Catapú

MOZTIPA033
Catapú

Country: Mozambique

Administrative region: Sofala (Province)

Central co-ordinates: 18.0363 S, 35.17030 E

Area: 352km²

Qualifying IPA Criteria

A(i)Site contains one or more globally threatened species, C(iii)Site contains nationally threatened or restricted habitat or vegetation types, AND/OR habitats that have severely declined in extent nationally

IPA assessment rationale

Catapú qualifies as an IPA under both criterion A and criterion C. It was suggested by both Coates Palgrave et al. (2007) and Smith (2004) that the whole of the Cheringoma Plateau be designated as an IPA. However, based on the different management of Catapú and Inhamitanga, the latter being a forest reserve recently brought under the management of the Goronogsa National Park, they have been recognised as separate IPAs.
Ten species meet sub-criterion A(i) with three Endangered species (Cola clavata, Cordia torrei and Vepris myrei) and six Vulnerable species (Cordia stuhlmannii, Cordia megiae, Dorstenia zambesiaca, Habenaria stylites, Monodora stenopetala and Tarenna longipedicellata). An additional Vulnerable species, Khaya anthotheca¸ occurs within this IPA but does not meet the thresholds required to trigger sub-criterion A(i) due to its widespread distribution.
Catapú contains high quality areas of the nationally important Inhamitanga Sand Forest, meeting the threshold for sub-criterion C(iii).
Eleven of the sub-criterion B(ii) qualifying species for Mozambique are recorded at this site, which does not meet the threshold of encompassing 3% of species of conservation importance, but their presence is still of note, particularly as many of these species have restricted ranges.

Site description

Catapú is a timber concession in Cheringoma District, Sofala Province, at the far north of the Cheringoma Plateau. The site has been run by TCT-Dalmann Furniture since 1996 and was one of the first concessions in Africa to gain Forest Stewardship Council certification (Remane & Therrell 2019). Catapú is around 20 km south-west of the Zambezi River, with the Zangue River and flood plain to the west. To the east, is the old Caia – Dondo railway, and to the south is Inhamitanga village. The local villages Mutondo, Pungue and Santove, are involved with the activities of the concession, with the latter two falling partially within the concession (Catapú.net 2020).
The IPA is 352 km2 in area and follows the boundary of the forestry concession. Altitude ranges from 30 m, towards Chirimadzi Valley in the north, to 190 m in the dry forests towards the southern boundary. Within Catapú, the Tissadze River flows from north to south, running south-east of the EN-1 road which itself bisects the site. Although the site is a timber concession, logging is targeted towards selected species that can be coppiced, and is complemented by a replanting scheme, hence it is considered to be a sustainable operation. The vegetation of Catapú is a mosaic of sand forest, dry deciduous thicket and woodland.

Botanical significance

The Catapú concession is of botanical importance due to the extensive area of high quality Inhamitanga Sand Forest, a restricted forest type of Mozambique. This forest is part of the wider Coastal Forests of Eastern Africa Biodiversity Hotspot, recognised for being both highly biodiverse and highly threatened (Burgess et al. 2004).
In keeping with its hotspot status, the site itself is botanically rich. A survey of woody vegetation here found 238 species and infraspecific taxa from 167 genera and 59 families (Coates Palgrave et al. 2007). Although the majority (64.5%) of species recorded from this site are shared with the wider southern African flora region, ten species recorded are Mozambican endemics. These endemics include an as yet undescribed species of Dovyalis, Dovyalis sp. A of Trees and Shrubs Mozambique (Burrows et al. 2018), which is known only from this site and neighbouring Inhamitanga Forest Reserve; this species was previously confused with the Tanzanian species D. xanthocarpa.
In addition, a number of globally threatened species occur within Catapú, with ten species recorded to date. For some of these species, with threats from agricultural conversion elsewhere within their restricted ranges, Catapú is of major importance for the prevention of further declines and extinction. This IPA covers much of the range of two Vulnerable species, Cordia megiae and Dorstenia zambesiaca, both known only from the Cheringoma District (Coates Palgrave et al. 2014b; Mynard & Rokni 2019). Contrastingly, Khaya anthotheca (East African Mahogany - VU) is found across tropical Africa but is threatened by harvesting for timber (Hawthorne 1998).
Furthermore, Coffea racemosa (Inhambane coffee - NT), a crop wild relative of commercial coffee, is recorded from this IPA and is itself roasted and ground locally to make coffee (Rodrigues et al. 1975). A small number of hardwood species are harvested for timber, including Millettia stuhlmannii, Afzelia quanzensis (LC) and Cordyla africana (LC) (Coates Palgrave et al. 2007).

