This small tropical tree is endemic to Uganda, found in moist forests near streams. It is known only from two areas, both in south-western Uganda – Kasyoha-Kitomi and Sesse Islands (Lake Victoria) in Maska and Ankole districts. There is continued decline in the extent and quality of the habitat of Uvariodendron magnificum.
There is currently no information available relating to the population size or trend of this species. However, the large gap between the two populations means that it is severely fragmented. A previous botanical collection from Kasyoha-Kitomi refers to U. magnificum as the dominant understory tree in a stream valley. This species has been collected three times from Kasyoha-Kitomi Forest Reserve, but the reserve is surrounded by tea plantations and protection from timber and pole harvesting is not very effective.
This project will enable Tooro Botanical Garden to increase the diversity of their ex situ collection of threatened tree species, acting as an insurance policy against the future extinction of this species. The expansion of this collection would also create avenues for further research and investigation into different propagation protocols for lesser-known species such as this. These protocols will then be able to inform further conservation actions.
Local community members will be directly empowered. Seed of Uvariodendron magnificum will be collected and grown in a community-led nursery. Community members will be trained to plant and restore forests with threatened trees species such as Uvariodendron magnificum. Training will also be delivered on how to establish a monitoring programme, which is essential for determining growth rates and seedling health.
These training programmes will also increase awareness of the various uses of native tree species and directly address the need to promote threatened species conservation. A more direct benefit will be that local communities will gain access to new food sources, medicines and materials to be used sustainably once trees reach maturity. Saving this species will also serve as a source of food to attract local wildlife, thus increasing the potential for eco-tourism in the region. Furthermore, by saving this species local communities will be better able to protect their cultural heritage.