Mount Rungwe and its associated belt of forest dominates the mountainous country north-west of Lake Nyasa. The impressive crater lake of Ngozi lies 10 km north-west of Mount Rungwe, encircled by the Mporoto Ridge Forest Reserve. To the east of Mount Rungwe is the Livingstone Forest Reserve which cloaks the steep escarpment of the Lake Nyasa Trough, overlooking Mwakalele town, and which is included within site TZ073. Common trees in these montane forests include Aphloia theiformis, Ficalhoa laurifolia, Maesa lanceolata, Trichocladus ellipticus, Albizia gummifera and Bersama abyssinica. There are extensive stands of bamboo in some forests and a belt of heathland on Mount Rungwe above 2,600 m. Grassland and forest-edge habitats within these Forest Reserves are becoming increasingly important for threatened birds as agriculture expands into marginal areas. Rungwe Catchment Forest Reserve (CFR) (13,652 ha), Livingstone CFR (26,366 ha) and Mporoto CFR (13,652 ha) are the three largest forest areas included in the IBA. Also included are eight smaller Forest Reserves: Ihoho CFR (380 ha), Sawago CFR (907 ha), Kitweli CFR (234 ha), Irenge CFR (635 ha), Chuvwi CFR (486 ha), Ngalijembe Local Authority Catchment Forest Reserve (LACFR) (260 ha, 50% plantation), Kyejo LACFR (693 ha) and Irungu LACFR (1,850). The south-eastern slopes of these mountains receive up to 3,000 mm of rainfall per annum, the highest in Tanzania.
See Box and Tables 2 and 3 for key species. Ploceus bertrandi occurs here, a largely sedentary and solitary species of forest-edge and riverine scrub habitat at higher elevations. The status of Hirundo atrocaerulea is unknown, but it is likely to occur rarely.
Non-bird biodiversity: None known to BirdLife International.
Pressure/threats to key biodiversity
There has been massive degradation of natural habitat in this IBA, perhaps one of the reasons why its birdlife is poorly known. The remaining forests have a high water-catchment value. They suffer substantial problems of fire, overgrazing, illegal timber removal and an ever increasing amount of cultivation.
BirdLife International (2019) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Mount Rungwe. Downloaded from
http://www.birdlife.org on 17/11/2019.