Habitat and geology

The substrate of this site is mostly sandy soils, underlaid by sublittoral sands, with outbreaks of sandstone and calcareous conglomerates. The sublittoral sands are of great importance as they accumulate the water necessary to support tall forest trees (Coates Palgrave et al. 2007). Around the pans and floodplains, particularly to the west along the Zangue River, are black clay alluvial soils which are seasonally wet (Coates Palgrave et al. 2014a).
The below habitat description is based on surveys of the concession completed by Coates Palgrave et al. (2007) – species lists can be viewed in this paper. The vegetation of Catapú is described as a mosaic of forests, woodland and thicket. Woodland can be further subdivided into miombo, which occurs towards Inhamitanga village in the south-eastern corner of the concession, and undifferentiated woodland, which lacks the mycorrhizal associations and dominant species that define miombo (B. Wursten, pers. comm. 2020), the latter vegetation covering a greater area of the IPA. The variation in plant communities may be related to moisture and nutrient levels in the substrate. In the nearby Inhamitanga Forest Reserve, for example, it is reported that floral composition varies with soil clay content, which has a greater capacity for water storage (Müller et al. 2005).
This site contains a significant area of the restricted forest type, Inhamitanga Sand Forest. This forest is often patchy within the mosaic but is more dominant along the Via Pungue road (-18.021°, 35.171°), and in the southern portion of the IPA between the Tissadze River and EN-1 (-18.125°, 35.150°). Dominant canopy species include: Afzelia quanzensis, Balanites maughamii, Cordyla africana, Fernandoa magnifica, Terminalia sambesiaca and Xylia torreana. Emergent trees above the canopy include Adansonia digitata and Millettia stuhlmannii, while the understory is sparse with almost no ferns, herbs or grasses. This absence of a herbaceous understory is typical of Inhamitanga Sand Forest (B. Wursten, pers. comm. 2020). There are, however, understory shrubs, including the Mozambican endemic Millettia mossambicensis, Drypetes reticulata and many species of liana (as listed in Coates Palgrave et al. 2007). In neighbouring Inhamitanga it has been reported that, in areas with higher moisture availability, there are areas with evergreen elements, where trees such as Celtis mildbraedii and Drypetes gerrardii are more prevalent (Müller et al. 2005). Such a pattern is likely also reflected in the Inhamitanga Sand Forest within this IPA.
To the east of the Tissadze river, variation in the mosaic is more prominent with species composition and vegetation density varying between forest, thicket and woodland. Much of the woodland patches are undifferentiated, rather than miombo, with emergent trees including Rhodognaphalon mossambicense, Newtonia hildebrandtii and Millettia stuhlmannii. Forest species, such as Dalbergia boehmii, Drypetes reticulata and Strychnos madagascarensis form dense stands. Thicket vegetation, which is similarly dense but with a lower canopy, also features D. reticulata and S. madagascariensis along with species such as Albizia anthelmintica, Diospyros loureiriana and D. senensis are more typical of scrubby areas.
Towards the Tissadze River bridge (-18.184°, 35.149°), in the southernmost corner of the IPA, the most well-defined area of miombo woodland is recorded. Vegetation is sparse with little grass cover and few shrubs, suggesting poorer soils in this area (Coates Palgrave et al. 2007). Brachystegia spiciformis is the dominant miombo species. Trees are widely spaced, although some vegetation is concentrated around termite mounds, pans or on riverbanks where typical species include Cleistochlamys kirkii, Dovyalis hispidula, Flueggea virosa and Strychnos potatorum. Pans are numerous within the forest/thicket/woodland mosaic. They appear as grass-covered depressions of 0.5 hectares or more and are often bordered by trees such as Combretum imberbe and Acacia robusta subsp. usambarensis.
Mean annual rainfall at the site is between 700 and 1,400 mm, with the rainy season occurring November and March, while temperatures at nearby Inhamitanga town reach an average high of 28°C between October and December and a low of 21°C in June and July (Coates Palgrave et al. 2007; World Weather Online 2021). For several years in the 2000s, below average rainfall was recorded at the site and, during this particular period of water scarcity, A. robusta subsp. usambarensis was observed to be dying as the pans remained dry (Coates Palgrave et al. 2007).
To the west of the site is the Zangue river and floodplain. The grassland on alluvial soil here is of great importance as it is one of the few sites from which the highly range-restricted Acacia torrei (LC) has been recorded (Coates Palgrave et al. 2014a). Although much of the habitat lies outside of the IPA boundary, and there are no collections here, it is possible that Acacia torrei occurs towards the eastern boundary.

