dicliptera nilotica and Euphorbia magnicapsula var. lacertosa are two taxa also assessed as Vulnerable due to the habitat conversion linked with agricultural expansions in particular (Amani et al. 2022; Luke et al. 2015).
Further botanical collecting is needed at this site, as it has so far received little survey effort. Given the number of threatened and rare species known from very few collecting trips, further research would likely produce more records of threatened and rare species.
Alongside species of conservation importance, the site is estimated to host the largest extent of the nationally Vulnerable Juniperus-Podocarpus forest in Uganda. This habitat type, also referred to as Afromontane undifferentiated forest, is restricted to drier montane slopes in the northeast and east of Uganda and has shown significant historical declines in northern Karamoja. As the largest site nationally for this threatened forest type, it is important that current threats to this habitat (see Conservation Issues) be reduced in order to conserve what remains of this much reduced habitat.

Habitat and geology

Mount Kadam was designated a Central Forest Reserve in 1940 primarily to conserve the valuable timber trees Juniperus procera and Afrocarpus gracilior (Eilu 2014). The reserve is neighboured by Pian Upe Wildlife at its southern boundary and Amudat Community Wildlife Management Area encircles the eastern half. Kadam is one of nine reserves forming a continuous conservation corridor that spans arounds 300 km in length in southern Karamoja, arcing from north of Mount Elgon to Matheniko Wildlife Reserve.
The site faces numerous threats including charcoal burning and extraction of timber. In addition, Khat (Catha edulis) extraction, the leaves of which are chewed in eastern Africa as a stimulant, is associated with establishment of temporary shelters and clearing of associated vegetation. Harvesting is thought to lead to tree mortality for the khat trees themselves through harsh cutting of branches (Eilu 2014). It is also likely that Afrocarpus trees are still being targeted within the reserve, for timber or for bark cloth which, if too much is removed, will lead to tree death (Eilu 2014).
Another major threat to the site is agriculture, with significant encroachment south of Nakapiripirit. It may well be more beneficial to degazette some of the plains surrounding the mountain to refocus conservation efforts on the more intact areas of vegetation. However, there are some settlements within the mountains, with evidence of tree cover loss, in the east of the site (Google Earth 2023; World Resources Institute 2023). These may well be pastoralist communities, which are known from other mountains in the area such as Mount Moroto. Burning, associated with promoting fresh pasture, is likely to occur at the site.
The loss of tree cover on the slopes of Mount Moroto is thought to have caused increased runoff from the mountain, increasing flooding in Nakapiripirit town at the base of the mountain and leading to outbreaks of waterborne diseases (Eilu 2014).
In addition, mining of marble has been reported from this IPA (CUPTD Workshop 2023). The entire Karamoja sub-region is mineral-rich and mining has led to habitat clearance elsewhere and has threatened species with extinction (Rotton, in prep.; Vos 2016). Although mining at this site is likely very small-scale, as it is not clearly visible from satellite imagery as it is on Mount Moroto, there may well be expansion in the future dependent on the amount of resource and socio-economic circumstances.
Despite various threats, the site is in receipt of conservation action through the Kara-Tunga Foundation in partnership with the World Land Trust. The programme involves the purchase of a 5 ha core conservation zone on the reserve boundary, with 3 ha of this hosting ecotourism activities and acting as a hub for coordinating agroforestry and conservation efforts, such as tree planting. Such tree planting will occur within a 2,500 ha community-owned buffer zone surrounding this core zone. In addition, a 1,500 ha area within the CFR will be managed by KTF for reforestation, ecotourism and other conservation activities (World Land Trust 2023).

