Inharrime-Závora

MOZTIPA044
Inharrime-Závora

Country: Mozambique

Administrative region: Inhambane (Province)

Central co-ordinates: 24.58704 S, 35.13056 E

Area: 31.9km²

Qualifying IPA Criteria

A(i)Site contains one or more globally threatened species

IPA assessment rationale

Inharrime-Závora qualifies as an IPA under sub-criterion A(i) of the Important Plant Area criteria due to the presence of three globally Vulnerable species. Five endemic species have also been recorded; however, this only represents 1% of B(ii) qualifying species, less than the 3% threshold required. The intact coastal habitat at this site is also of botanical importance as much of this vegetation has been transformed or degraded across Inhambane Province and the Inhambane Centre of Endemism. At present, however, there is insufficient data to assess this site under sub-criterion C(iii).

Site description

Inharrime-Závora is a coastal IPA spanning either side of the boundary between Inharrime and Zavala Districts of Inhambane Province. The site is 31.9km2 in area and falls within the Inhambane Centre of Endemism (Darbyshire et al. 2019). Like much of the coastal region of this Centre of Endemism, the site is under pressure from conversion of habitat to agriculture, however, the coastal dune vegetation here is largely intact. The IPA extends from Ponta Závora in the north-east, 20 km in a south-westerly direction towards Lagoa Maiene, with Lagoa Poelela falling to the south-west of the site.

Botanical significance

The coastal vegetation of southern Inhambane is under high pressure from agriculture and large areas have already been degraded. The stretch of largely intact coastal dunes within this IPA is, therefore, of botanical importance. This habitat hosts three globally Vulnerable species: Euphorbia baylissii, an endemic species restricted to the southern coastal areas of Mozambique, alongside Allophyllus mossambicensis and Elaeodendron fruticosum, which are both endemic to Gaza and Inhambane Provinces. All three species are threatened throughout their range by conversion of coastal habitat to machambas and, to a lesser extent, the expansion of tourism. While both of these threats are present within this IPA, there is still a significant stretch of intact coastal habitat at this site and so it is a globally significant location for the conservation of these species.
In total, there are five endemic species within this IPA. Most of these species are concentrated on the coastal dunes in the core zone. One species of interest is an as yet undescribed species of Eugenia, Eugenia sp. A of Trees and Shrubs of Mozambique (Burrows et al. 2018). Recorded at Ponta Závora, this species is only known from the coastlines of Inhambane, Gaza and Maputo Provinces.
Outside the IPA, four endemic species have been recorded towards Inharrime town. Two species, Baphia ovata (NT) and Psydrax moggii, were recorded relatively recently, in 2007 (Burrows #10109) and 2009 (Burrows # 11082) respectively, from fragments of thicket vegetation at the lake edges. However, two other endemics recorded around Lagoa Poelela, Spermacoce kirkii and Millettia ebenifera, were recorded in 1955 (Exell #666) and 1944 (Mendonça #3372). Due to the highly degraded habitat beyond the coastal forest, however, these localities around Lagoa Poelela were excluded from the IPA; although some of these species may well be found within the site boundaries with further investigation.