Conservation issues

The importance of Inhamitanga Forest has long been recognised, with Inhamitanga Forest Reserve established over 50 years ago, covering only 18 km2 of this IPA, following the 213 road from Inhamitanga village. However, few people knew of its existence and little formal protection has been afforded to the site (Coates Palgrave et al. 2007). As a result, the south-western portion of the reserve and surrounding woodland have been heavily degraded through intense and frequent burning, with some trees isolated by up to 100 m (Müller et al. 2005). In neighbouring Catapú, there is an area of sensitive forest to the east of the concession that is reported to be fire-intolerant and so is protected within a firebreak (Coates Palgrave et al. 2007). There may, therefore, be similarities in ecology between the fire-intolerant vegetation within Catapú and the woodlands in the south-west of Inhamitanga which may explain the intense degradation in this part of the IPA.
Despite past disturbances from fire, there is low population pressure on the area as a whole, with anthropogenic activities mostly limited to Inhamitanga village, to the south-west corner, and agricultural land outside the north-west corner of the IPA. The forested areas within the centre of the reserve have been subjected to some logging while the Inhamitanga-Chupanga road, which runs through the forest reserve in the south, may increase the risk of disturbance from fire, cyclones and extreme winds; however, the majority of the forest within the reserve is in good condition (Müller et al. 2005). It appears that much of the vegetation within the Inhamitanga IPA is largely undisturbed, as is suggested by satellite imagery from Google Earth and the general inaccessibility of much of the forest (Google Earth Pro 2020).
In 2017, Gorongosa National Park, in partnership with Entreposto, formally took on the former Coutada 12 hunting concession as a Gorongosa Project (Parque Nacional da Gorongosa 2020). These partners are undertaking ecological assessments, community engagement and analysis of tourism potential with a view to proposing to government that the site become part of Gorongosa National Park (Mozambique News Agency 2016). Conservation activities here are also undertaken in collaboration with neighboring Catapú (M. Stalmans, pers. comm. 2021), providing a landscape-scale approach to conserving the important Inhamitanga Sand Forest habitat.
Inhamitanga IPA also falls within the vast Gorongosa-Marromeu Key Biodiversity Area (KBA), with three trigger species for this KBA (Cordia stuhlmannii, Dorstenia zambesiaca and Tarenna longipedicellata) also recognised as priority species for this IPA.

