THE ALBERTINE RIFT VALLEY
The abertine rift is dominated by a series of mountain chains, originating on the Lendu Plateau in northern Uganda and the Democratic republic of Congo (DRC), and running south through the Rwenzori mountains of Uganda and the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo, western Rwanda and Burundi, to some isolated massifs on the shores of lake Tanganyika. The Albertine rift has been formed from a combination of uplifted Pre- Cambrian basement rock and recent volcanic activity. The uplift and volcanism are associated with the origins of Africa’s Great Rift Valley and the famous valley lakes that were created by the clockwise rotation of the African continent into Europe, producing per annum although it is locally more in some mountain areas.
Albertine rift is one of Africa’s most species rich and endemic- rich regions’ despite being one of its most poorly known and there is no overall synthesis of botanical richness or endemism in the eco region. Currently the total number of strictly endemic plants is estimated as around 1000- 1200 species, which is of similar magnitude to the number of endemics known from the eastern Arc Mountains and the Cameroon Mountains. At sites that have received higher levels of botanical exploration the floral values are better known. For example, Bwindi Forest in Uganda supports an estimated 1000 plant species: eight of these are tree species only been made at Bwindi on a few occasions. Even less is known from the huge expanse of Itombwe Forest which occupies the southern rift. It is expected that further botanical exploration will lead to the discovery of additional new species of plants and the botanical importance of the area may well be changed over time