Panda-Manjacaze

MOZTIPA016
Panda-Manjacaze

Country: Mozambique

Administrative region: Inhambane (Province)

Central co-ordinates: 24.18378 S, 34.12489 E

Area: 2599km²

Qualifying IPA Criteria

A(i)Site contains one or more globally threatened species, A(iv)Site contains one or more range restricted endemic species that are potentially threatened

IPA assessment rationale

The Panda-Manjacaze area qualifies as an IPA under criteria A and C. Under criterion A(i), the site supports important populations of five globally threatened plants – it is the only known site globally for Guibourtia sousae (CR) and is the only site within the Mozambique IPA network for Cola dorrii (EN). Under criterion A(iv), the range-restricted Mozambique endemic Indigofera mendoncae (DD) occurs at this site; again, this is the only site for this species within the IPA network.

Site description

The Panda-Manjacaze IPA covers an area of ca. 2,600 km2, in Panda District of southwest Inhambane Province and Manjacaze (Mandlakazi) and Chibuto Districts of southeast Gaza Province. It lies to the northwest of the Panda-Manjacaze road (417), west of Panda town and north of Manjacaze town, ca. 60 – 120 km inland from the Indian Ocean coastline. This large area supports a rich mosaic of habitats including important areas of dry forests on deep sands which are important for a range of rare and threatened plant species some of which are on the northern edges of their range here. The site overlaps with an Important Bird Area, the Panda Brachystegia woodlands IBA, but is not formally protected at present.

Botanical significance

Significant areas of Androstachys johnsonii-dominated dry forest occur within the Panda-Manjacaze site. This timber tree, the only species in the genus Androstachys, occurs in southern Africa and Madagascar where it forms dense stands, usually in well-drained rocky areas. In Inhambane it forms a distinctive dry forest on raised sands. The timber, known locally as ‘mecrusse’ or ‘cimbirre’, is durable and sought after for construction and, as a result, Androstachys forest has become fragmented both nationally and within this IPA. The sand forest habitat at Panda-Manjacaze supports several globally threatened plant species. These include the Critically Endangered Guibourtia sousae, a tree species apparently endemic to this IPA, where it is known only from the type collection from 1936 (Gomes e Sousa #1927; Darbyshire et al. 2018). This species has not been rediscovered despite recent efforts (Osborne et al. 2019; J.E. Burrows, pers. comm.), but it could be easily overlooked as it is vegetatively similar to G. conjugata which is a common component of these dry forests. Two Endangered Maputaland endemic species, Cola dorrii and Xylopia torrei, were first discovered within this IPA during botanical fieldwork in 2019 (Osborne et al. 2019) and this site represents the northernmost limits of their respective ranges. The Vulnerable taxa Acridocarpus natalitius var. linearifolius and Euphorbia baylissii are also recorded from these forests, and several other notable shrubby species occur, including the localised and uncommon Ephippiocarpa orientalis, the Mozambican near-endemic Microcos (Grewia) microthyrsa and the Maputaland endemic Psydrax fragrantissima (NT).
The seasonally wet grasslands that occur extensively between the raised sands also support a number of interesting species, include the little-known national endemic Indigofera mendoncae (DD) and the scarce Striga junodii for which this is, again, one of the northernmost known localities. Other significant species that occur within the IPA include the scarce national endemic Celosia nervosa (DD), and important populations of two near-endemic species that are assessed as Near-Threatened, the scarce erect or scrambling shrub Sclerochiton coeruleus and the cycad Encephalartos ferox subsp. ferox. Large areas of the site are not well-studied botanically and other notable plant species are likely to occur here. In addition to the sand forest habitat, the Panda-Manjacaze IPA includes valuable woodlands, wetlands, and seasonally flooded savanna grasslands.