Ecosystem services

This IPA is primarily valued for the provisioning of hardwood timber, some of which is crafted on-site into bespoke furniture and wooden artefacts for which there is a market in the UK and Germany (Premier African Minerals 2020). In addition, Catapú wood is used to construct beehives for on-site apiculture with the honey produced sold nationally (TCT Dalmann 2020). The forest itself, along with others patches of forests on the Cheringoma plateau, have been reported to be important for water catchment (Timberlake & Chidumayo 2011).
Alongside these provisioning services, TCT Dalmann run a game farm of 9,960 hectare which is centred on the Tissadze river south of the EN-1 road (TCT Dalmann 2020). The wide range of animals on the game farm attracts both ecotourism and hunting safaris to the reserve. The income generated from both tourism and forestry are of importance for the livelihoods of local people, providing employment and the funding required to build schools in nearby villages (Catapú.net 2020). Along with the support of local people, the various income streams allow Catapú to be a self-sustaining business (Premier African Minerals 2020) that incorporates important conservation work, recognised by the Forest Stewardship Council, and presents a successful model of sustainable forest management.
There are some culturally important areas within the IPA, such as burial grounds. Efforts have been made by TCT Dalmann to map these sites to ensure they are protected from destructive or culturally insensitive activities (TCT Dalmann 2020).

Site assessor(s)

Sophie Richards, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew

Iain Darbyshire, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew

IPA criterion A species

Species Qualifying sub-criterion ≥ 1% of global population ≥ 5% of national population 1 of 5 best sites nationally Entire global population Socio-economically important Abundance at site
Cordia stuhlmannii Gürke A(i) True True True False False Occasional
Cordia megiae J.E.Burrows A(i) True True True False False Occasional
Dorstenia zambesiaca Hijman A(i) True True True False False Frequent
Tarenna longipedicellata (J.G.García) Bridson A(i) True True True False False Scarce
Cola clavata Mast. A(i) True True True False False Common
Khaya anthotheca C.DC. A(i) False False False False True Unknown
Monodora stenopetala Oliv. A(i) True True True False False Unknown
Habenaria stylites Rchb.f. & S.Moore subsp. johnsonii (Rolfe) Summerh. A(i) True True True False False Unknown
Cordia torrei E.S.Martins A(i) True True True False False Scarce
Vepris myrei (Exell & Mendonça) Mziray A(i) True True True False False Unknown

Cordia stuhlmannii Gürke

Qualifying sub-criterion:
A(i)
≥ 1% of global population:
True
≥ 5% of national population:
True
1 of 5 best sites nationally:
True
Entire global population:
False
Socio-economically important:
False
Abundance at site:
Occasional

Cordia megiae J.E.Burrows

Qualifying sub-criterion:
A(i)
≥ 1% of global population:
True
≥ 5% of national population:
True
1 of 5 best sites nationally:
True
Entire global population:
False
Socio-economically important:
False
Abundance at site:
Occasional

Dorstenia zambesiaca Hijman

Qualifying sub-criterion:
A(i)
≥ 1% of global population:
True
≥ 5% of national population:
True
1 of 5 best sites nationally:
True
Entire global population:
False
Socio-economically important:
False
Abundance at site:
Frequent

Tarenna longipedicellata (J.G.García) Bridson

Qualifying sub-criterion:
A(i)
≥ 1% of global population:
True
≥ 5% of national population:
True
1 of 5 best sites nationally:
True
Entire global population:
False
Socio-economically important:
False
Abundance at site:
Scarce

Cola clavata Mast.

Qualifying sub-criterion:
A(i)
≥ 1% of global population:
True
≥ 5% of national population:
True
1 of 5 best sites nationally:
True
Entire global population:
False
Socio-economically important:
False
Abundance at site:
Common

Khaya anthotheca C.DC.

Qualifying sub-criterion:
A(i)
≥ 1% of global population:
False
≥ 5% of national population:
False
1 of 5 best sites nationally:
False
Entire global population:
False
Socio-economically important:
True
Abundance at site:
Unknown

Monodora stenopetala Oliv.

Qualifying sub-criterion:
A(i)
≥ 1% of global population:
True
≥ 5% of national population:
True
1 of 5 best sites nationally:
True
Entire global population:
False
Socio-economically important:
False
Abundance at site:
Unknown

Habenaria stylites Rchb.f. & S.Moore subsp. johnsonii (Rolfe) Summerh.

