Executive Summary


Minziro Forest Reserve is the only forest in Tanzania where significant numbers of Guinea-Congo biome restricted bird species have been recorded.  Minziro is also one of Tanzania’s 77 important bird areas, due to the presence of one globally threatened species.

The aims of this survey were to provide baseline data on the avifauna of Minziro and its associated habitats. A series of techniques were employed to establish this baseline data. Mist netting at the same site as a previous ornithological visit in 1987 was aimed at gathering valuable data on species longevity and movement through recaptures of individual birds. Direct observation in different areas of the reserve allowed for a complete overall survey of Minziro. Sound recording was carried out, enabling the confirmation and identification of some of the more inconspicuous forest species.

The survey was carried out over a 12-day period, from the 24th July 2000 to the 4th August 2000, resulting in 36,417 net-metre-hours. A total of 365 birds were caught and processed, representing 59 different species. A total of 245 bird species have now been recorded in Minziro Forest Reserve, of which 96 are forest dependent specialists. Of the 365 birds processed, 7 were re-captures from the 1987 visit.

The main threats to Minziro Forest Reserve are similar to those found in forest reserves across the country: Agricultural encroachment, illegal and excessive timber extraction and uncontrolled burning of the grassland for improved cattle grazing. Although difficult issues to tackle, the mitigation of some of these impacts is thought to be possible through standing legislation on forest reserve protection.

All forest reserves play an important role in the lives of local people. The protection of these forests is the responsibility of government as well as the people who surround, live and may often depend on the natural resources it provides. As is the case with all forest reserves, Minziro is globally important as a carbon sink and as a genetic ‘savings account’.

Due to its importance to the avifauna of Tanzania and its proposed status as an important bird area, it is recommended that Minziro Forest Reserve (or parts of), be upgraded from forest reserve to nature reserve under the new Forest Act. This is in line with National Forest Policy on the protection of unique

eco-systems and biodiversity in Tanzania.