By C. A. Spinage

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Candelabra trees (true cacti do not occur in Africa) with their erect, spiky fronds, impart a pleasing, never-to-be-forgotten aspect to the rolling grasslands with their dotted thickets. According to Osmaston (1965) this present appearance is due almost entirely to fire; annual or biennial grass fires maintaining open grassland which would otherwise develop into thorny thicket, woodland, and forest in the wetter areas. In one of the earliest references to the modification of vegetation by elephants, Dale and Osmaston (1954) noted that the ground-water forest at the mouth of the Nyamagasani River, cut extensively in the past for fish smoking, had reached a "game climax"; elephants inhibiting the forest re-growth.

The Semliki River, which provided the link with Lake Albert to the north, was blocked by movements associated with the uplifting of the Rwenzoris, but then cut back until it was captured again by the Lake Albert watershed; today providing the overflow for Lake Edward into Lake Albert (Beadle, 1965). Retreat of the lakes from their high levels was not a continuous process, many terraces being formed during pauses in the retreat. Closer to the Kazinga Channel, however, the terrace-like features have been shown to be due to faulting of the Kaiso beds (Harrop, i960).

Both elephant and buffalo are widely distributed, although dispersion is seasonal, the majority remaining in the forest during the dry seasons. At a rough estimate, since a true estimate cannot be made without an accurate knowledge of the population structure of each species, biomass must be 40 The Uganda Waterbuck in excess of 12 290 kg/km 2 . This is probably similar to the adjacent Kivu National Park in Zaire, formerly the Albert National Park; although higher figures have been given. More detailed aerial counts were conducted during 1971 and 1972, and estimates for the smaller ungulate species gave figures (with their 95% confidence limits) of 12 000 ± 3545 kob, 4932 + 4599 topi, 1530 + 304 warthog, and 3563 + 1228 waterbuck.

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