TL04
Atauro Island


Year of compilation: 2007

Site description
Small patches of tropical semi-evergreen and montane forest on the steep ridges and upper slopes (at 700–970 m) of Mount Manucoco are an important biogeographic representation of these habitat types. These forests occur on topographically protected slopes of Mount Manucoco and cover about 40 km2. Atauro is a member of the Inner Banda Arc of islands (in contrast to Timor which is part of the Outer Arc) which includes the volcanic islands of Lombok through to the Banda islands (Monk et al. 1997). There are no active volcanoes: the landscape is dominated by highly eroded Tertiary (Mio-Pliocene) volcanoes of submarine origin with dissected narrow ridges peaking on Mount Manucoco (995 m) and extensive uplifted coralline reef to 600 m (Monk et al. 1997). There is a broad fringing reef (typically 30–150 m wide), but limited development of alluvial plains and no freshwater wetlands, tidal rivers or extensive mangrove. Newly opened (with corn, peanuts, coconut, bananas, papaya and other fruit trees) and older regenerating swidden fields are dominant near villages but there are remains relatively extensive remnants of dry and evergreen tropical forest (particularly on mountain peaks and gullies) and natural grassy savannas woodlands dominated by Eucalyptus alba (authors’ observations).

Key biodiversity
Fourteen restricted-range species have been recorded in this IBA, including during a 10-day survey in November–December 2003 (Ora 2000, Trainor et al. 2004, Trainor and Soares 2004, Trainor and Leitão in press). The Endangered Timor Green-pigeon is listed for this IBA on the basis of reports by local people, but this has not yet been verified by direct observations.

Pressure/threats to key biodiversity
Fires and wood cutting were listed as threats by FAO/UNDP (1982). Forest boundaries appear relatively stable with boundaries associated with fires. Swidden agriculture is used on the slopes up to 600 m and may have played a role in the current distribution of forest.

Protected areas
Proposed as a Recreation Park by FAO/UNDP (1982). According to Ora (2000) forest on Atauro Island was designated as Nature Sanctuary (Suaka Alam) (No.1062, 7 December 1990). Recognised as ‘Manucoco Protected Wild Area’ by UNTAET (2000) under Regulation Number 2000/19.

Habitat and land use
Small patches of tropical semi-evergreen and montane forest on the steep ridges and upper slopes (at 700–970 m) of Mount Manucoco are an important biogeographic representation of these habitat types. These forests occur on topographically protected slopes of Mount Manucoco and cover about 40 km2. Atauro is a member of the Inner Banda Arc of islands (in contrast to Timor which is part of the Outer Arc) which includes the volcanic islands of Lombok through to the Banda islands (Monk et al. 1997). There are no active volcanoes: the landscape is dominated by highly eroded Tertiary (Mio-Pliocene) volcanoes of submarine origin with dissected narrow ridges peaking on Mount Manucoco (995 m) and extensive uplifted coralline reef to 600 m (Monk et al. 1997). There is a broad fringing reef (typically 30–150 m wide), but limited development of alluvial plains and no freshwater wetlands, tidal rivers or extensive mangrove. Newly opened (with corn, peanuts, coconut, bananas, papaya and other fruit trees) and older regenerating swidden fields are dominant near villages but there are remains relatively extensive remnants of dry and evergreen tropical forest (particularly on mountain peaks and gullies) and natural grassy savannas woodlands dominated by Eucalyptus alba (authors’ observations).


Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2022) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Atauro Island. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 30/11/2022.