Habitat and geology

The Panda-Manjacaze IPA is in a low-lying area of mostly flat terrain on sandy soils on gently undulating Quaternary dune deposits, with an elevation ranging from 20 to 150 m asl. The site consists of a mosaic of habitats depending on the gradual variation in elevation, with large areas of woodland and seasonally wet savanna grassland, and smaller areas of dry forest, groundwater forest, lakes, and wetlands. Much of the survey work from which the following habitat notes are derived was conducted in the area between Chichococha and Chihuwane to the southwest of Panda (Osborne et al. 2019).
On satellite imagery (Google Earth Pro 2021), Androstachys-dominated dry forest fragments are clearly distinguishable by their very dark green colour compared to the surrounding paler green secondary forest and woodland. The Androstachys forest tends to support few other tree species, with the exception of Guibourtia conjugata, which can be co-dominant and is also the dominant species in surrounding secondary forest. A range of understorey shrubs are frequent, including Croton pseudopulchellus, Drypetes arguta, Hyperacanthus microphyllus, Salacia leptoclada, Suregada zanzibarensis and Vepris sp., with Boscia foetida, Combretum celastroides and Margaritaria discoidea common along margins and clearings. Warneckea sansibarica can be frequent in the understorey of Guibourtia-dominated forest. Some small patches of a more thicket-like woodland with Diospyros rotundifolia, Mimusops caffra and Ochna natalitia are noted on deep sands, appearing reminiscent of the coastal woodlands and thickets of Maputaland.
The extensive miombo woodlands here are almost exclusively dominated by Brachystegia spiciformis, often in pure stands. Much of the woodland is secondary with a canopy height of ca. 8 m though occasional larger trees remain including to 15 m tall and 50 cm dbh. A range of herbs and shrubs occur in the understorey, and the cycad Encephalartos ferox subsp. ferox is frequent in some woodland patches. A drier miombo woodland, the Pangue dry miombo of Lötter et al. (in prep.), is recorded from the north of the IPA.
Extensive savanna grasslands occur in low-lying, seasonally wet areas and are interspersed with small woodland patches. These areas burn naturally in the dry season, as indicated by an abundance of perennial suffruticose species with signs of previous burning at the stem bases. Common grass species recorded here include Chrysopogon serrulatus, Cymbopogon caesius, Diheteropogon amplectens, Eragrostis sp. and Setaria sphacelata. Common woody species include the palms Hyphaene coriacea and Phoenix reclinata, together with Acacia sp., Syzygium cordatum and Terminalia sericea, whilst Brachystegia spiciformis occurs in drier areas. The suffruticose shrub Salacia kraussii is abundant at the transition between woodland patches and open grassland. The grasslands support a range of herbaceous species, such as Bergia decumbens, Chamaecrista paralias, Leucas milanjiana and Vahlia capensis subsp. vulgaris.
Areas of groundwater (swamp) forest occur in the lowest-lying areas, usually as ribbons along seasonal rivers and streams. These are dominated by Syzygium cordatum, while the forest floor is dominated by the giant climbing fern Stenochlaena tenuifolia. Other notable tree species in this habitat are Ficus trichopoda and Voacanga thouarsii. Some large wetlands occur, with reedbeds and permanent or seasonal lakes, but these have not been well surveyed botanically to date.

Conservation issues

Ongoing and unsustainable logging of Androstachys johnsonii has led to fragmentation of Androstachys dry forest within the Panda-Manjacaze IPA. As evident from satellite imagery (Google Earth Pro 2021), the fragmentation is particularly apparent in Panda District of Inhambane, while there appears to be larger and more intact forest patches remaining in neighbouring Gaza to the north of Manjacaze, although botanical survey is needed to confirm the quality of this forest. Regeneration of Androstachys on cleared land and within secondary forest patches was not seen during fieldwork in 2019 (Osborne et al., pers. obs.). Logging of the miombo woodlands for timber and charcoal production is also resulting in declines in this habitat, although miombo remains extensive at present.
There is currently very little settlement within the site, although agricultural fields surround the site to the east, south and west and may potentially expand into the IPA in the future. Other potential conservation issues include low intensity grazing of cattle and goats in the savanna grasslands, and the occasional presence of invasive Opuntia sp. in some areas of miombo woodland, particularly around the margins (Osborne et al. 2019). However, at present, these do not appear to pose a serious threat to this site. The extension of the IPA across two Provinces, Inhambane (Panda) and Gaza (Manjacaze-Chibuto) may present challenges for management and so this IPA may need to be divided in the future for conservation management purposes.
The IPA overlaps with an Important Bird Area, the Panda Brachystegia woodlands IBA (Birdlife International 2021), reinforcing the biodiversity value and case for formal protection of this site. The miombo woodlands here are of particular importance for holding a disjunct population of Olive-headed Weaver (Ploceus olivaceiceps, NT). A population of African Elephant (Loxodonta africana, EN) is noteworthy, and evidence for their presence in the groundwater forests southwest of Panda was noted during recent fieldwork (Osborne et al. 2019). This area would also qualify as an Alliance for Zero Extinction (AZE) site based on the presence of Guibourtia sousae, although it is not in the current AZE network and was also not included within the recent Key Biodiversity Areas assessment for Mozambique.

Ecosystem services

The Panda-Manjacaze IPA supports a significant population of the important timber tree species, Androstachys johnsonii known as ‘mecrusse’, ‘cimbirre’ or ‘Lebombo ironwood’, which forms a distinctive and valuable dry forest habitat for flora and fauna. The site also contains large areas of woodland and seasonally wet savanna grassland habitats, overall supporting a high plant diversity across a habitat mosaic and providing diverse habitat for wildlife. In addition to Androstachys johnsonii, a range of other socio-economically important plants occur within the site including two palm species Hyphaene coriacea and Phoenix reclinata; the shrub Salacia kraussii; and the tree species Brachystegia spiciformis, Dolichandrone alba, Guibourbia conjugata, Syzygium cordatum, and Terminalia sericea. The vegetation contributes to carbon sequestration and storage.

