Forested slopes of Mafwomero
Forest near Mbuga Village

This Mountain range is found in both the Kilosa District of Morogoro Region and the Mpwapwa District of Dodoma region. The Rubeho Mountains include a main highland area and various isolated ridges and massifs; such as Mang’alisa, the Kiboriani Mountains, Pala-Ulanga (east) and Wota (west). The highest point within these areas is 2,225 m. The forests of the Rubeho mountains are surrounded by at least 31,315 people.

The Rubeho mountains contain 2 Forest Reserves in Kilosa District (Pala-Ulanga, Ukwiva) which total more than 66,316 ha. The Ilole area on the main massif supports an important area of unprotected Eastern Arc forest habitat. There are also 3 further forest reserves in Mpwapwa District (Mafwomero, Mang'alisa, Wota) which total 9,249 ha, and the proposed Kiboriani Forest Reserve which includes 56,000 ha of woodland with Eastern Arc forest and grassland habitats at higher altitudes.

The vegetation of the Rubeho mountains contains a number of different types of forest. In Ukwiva trees include Agauria salicifolia, Aphloia theiformis, Bridelia micrantha, Catha edulis, Diospyros whyteana, Halleria lucida, Macaranga kilimandscharica, Maesa lanceolata, Maytenus acuminata, Nuxia congesta, Parinari excelsa, Polyscias fulva, Rapanea melanophloeos and Xymalos monospora.

Lichen found on rocky outcrop in
Rubeho Mountains

In terms of biodiversity value the Rubeho block and outliers are known to support 1 strictly endemic vertebrate animal and 10 Eastern Arc endemic species. They also support no Eastern Arc endemic trees. Until recently the Rubeho was the least known of the Eastern Arc Mountain blocks. Field work over the past years has improved the situation a little, but much more remains to be discovered on the amphibians, reptiles and especially plants. This is likely to reveal further new species.

Fires at the forest edge in the
Rubeho Mountains

The Rubeho forests face a variety of threats affecting different sites. Mang’alisa is affected by significant agricultural encroachment, Wotta and other sites are experiencing significant levels of logging and fire is also a major threat.