Conservation issues

Mount Kadam was designated a Central Forest Reserve in 1940 primarily to conserve the valuable timber trees Juniperus procera and Afrocarpus gracilior (Eilu 2014). The reserve is neighboured by Pian Upe Wildlife at its southern boundary and Amudat Community Wildlife Management Area encircles the eastern half. Kadam is one of nine reserves forming a continuous conservation corridor that spans arounds 300 km in length in southern Karamoja, arcing from north of Mount Elgon to Matheniko Wildlife Reserve.
The site faces numerous threats including charcoal burning and extraction of timber. In addition, Khat (Catha edulis) extraction, the leaves of which are chewed in eastern Africa as a stimulant, is associated with establishment of temporary shelters and clearing of associated vegetation. Harvesting is thought to lead to tree mortality for the khat trees themselves through harsh cutting of branches (Eilu 2014). It is also likely that Afrocarpus trees are still being targeted within the reserve, for timber or for bark cloth which, if too much is removed, will lead to tree death (Eilu 2014).
Another major threat to the site is agriculture, with significant encroachment south of Nakapiripirit. It may well be more beneficial to degazette some of the plains surrounding the mountain to refocus conservation efforts on the more intact areas of vegetation. However, there are some settlements within the mountains, with evidence of tree cover loss, in the east of the site (Google Earth 2023; World Resources Institute 2023). These may well be pastoralist communities, which are known from other mountains in the area such as Mount Moroto. Burning, associated with promoting fresh pasture, is likely to occur at the site.
The loss of tree cover on the slopes of Mount Moroto is thought to have caused increased runoff from the mountain, increasing flooding in Nakapiripirit town at the base of the mountain and leading to outbreaks of waterborne diseases (Eilu 2014).
In addition, mining of marble has been reported from this IPA (CUPTD Workshop 2023). The entire Karamoja sub-region is mineral-rich and mining has led to habitat clearance elsewhere and has threatened species with extinction (Rotton, in prep.; Vos 2016). Although mining at this site is likely very small-scale, as it is not clearly visible from satellite imagery as it is on Mount Moroto, there may well be expansion in the future dependent on the amount of resource and socio-economic circumstances.
Despite various threats, the site is in receipt of conservation action through the Kara-Tunga Foundation in partnership with the World Land Trust. The programme involves the purchase of a 5 ha core conservation zone on the reserve boundary, with 3 ha of this hosting ecotourism activities and acting as a hub for coordinating agroforestry and conservation efforts, such as tree planting. Such tree planting will occur within a 2,500 ha community-owned buffer zone surrounding this core zone. In addition, a 1,500 ha area within the CFR will be managed by KTF for reforestation, ecotourism and other conservation activities (World Land Trust 2023).

Ecosystem services

The designation of this site as a CFR was in recognition of both the valuable timber species present, Juniperus and Afrocarpus, and the important water catchment service provided. Tributaries which originate on the mountain flow into the Kalem River which supplies Lake Opeta, an important Ramsar site for conserving bird species including Fox's weaver (Ploceus spekeoides), Uganda’s only endemic bird species. The Turkwel River which leads to Lake Turkana in Kenya, is also supplied by rivers originating on the mountain (Byaruhanga and Kigoolo 2005; World Resources Institute 2010).
Surveys of local communities found that over 40 plants were recognised as wild edible species, most with edible fruits, the highest number of edible plants recognized at any of the sites sampled across Karamoja by Ojelel et al. (2019). Edible species included the custard-apple, Annona senegalensis, several species of fig and the yam Dioscorea sagittifolia var. lecardii. In addition, Khat (Catha edulis) leaves are often sold for export to Kenya and Somalia (CUPTD Workshop 2023; Eilu 2014). Some edible species are also collected for their medicinal properties #DOES SAM HAVE EXAMPLES#.
Other resources such as timber and charcoal are extracted from the reserve, while the vegetation provides pasture for cattle grazing (Eilu 2014).
There are several cultural and ethnic groups that live on and around Mount Kadam including Pokot, Karamojong, Gishu, Tepeth, Sebei and Kadama communities and it is reported that there are culturally significant sites within this IPA (CUPTD Workshop 2023; Kara-Tunga 2017).
There is also some tourism to the site, with hiking and trekking tours run by Kara-Tunga, the tour company involved in conservation activities on Mount Kadam.

