Our objective was to understand and describe local spatial and temporal variability in precipitation around Kibale National Park, a tropical forest area of high conservation value. Continental or regional-scale trends are often relied upon to make policy and management decisions, but these analyses are often at too coarse a resolution to capture important variability at a finer scale where management actions operate . Monthly rainfall data derived from ten long-term station records (1941-1975) were used to evaluate local spatiotemporal variability in seasonal and annual rainfall for the area surrounding Kibale National Park. The magnitude, direction and significance of trends in seasonal and annual rainfall within the area surrounding the park were identified using the Mann-Kendall trend test and Sen’s slope estimator. The standardized precipitation index was calculated at 3and 12-month periods to identify areas of relative wetness or dryness. Analysis of annual trends and precipitation indices indicated that patterns in annual time series do not reflect the direction and magnitude of seasonal trends nor the spatial variability in intra-annual rainfall at the local scale. Significant negative trends in the seasonal long rains, following dry season and short rains were identified at stations west of Kibale, while significant positive trends in the seasonal short rains occurred at stations north of the park. Stations along the western park boundary tended to have more years in which the two dry seasons were abnormally dry than those sta tions located further from the park.
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