Habitat and geology

The underlying geology of this site is of Quaternary sandstone and the soils are predominantly sandy, with some recent alluvium distributed by the rivers (Impacto Lda. 2012). Average temperatures range from 19°C in July to 28.6°C in January. The dry season is between May and October, while 74% of annual precipitation falls between November and April (República de Moçambique Ministério da Administração Estatal 2005).
Only very limited botanical surveys have been undertaken within this IPA, although recent botanic collections have been made at Ponta Závora in 2005 (J.E. Burrows and S.M. Burrows), around Lago Tsene in 2019 (see Osborne et al. 2019). The site is dominated by dense, dune thicket-forest. As with most coastal vegetation, there is a successional gradient from the foredunes to the older dunes further inland. Pioneer communities consist of species such as Sesuvium portulacastrum, Cyperus crassipes, Scaevola plumieri and Ipomoea pes-caprae, while shrubs such as Eugenia capensis subsp. capensis and Diospyros rotundifolia occur further back from the coastline at the top of the beach (Impacto Lda. 2012; Osborne et al. 2019).
Moving inland beyond these pioneer communities, trees such as Craibia zimmermanii and Afzelia quanzensis occupy the dune slopes, with the occasional Euphorbia baylissii in the shaded understory (Osborne et al. 2019). In the middle of the dune system, thicket dominate the vegetation. The species composition of these thickets includes Olax dissitiflora and Cassia abbreviata, and on older dunes the thicket canopy is around 4 m tall (Osborne #1670). The topology of the dunes provides a variety of micro-habitats, including sheltered dune slacks that host small numbers of Encephalartos ferox subsp. ferox (NT). As the thicket transitions into coastal dry forest on older dunes, with a canopy height of around 5 m, Mimusops caffra begins to dominate while other species such as Suregada zanzibariensis and Drypetes natalensis are common (Osborne et al. 2019).
Around the back of the dune system and further inland, there are a number of lagoons and channels are present at Inharrime-Závora. The lagoons in this IPA are brackish, although less saline than sea water (Hill et al. 1975). The largest body of water, Lagoa Poelela, is connected via 75 km of channels and other lagoons to the Indian Ocean. The edges of these lakes have herbaceous communities consisting mostly of Cyperaceae species, including Cyperus laevigatus, C. natalensis, and Fimbristylis dichotoma, alongside Phragmites (probably P. mauritianus) (Impacto Lda. 2012).
There has been extensive clearance of the vegetation for machambas towards the back of the dune system. Osborne et al. (2019) note that while clearings were more frequent further inland, there were also some smaller clearings observed closer to the foredunes. Crops grown in the Inharrime coastal area include rice, corn, manioc, peanuts, cashews, beans and pineapples (Impacto Lda. 2012). Small-scale coconut plantations are also frequent, with some occurring near Lagoa Poelela within this IPA (J. Osborne, pers. comm. 2021). Where machambas have been abandoned, secondary vegetation includes cashew trees (Anacardium occidentale), Salacia kraussii and Chrysocoma mozambicensis (Osborne et al. 2019).

Conservation issues

The site does not fall within a protected area, Key Biodiversity Area, Important Bird Area or RAMSAR site.
The primary threat to the vegetation within this IPA is shifting agriculture. Much of the area between Inharrime town and the coastline has already been converted to machambas, leaving only fragments of miombo. The IPA itself is under intense pressure from further expansion of agricultural land. Clearance of coastal forest at the south-eastern edge of Lagoa Poelela commenced in the mid-2000s, with the most significant clearances taking place in between 2010 and 2013 (World Resources Institute 2021). In 2019, small patches of burned vegetation, in the process of being cleared, were observed towards the foredunes, further highlighting the continued threat to the coastal dunes (Osborne et al. 2019). It is likely that the use of burning for vegetation clearance also poses the additional threat of uncontrolled fires, clearing wider swathes of vegetation than intended.
In addition to agriculture, the harvesting of trees threatens the integrity of the remnants of natural vegetation in the area. The main source of domestic fuel in Inharrime District is firewood while local timber is used for construction. For some Inharrime residents, depletion of resources has reached such an extent that they must travel over 5 km to find firewood (República de Moçambique Ministério da Administração Estatal 2005). Sustainable resource usage strategies in both Inharrime and Zavala Districts would help relieve pressure on the IPA while also securing essential resources for local people into the future. According to a 2012 report of the Inharrime coastal area, there were plans to introduce a land-use management plan for the district (Impacto Lda. 2012), however, it is unclear how much progress has been made to this end.
Towards Ponta Závora, further development of tourism may be a threat to habitats (Matimele et al. 2018). Dense coastal forest has already been cleared to make way for tourist accommodation. However, the forest setting contributes to the visitor experience (Nhanombe Lodge 2021) which may, to some extent, limit degradation of habitat.
The vertebrate taxa of this site have not yet been inventoried; however, there is a marine lab based at Závora.

Ecosystem services

Fruits are harvested from coastal species such as Diospyros rotundifolia, Phoenix reclinata and Salacia kraussii by local people (Osborne et al. 2019). Wood is also used as a source of timber and fuel, although these resources are currently being unsustainably harvested in some areas (República de Moçambique Ministério da Administração Estatal 2005).
Ponta Závora and Lagoa Poelea both host tourists and, while the focus is mostly on water sports and marine wildlife, the dune vegetation in which accommodation is situated likely contributes to the visitor experience (Nhanombe Lodge 2021). There could be scope for expanding the tourist offer, particularly including terrestrial landscapes.
A lighthouse at Ponta Závora, built in 1910, is one of the few remaining, operational, light houses in Mozambique (Harrison & Finnegan 2021). There are a number of old buildings at Ponta Závora built during Portuguese colonial rule, that may be of historic interest.