Site assessor(s)

IPA criterion A species

Species Qualifying sub-criterion ≥ 1% of global population ≥ 5% of national population 1 of 5 best sites nationally Entire global population Socio-economically important Abundance at site
Aloe wilsonii Reynolds A(i) True True True False False Frequent
Bothriocline congesta (M.Taylor) Wech. A(iii) True True True False False Unknown
Crotalaria macrantha Polhill A(iii) True True True True False Unknown
Abutilon eggelingii Verdc. A(i) True True True False False Unknown
Tricalysia bagshawei S.Moore subsp. bagshawei A(i) True False True False False Unknown
Dicliptera nilotica C.B.Clarke A(i) True True True False False Unknown
Euphorbia magnicapsula S.Carter var. lacertosa S.Carter A(i) True True True False False Unknown

Aloe wilsonii Reynolds

Qualifying sub-criterion:
A(i)
≥ 1% of global population:
True
≥ 5% of national population:
True
1 of 5 best sites nationally:
True
Entire global population:
False
Socio-economically important:
False
Abundance at site:
Frequent

Bothriocline congesta (M.Taylor) Wech.

Qualifying sub-criterion:
A(iii)
≥ 1% of global population:
True
≥ 5% of national population:
True
1 of 5 best sites nationally:
True
Entire global population:
False
Socio-economically important:
False
Abundance at site:
Unknown

Crotalaria macrantha Polhill

Qualifying sub-criterion:
A(iii)
≥ 1% of global population:
True
≥ 5% of national population:
True
1 of 5 best sites nationally:
True
Entire global population:
True
Socio-economically important:
False
Abundance at site:
Unknown

Abutilon eggelingii Verdc.

Qualifying sub-criterion:
A(i)
≥ 1% of global population:
True
≥ 5% of national population:
True
1 of 5 best sites nationally:
True
Entire global population:
False
Socio-economically important:
False
Abundance at site:
Unknown

Tricalysia bagshawei S.Moore subsp. bagshawei

Qualifying sub-criterion:
A(i)
≥ 1% of global population:
True
≥ 5% of national population:
False
1 of 5 best sites nationally:
True
Entire global population:
False
Socio-economically important:
False
Abundance at site:
Unknown

Dicliptera nilotica C.B.Clarke

Qualifying sub-criterion:
A(i)
≥ 1% of global population:
True
≥ 5% of national population:
True
1 of 5 best sites nationally:
True
Entire global population:
False
Socio-economically important:
False
Abundance at site:
Unknown

Euphorbia magnicapsula S.Carter var. lacertosa S.Carter

Qualifying sub-criterion:
A(i)
≥ 1% of global population:
True
≥ 5% of national population:
True
1 of 5 best sites nationally:
True
Entire global population:
False
Socio-economically important:
False
Abundance at site:
Unknown

IPA criterion C qualifying habitats

Habitat Qualifying sub-criterion ≥ 5% of national resource ≥ 10% of national resource 1 of 5 best sites nationally Areal coverage at site
Afromontane dry forest (VU) C(iii) True True True 83.22

Afromontane dry forest (VU)

Qualifying sub-criterion:
C(iii)
≥ 5% of national resource:
True
≥ 10% of national resource:
True
Areal coverage at site:
83.22

General site habitats

General site habitat Percent coverage Importance
Forest - Subtropical/Tropical Moist Montane Forest No value Major
Savana No value Major
Rocky Areas - Rocky Areas [e.g. inland cliffs, mountain peaks] No value Minor
Shrubland - Subtropical/Tropical High Altitude Shrubland No value Minor
Artificial - Terrestrial - Pastureland No value Unknown
Artificial - Terrestrial - Arable Land No value Minor

Forest - Subtropical/Tropical Moist Montane Forest

Percent coverage:
No value
Importance:
Major

Savana

Percent coverage:
No value
Importance:
Major

Rocky Areas - Rocky Areas [e.g. inland cliffs, mountain peaks]

Percent coverage:
No value
Importance:
Minor

Shrubland - Subtropical/Tropical High Altitude Shrubland

Percent coverage:
No value
Importance:
Minor

Artificial - Terrestrial - Pastureland

Percent coverage:
No value
Importance:
Unknown

Artificial - Terrestrial - Arable Land

Percent coverage:
No value
Importance:
Minor

Land use types

Land use type Percent coverage Importance
Nature conservation No value Major
Agriculture (arable) No value Minor
Agriculture (pastoral) No value Unknown
Harvesting of wild resources No value Unknown

Nature conservation

Percent coverage:
No value
Importance:
Major

Agriculture (arable)

Percent coverage:
No value
Importance:
Minor

Agriculture (pastoral)

