The highlands around the town of Njombe were originally grasslands, much of which have now been converted to agriculture. South and south-west of Njombe the land is more rugged, with rolling hills cut by deep valleys. Here, there are a few remaining small patches of isolated forest. Of the 14 Forest Reserves listed for Njombe District, it only proved possible to trace any information for four, of which one is a plantation and a second scheduled for timber production. The other two are Litoni (200 ha) and Mpala (69 ha). In addition, there are four forest patches, each less than 100 ha, shown on the map to the south and east of Uwemba while there is some privately-owned forest near the village of Nundu. These forests comprise the provisional extent of this IBA. Surveys are required to identify remaining forest patches and define site boundaries.
See Box and Tables 2 and 3 for key species. Little is known about the birdlife of this area. Hirundo atrocaerulea was considered locally common in the past, but is now much rarer due, in large part, to cultivation of grassland habitats. The type-locality for Sheppardia lowei is ‘Njombe forest’, which is thought most likely to be Mpala Forest Reserve. Other notable species recorded in or around these forests are Microparra capensis, Falco amurensis and Onychognathus tenuirostris.
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 pose a threat to remaining forest. Efforts to improve the quality and sustainability of the agricultural enterprises of the local population are required to prevent further forest loss on these mountains. A survey of all designated Forest Reserves and other forest patches is required to determine their biodiversity values and status.
BirdLife International (2021) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Njombe forests. Downloaded from
http://www.birdlife.org on 15/01/2021.