These mountains form the high ground along the north-east coast of Lake Nyasa, inland to the plateau country south of Njombe. The escarpment, rising to 2,488 m within only 4 km of the Lake, is steep, largely inaccessible and virtually uninhabited. The extent of forest cover is unknown, but it is likely that there is some gallery forest along the escarpment. The highest ground is separated from the main plateau by a series of rivers that drain south-west directly into Lake Nyasa and south-east into the Ruhuhu river before emerging into Lake Nyasa 60 km to the south. The more fertile valleys are densely settled in some areas; there has been some cultivation of the higher ground and some erosion on the steeper slopes. There are 13 Forest Reserves listed for Ludewa District, lying in the Livingstone Mountains. Of these, information has only been traced on four: Madenge (1,146 ha), Mdando (5,140 ha), Msiora (315 ha) and Sakaranyumo (840 ha). These areas only are included in the IBA at present.
See Box and Tables 2 and 3 for key species. Little is known of the general birdlife in the area; only 106 species have been recorded, during two brief visits. Hirundo atrocaerulea, Cisticola njombe and Serinus melanochrous are likely to occur. Hirundo angolensis breeds around Uwemba and both Cisticola njombe and Cisticola nigriloris reach their southern limits in Tanzania, just to the north of 09°S.
Non-bird biodiversity: None known to BirdLife International.
Pressure/threats to key biodiversity
Forest clearance for agriculture, burning and cultivation of steep valley slopes all threaten these sites. Surveys are needed to assess the biodiversity values and current status of each of these forests.