Percent coverage:
No value
Importance:
Unknown

Harvesting of wild resources

Percent coverage:
No value
Importance:
Unknown

Threats

Threat Severity Timing
Residential & commercial development - Housing & urban areas Medium Ongoing - increasing
Agriculture & aquaculture - Annual & perennial non-timber crops - Small-holder farming Medium Ongoing - increasing
Agriculture & aquaculture - Livestock farming & ranching - Small-holder grazing, ranching or farming Unknown Ongoing - trend unknown
Energy production & mining - Mining & quarrying Low Ongoing - trend unknown
Biological resource use - Gathering terrestrial plants Low Ongoing - trend unknown
Biological resource use - Logging & wood harvesting Unknown Ongoing - trend unknown

Residential & commercial development - Housing & urban areas

Severity:
Medium
Timing:
Ongoing - increasing

Agriculture & aquaculture - Annual & perennial non-timber crops - Small-holder farming

Severity:
Medium
Timing:
Ongoing - increasing

Agriculture & aquaculture - Livestock farming & ranching - Small-holder grazing, ranching or farming

Severity:
Unknown
Timing:
Ongoing - trend unknown

Energy production & mining - Mining & quarrying

Severity:
Low
Timing:
Ongoing - trend unknown

Biological resource use - Gathering terrestrial plants

Severity:
Low
Timing:
Ongoing - trend unknown

Biological resource use - Logging & wood harvesting

Severity:
Unknown
Timing:
Ongoing - trend unknown

Protected areas

Protected area name Protected area type Relationship with IPA Areal overlap
Kadam Central Forest Reserve Forest Reserve (conservation) protected/conservation area matches IPA 221

Kadam Central Forest Reserve

Protected area type:
Forest Reserve (conservation)
Relationship with IPA:
protected/conservation area matches IPA
Areal overlap:
221

Bibliography

Langdale-Brown, I., Osmaston, H. A., & Wilson, J. G., 1964

The Vegetation of Uganda and its Bearing on Land-Use

Google Earth, 2023

Google Earth Pro 2023

World Resources Institute, 2023

Global Forest Watch 2023

Available online

CUPTD Workshop, 2023

Conservation of Uganda’s Plant and Tree Diversity Workshop, Makerere University, Kampala, 7-10 February 2023 [unpubl. communications]

Lwanga, J., 1996

Moroto, Kadam and Napak Forest Reserves Biodiversity Report: Trees and Shrubs

Baldwin, I., Kalema, J., Ojelel, S. & Richards, S. L., 2022

Aloe wilsonii. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2022: e.T110802969A110803027

Available online

Byaruhanga, A. & Kigoolo, S., 2005

Lake Opeta Wetland System Ramsar Information Sheet

Clark, L., 1969

The North Elgon Depression, eastern Uganda

Quarterly Journal of the Geological Society of London, Vol 125, page(s) 39-42 Available online

Eilu, G., 2014

The forgotten mountains of Uganda

Miti, Vol April-June

Hamilton, A. C., 1974

Distribution Patterns of Forest Trees in Uganda and Their Historical Significance

Available online

IUCN SSC East African Plants Red List Authority, 2013

Bothriocline congesta. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2013: e.T47347554A47347557

Available online

Kara-Tunga, 2017

Mount Kadam Hiking & Trekking

Available online

Ojelel, S., Mucunguzi, P., Katuura, E., Kakudidi, E. K., Namaganda, M. & Kalema, J., 2019

Wild edible plants used by communities in and around selected forest reserves of Teso-Karamoja region, Uganda. Journal of Ethnobiology and Ethnomedicine

Journal of Ethnobiology and Ethnomedicine, Vol 15, page(s) 1-14 Available online

Rotton, H., 2024

Abutilon eggelingii. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2024

Thomas, A. S., 1943

The Vegetation of the Karamoja District, Uganda: An Illustration of Biological Factors in Tropical Ecology

The Journal of Ecology, Vol 31, page(s) 149-177 Available online

Vos, T., 2016

Gold Mining Boom in Karamoja Uganda

Available online

World Resources Institute, 2010

Waterbodies in Uganda

Available online

Recommended citation

(2024) Tropical Important Plant Areas Explorer: Mount Kadam (Uganda). https://tipas.kew.org/site/mount-kadam/ (Accessed on 21/05/2024)