Site assessor(s)

Sophie Richards, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew

Iain Darbyshire, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew

Jo Osborne, 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
Euphorbia baylissii L.C.Leach A(i) True True True False False Frequent
Elaeodendron fruticosum N.Robson A(i) True True False False False Unknown
Allophylus mossambicensis Exell A(i) True True True False False Scarce

Euphorbia baylissii L.C.Leach

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

Elaeodendron fruticosum N.Robson

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

Allophylus mossambicensis Exell

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

General site habitats

General site habitat Percent coverage Importance
Forest 10 Minor
Wetlands (inland) - Permanent Freshwater Lakes [over 8 ha] 30 Major
Savanna - Moist Savanna No value Major
Artificial - Terrestrial - Arable Land No value Major

Forest

Percent coverage:
10
Importance:
Minor

Wetlands (inland) - Permanent Freshwater Lakes [over 8 ha]

Percent coverage:
30
Importance:
Major

Savanna - Moist Savanna

Percent coverage:
No value
Importance:
Major

Artificial - Terrestrial - Arable Land

Percent coverage:
No value
Importance:
Major

Land use types

Land use type Percent coverage Importance
Agriculture (arable) No value Major
Tourism / Recreation No value Minor

Agriculture (arable)

Percent coverage:
No value
Importance:
Major

Tourism / Recreation

Percent coverage:
No value
Importance:
Minor

Threats

Threat Severity Timing
Agriculture & aquaculture - Annual & perennial non-timber crops - Small-holder farming High Ongoing - trend unknown
Residential & commercial development - Tourism & recreation areas Medium Ongoing - trend unknown
Residential & commercial development - Housing & urban areas Low Ongoing - trend unknown
Biological resource use - Logging & wood harvesting Low Ongoing - trend unknown

Agriculture & aquaculture - Annual & perennial non-timber crops - Small-holder farming

Severity:
High
Timing:
Ongoing - trend unknown

Residential & commercial development - Tourism & recreation areas

Severity:
Medium
Timing:
Ongoing - trend unknown

Residential & commercial development - Housing & urban areas

Severity:
Low
Timing:
Ongoing - trend unknown

Biological resource use - Logging & wood harvesting

Severity:
Low
Timing:
Ongoing - trend unknown

Management type

Management type Description Year started Year finished
No management plan in place Land use plan possibly in development. No value No value

No management plan in place

Land use plan possibly in development.
Year started:
No value
Year finished:
No value

Bibliography

Darbyshire, I., Timberlake, J., Osborne, J., Rokni, S., Matimele, H., Langa, C., Datizua, C., de Sousa, C., Alves, T., Massingue, A., Hadj-Hammou, J., Dhanda, S., Shah, T. & Wursten, B., 2019

The endemic plants of Mozambique: diversity and conservation status

PhytoKeys, Vol 136, page(s) 45-96 Available online

Burrows, J., Burrows, S., Lötter, M. & Schmidt, E., 2018

Trees and Shrubs Mozambique

Matimele, H., Alves, M., Baptista, O., Bezeng, S., Darbyshire, I., Datizua, C., De Sousa, C., Langa, C., Massingue, A., Mtshali, H., Mucaleque, P., Odorico, D., Osborne, J., Raimondo, D., Rokni, S., Sitoe, P., Timberlake, J., Viegas, A. & Vilanculos, A., 2018

Euphorbia baylissii. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2018: e.T120955807A120980243

Available online

Harrison, T., & Finnegan, K., 2021

Lighthouse Explorer Database: Ponta Zavora Light

Lighthouse Digest Available online

Hill, B.J., Blaber, S.J.M. & Boltt, R.E., 1975

The Limnology of Lagoa Poelela

Transactions of the Royal Society of South Africa, Vol 41, page(s) 263-271 Available online

Impacto Lda., 2012

Perfil Ambiental e Mapeamento Do Uso Actual Da Terra Nos Distritos Da Zona Costeira de Moçambique: Distrito de Inharrime Província (Versão Preliminar)

Available online

Nhanombe Lodge, 2021

Things to do in Zavora Mozambique

Available online

Osborne, J., Langa, C., Datizua C., & Darbyshire, I., 2019

Inhambane Province – Panda, Mabote and Lagoa Poelela, Jan-Feb 2019

Available online

República de Moçambique Ministério da Administração Estatal, 2005

Perfil Do Distrito de Inharrime Província de Inhambane

Available online

Global Forest Watch, 2021

Global Forest Watch

Available online

Recommended citation

Sophie Richards, Iain Darbyshire, Jo Osborne (2024) Tropical Important Plant Areas Explorer: Inharrime-Závora (Mozambique). https://tipas.kew.org/site/inharrime-zavora/ (Accessed on 27/05/2024)