The coastal lowlands south of the Rufiji river are characterized by low-lying hills over a sandstone base with poor quality soils. The natural vegetation ranges from mangrove and coastal thicket through coastal woodland to extensive areas of Brachystegia woodland. In the wetter valleys and along some east-facing escarpments there are patches of closed-canopy coastal forest. The following 15 Forest Reserves are listed for Kilwa District, of which only three are known ornithogically, the remainder are included only provisionally: Kisangi (310 ha), Kitope Hill (3,378 ha), Malehi (38,850 ha), Mangrove-Kilwa (13,995 ha), Mbinga Kimanji (1,874 ha), Mitarure (60,484 ha), Mitundumbea (8,547 ha), Nampekeso–Naminangu (600 ha), Ngarama North (39,628 ha), Ngarama South (22,603 ha), Pindiro (11,795 ha), Rondondo-Kilwa (381 ha), Rungo (22,586 ha), Tongomba New (2,509 ha) and Tongomba Old (308 ha).
See Box and Table 3 for key species. Only Ngarama North, Ngarama South and Pindiro have been investigated for their avifauna. Circaetus fasciolatus and Anthreptes reichenowi are known to occur while Zoothera guttata may be present from November–May, but data are lacking. Raptors recorded from the forests included Aquila wahlbergi, Hieraaetus ayresii, Stephanoaetus coronatus and Aviceda cuculoides as well as migrant Pernis apivorus, Falco amurensis and Falco concolor. Both Tauraco livingstonii and Musophaga porphyreolopha occur and Cercococcyx montanus may be a locally common breeding species. Merops boehmi and Neafrapus boehmi were recorded almost daily during surveys in 1993, the former is indicative of riparian habitat within the miombo belt, the latter of open woodland. Coastal forest birds as Phyllastrephus strepitans, P. debilis and P. flavostriatus are present as are Cercotrichas quadrivirgata and Neocossyphus rufus.
Non-bird biodiversity: Loxodonta africana (EN) utilize the three forests investigated so far and probably most of the others. Packs of Lycaon pictus (EN) are known from the general area and probably utilize the larger woodland reserves.
Pressure/threats to key biodiversity
More survey work is required to evaluate the biodiversity value and current status of most of the forests in Kilwa. Logging (presumably illegal) of the remaining mature mvule Chlorophora excelsa trees has been intensive in the last decade. Fire is reportedly only a local problem and, as yet, agricultural encroachment is not the problem it has become in areas close to population centres. Much of the area adjacent to the Forest Reserves is suitable for commercial plantations of mvule. Such plantations, and other conservation-based development programmes, similar to those proposed for Lindi District (TZ051), the Mkonde plateau (TZ053) and East Usambara (IBA TZ070), would help preserve and enhance biodiversity and provide long-term employment for the local communities.
BirdLife International (2022) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Kilwa District Coastal Forests. Downloaded from
http://www.birdlife.org on 29/11/2022.