The Albertine rift has a distinct climate, a unique landscape and is very high in biodiversity. Tooro Botanical Gardens (TBG) is a community-owned Non- Governmental Organization founded in 2001 as a centre of excellence in growing and maintaining living plant collections from the Albertine Rift, for conservation, scientific research and aesthetic purposes. TBG is part of the Albertine Rift, located at the foothills of the Rwenzori mountains in Fort Portal Municipality, Kabarole district. TBG’s vision is to have a natural green environment for conservation, education, scientific research and recreation. Its mission is to promote community-centered conservation of ecological resources.
TBG seeks to increase the propagation of a broad diversity of plants, undertake research, train communities and create awareness on conservation and sustainable use of plants within the Albertine Rift.
TBG is also does restoration of degraded forest landscapes, raise indigenous tree seedlings at the garden with emphasis on rare and endangered spp. They also establish tree nurseries on contract for private organizations, the Ministry of Water and Environment as well as offering community training in ecological restoration.
The Tooro Botanical Garden is characterized by a gently undulating landscape with an altitude of 1500m (4900ft) above sea level as the highest elevation. It has an annual rainfall of 1400mm and an average temperature of 22 degrees Celsius all year round.
The Albertine Rift has faced a lot of degradation and one of the areas is Buhoiga Central Forest Reserve in Fort Portal which was converted to a eucalyptus plantation, then
felled and transformed into grazing land in 1979. TBG was leased 100 acres of the reserve by the National Forestry Authority in 2001. Since then, TBG started its restoration work of botanical resources and so far, 70%, have been planted with indigenous trees and 30% with other garden collections.
TBG operates one of the largest indigenous tree nurseries in Uganda. The species-diverse forest arboretum and restoration plots have more than 116 native tree species and other countless plant species.
There are three restoration plots set up with the aim of conserving endangered and highly utilized species, propagating protocols (research), and a nursery to supply indigenous species. According to TBG, as a result of restoration, tree species increased from 17 in 2005 to more than 116, while bird species increased from 34 to more than 113 in 2019
A natural green environment for conservation, education, scientific research and recreation.
To promote community centered conservation of ecological resources.