Qualifying sub-criterion:
A(i)
≥ 1% of global population:
True
≥ 5% of national population:
True
1 of 5 best sites nationally:
True
Entire global population:
False
Socio-economically important:
False
Abundance at site:
Unknown

Cordia torrei E.S.Martins

Qualifying sub-criterion:
A(i)
≥ 1% of global population:
True
≥ 5% of national population:
True
1 of 5 best sites nationally:
True
Entire global population:
False
Socio-economically important:
False
Abundance at site:
Scarce

Vepris myrei (Exell & Mendonça) Mziray

Qualifying sub-criterion:
A(i)
≥ 1% of global population:
True
≥ 5% of national population:
True
1 of 5 best sites nationally:
True
Entire global population:
False
Socio-economically important:
False
Abundance at site:
Unknown

IPA criterion C qualifying habitats

Habitat Qualifying sub-criterion ≥ 5% of national resource ≥ 10% of national resource 1 of 5 best sites nationally Areal coverage at site
Inhamitanga Sand Forest C(iii) True True True

Inhamitanga Sand Forest

Qualifying sub-criterion:
C(iii)
≥ 5% of national resource:
True
≥ 10% of national resource:
True
Areal coverage at site:

General site habitats

General site habitat Percent coverage Importance
Savanna - Moist Savanna No value Major
Forest - Subtropical/Tropical Dry Forest No value Major
Grassland - Subtropical/Tropical Seasonally Wet/Flooded Lowland Grassland No value Minor
Wetlands (inland) - Seasonal/Intermittent Freshwater Marshes/Pools [under 8 ha] No value Minor

Savanna - Moist Savanna

Percent coverage:
No value
Importance:
Major

Forest - Subtropical/Tropical Dry Forest

Percent coverage:
No value
Importance:
Major

Grassland - Subtropical/Tropical Seasonally Wet/Flooded Lowland Grassland

Percent coverage:
No value
Importance:
Minor

Wetlands (inland) - Seasonal/Intermittent Freshwater Marshes/Pools [under 8 ha]

Percent coverage:
No value
Importance:
Minor

Land use types

Land use type Percent coverage Importance
Nature conservation No value Major
Tourism / Recreation No value Minor
Forestry No value Major
Extractive industry No value Minor

Nature conservation

Percent coverage:
No value
Importance:
Major

Tourism / Recreation

Percent coverage:
No value
Importance:
Minor

Forestry

Percent coverage:
No value
Importance:
Major

Extractive industry

Percent coverage:
No value
Importance:
Minor

Threats

Threat Severity Timing
Natural system modifications - Fire & fire suppression - Increase in fire frequency/intensity Medium Past, likely to return

Natural system modifications - Fire & fire suppression - Increase in fire frequency/intensity

Severity:
Medium
Timing:
Past, likely to return

Protected areas

Protected area name Protected area type Relationship with IPA Areal overlap
Inhamitanga Forest Reserve (conservation) protected/conservation area is adjacent to IPA No value

Inhamitanga

Protected area type:
Forest Reserve (conservation)
Relationship with IPA:
protected/conservation area is adjacent to IPA
Areal overlap:
No value

Conservation designation

Designation name Protected area Relationship with IPA Areal overlap
Zambezi Delta Important Bird Area protected/conservation area is adjacent to IPA No value
Zambezi Delta Ramsar protected/conservation area is adjacent to IPA No value
Gorongosa-Marromeu Key Biodiversity Area protected/conservation area encompasses IPA 370

Zambezi Delta

Protected area:
Important Bird Area
Relationship with IPA:
protected/conservation area is adjacent to IPA
Areal overlap:
No value

Zambezi Delta

Protected area:
Ramsar
Relationship with IPA:
protected/conservation area is adjacent to IPA
Areal overlap:
No value

Gorongosa-Marromeu

Protected area:
Key Biodiversity Area
Relationship with IPA:
protected/conservation area encompasses IPA
Areal overlap:
370

Management type

Management type Description Year started Year finished
Sustainable Forestry management in place Sustainable forestry management of the site by TCT Dalmann. 1996 No value

Sustainable Forestry management in place

Sustainable forestry management of the site by TCT Dalmann.
Year started:
1996
Year finished:
No value

Bibliography

Müller, T., Sitoe, A. & Mabunda, R., 2005

Assessment of the Forest Reserve Network in Mozambique.

