Rubya Forest Plantation is located on the western end of Ukerewe Island, Ukerewe District, Mwanza Region.
The Rubya Forest Reserve map was produced from aerial photographs by Air survey Division in June 1967 at a scale approximately 1:10000 printed and drawn in JB 664 map. The Rubya Forest Plantation is bordered by Lake Victoria to the Northwest, West, South and Southwest. It is bordered by Selema and Bugula Villages to the North East and South East (Appendix 11).
1.1.2 Grid Reference
Rubya Forest Plantation is situated at Longitudes 32051’E and Latitudes 22030’S.
Rubya Forest Plantation is accessible by water from Mwanza, Mara and Kagera Region. The distance by road from Rubya to Mwanza via Nansio, Bunda and Magu is about 288 km. A ferryboat connects the Ukerewe and Mwanza roads across Lake Victoria between Rugezi and Kisorya points. By boat or ferry through Lake Victoria, Rubya to Mwanza is about 65Km.
There is a good communication system of earth roads between the Forest Plantation and other parts of Ukerewe Island. From the Forest Office to Nansio is about 35 Km. (Appendix 12)
1.2 Background information
Since early in the fifties the area of Rubya reserve was covered mainly with grassland and indigenous tree species like Maesopsis eminii, Albizia spp, Milicia excelsa, among others. Rubya Forest reserve was gazetted on 5th October 1951 vide Government Notice No. 230. The Tanzania Government in the Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism, Tanzania Forestry Service owns the Forest Plantation.
In 1957 trial plots of Maesopsis eminii and Eucalyptus saligna were established. Some year’s later growth of Maesopsis eminii was discouraged due to its slow growth rate in short rotation. Consequent to this, trial plots of exotic species were introduced in 1958. Included in the trial plots were Pinus caribaea, Pinus insulalis, and others. Pinus caribaea showed good performance, followed by Pinus eliotii. Thus since 1960/61 Rubya forest Reserve has been gradually planted with Pinus caribaea and Pinus eliotii. In 1965 some of the established compartments were burnt with fire and Pinus caribaea stands showed good survival rates compared to Pinus eliotii. With time P. eliotii performance deteriorated and was replaced with P. caribaea. The Plantation was established by Taungya system. Commercial thinning commenced by the end of 1983. Clear felling operations started in 1985/86.