Site assessor(s)

Jo Osborne, 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
Xylopia torrei N.Robson A(i) True True True False False Scarce
Guibourtia sousae J.Leonard A(i) False False False True False Scarce
Acridocarpus natalitius A.Juss. var. linearifolius Launert A(i) False False False False False Unknown
Euphorbia baylissii L.C.Leach A(i) True False False False False Unknown
Cola dorrii Cheek A(i) True True True False False Occasional
Indigofera mendoncae J.B.Gillett A(iv) True True True False False Unknown

Xylopia torrei N.Robson

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

Guibourtia sousae J.Leonard

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:
True
Socio-economically important:
False
Abundance at site:
Scarce

Acridocarpus natalitius A.Juss. var. linearifolius Launert

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:
False
Abundance at site:
Unknown

Euphorbia baylissii L.C.Leach

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

Cola dorrii Cheek

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

Indigofera mendoncae J.B.Gillett

Qualifying sub-criterion:
A(iv)
≥ 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

General site habitats

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

Forest - Subtropical/Tropical Dry Forest

Percent coverage:
No value
Importance:
Major

Savanna - Moist Savanna

Percent coverage:
No value
Importance:
Major

Grassland - Subtropical/Tropical Seasonally Wet/Flooded Lowland Grassland

Percent coverage:
No value
Importance:
Major

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

Percent coverage:
No value
Importance:
Major

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

Percent coverage:
No value
Importance:
Major

Artificial - Terrestrial - Subtropical/Tropical Heavily Degraded Former Forest

Percent coverage:
No value
Importance:
Minor

Land use types

Land use type Percent coverage Importance
Agriculture (arable) No value Minor
Agriculture (pastoral) No value Minor
Forestry No value Major
Harvesting of wild resources No value Major

Agriculture (arable)

Percent coverage:
No value
Importance:
Minor

Agriculture (pastoral)

Percent coverage:
No value
Importance:
Minor

Forestry

Percent coverage:
No value
Importance:
Major

Harvesting of wild resources

Percent coverage:
No value
Importance:
Major

Threats

Threat Severity Timing
Biological resource use - Logging & wood harvesting High Ongoing - trend unknown
Agriculture & aquaculture - Livestock farming & ranching - Small-holder grazing, ranching or farming Low Ongoing - trend unknown
Invasive & other problematic species, genes & diseases - Invasive non-native/alien species/diseases - Named species Low Ongoing - trend unknown
Agriculture & aquaculture - Annual & perennial non-timber crops - Small-holder farming Low Ongoing - trend unknown

Biological resource use - Logging & wood harvesting

Severity:
High
Timing:
Ongoing - trend unknown

Agriculture & aquaculture - Livestock farming & ranching - Small-holder grazing, ranching or farming

Severity:
Low
Timing:
Ongoing - trend unknown

Invasive & other problematic species, genes & diseases - Invasive non-native/alien species/diseases - Named species

Severity:
Low
Timing:
Ongoing - trend unknown

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

Severity:
Low
Timing:
Ongoing - trend unknown

Conservation designation

Designation name Protected area Relationship with IPA Areal overlap
Panda Brachystegia woodlands Important Bird Area protected/conservation area overlaps with IPA No value

Panda Brachystegia woodlands

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

Management type

Management type Description Year started Year finished
No management plan in place N/A No value No value

No management plan in place

N/A
Year started:
No value
Year finished:
No value

Bibliography

Google Earth, 2020

Google Earth Satellite Imagery

Available online

Lötter, M., Burrows, J., McCleland, W., Stalmans, M., Schmidt, E., Soares, M., Grantham, H., Jones, K., Duarte, E., Matimele, H. & Costa, H. M., In Prep

Historical Vegetation Map and Red List of Ecosystems Assessment for Mozambique – Version 1.0 – Final report

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

Guibourtia sousae. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2018: e.T34500A120980003.

Available online

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

Mozambique TIPAs Fieldwork Report: Inhambane Province - Panda, Mabote and Lagoa Poelela, Jan-Feb 2019.

BirdLife International, 2021

Important Bird Areas factsheet: Panda Brachystegia woodlands.

Available online

Recommended citation

Jo Osborne, Iain Darbyshire (2024) Tropical Important Plant Areas Explorer: Panda-Manjacaze (Mozambique). https://tipas.kew.org/site/panda-manjacaze-2/ (Accessed on 21/05/2024)