Available online

Burgess, N., Salehe, J., Doggart, N., Clarke, G.P., Gordon, I., Sumbi, P. & Rodgers, A., 2004

Coastal Forests of Eastern Africa

Hotspots revisited: Earth’s biologically richest and most endangered eco-systems, page(s) 231–239

catapu.net, 2020

Catapu

Available online

Cheek, M., Luke, Q., Matimele, H., Banze, A. & Lawrence, P., 2019

Cola species of the limestone forests of Africa, with a new, endangered species, Cola cheringoma (Sterculiaceae), from Cheringoma, Mozambique

Kew Bulletin, Vol 74 (pub. Springer London), page(s) 1-14

Coates Palgrave, F.M., Burrows, J.E., Timberlake, J., Alves, M.T., Contu, S., Hyde, M.A., Luke, W.R.Q., Massingue, A.O., Matimele, H.A., Raimondo, D., Osborne, J. & Hadj-Hammou, J., 2014

Acacia torrei. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2014: e.T19891788A63707954

Available online

Coates Palgrave, M., Van Wyk, A. E., Jordaan, M., White, J. A. & Sweet, P., 2007

A reconnaissance survey of the woody flora and vegetation of the Catapú logging concession, Cheringoma District, Mozambique

Bothalia, Vol 37, page(s) 57-73

Hardaker, T. & Sinclair, I., 2001

Sasol Birding Map of Southern Africa

Hawthorne, W., 1998

Khaya anthotheca. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 1998: e.T32235A9690061

Available online

Premier African Minerals, 2020

Catapu Limestone Project

Available online

Remane, I.A.D. & Therrell, M.D., 2019

Tree-ring analysis for sustainable harvest of Millettia stuhlmannii in Mozambique

South African Journal of Botany, Vol 125, page(s) 120-125 Available online

Riddell, I., Lockwood, G., Marais, E., Davis, G., Parker, V., The Mutare Bird Club and BirdLife Zimbabwe, n.d.

The Birds of Catapú

The Birds and Trees of Catapú and environs Available online

Rodrigues, C.J., Bettencourt, A.J. and Rijo, L., 1975

Races of the Pathogen and Resistance to Coffee Rust

Annual Review of Phytopathology, Vol 13, page(s) 49-70

Smith, T.J., 2004

Important Plant Areas (IPAs) in Southern Africa

Southern African Botanical Diversity Network Report, Vol 39

Symes, C., 2012

Mangrove Kingfishers (Halcyon senegaloides; Aves: Alcedinidae) nesting in arboreal Nasutitermes (Isoptera: Termitidae Nasutitermitinae) termitaria in central Mozambique

Annals of the Ditsong National Museum of Natural History, Vol 2, page(s) 146-152

TCT Dalmann, 2020

Catapu

Available online

Timberlake, J. & Chidumayo, E., 2011

Miombo Ecoregion Vision Report

Occasional Publications in Biodiversity, Vol 20

Mynard, P. & Rokni, S., 2019

Cordia megiae. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2019: e.T141800272A141800288

Available online

Coates Palgrave, F.M., Hyde, M.A., Alves, M.T., Burrows, J.E., Massingue, A.O., Matimele, H.A., Raimondo, D. & Timberlake, J., 2014

Dorstenia zambesiaca. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2014: e.T63707797A63707800

Available online

World Weather Online, 2021

Inhamitanga Monthly Climate Averages

Available online

Mozambique News Agency, 2016

Gorongosa National Park to expand

Available online

Parque Nacional da Gorongosa, 2020

Our Gorongosa – Together we create real impact 2020

Available online

Recommended citation

Sophie Richards, Iain Darbyshire (2024) Tropical Important Plant Areas Explorer: Catapú (Mozambique). https://tipas.kew.org/site/catapu-2/ (Accessed on 21/05/2024)