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Number of IPAs: 57
Area of IPAs: 3% of total land area
Image © I. Darbyshire / RGB Kew
In total, 57 Important Plant Areas (IPAs) have been identified covering just 3% of Mozambique’s terrestrial land area. The IPAs of Mozambique were identified as part of the Tropical Important Plant Areas programme by partners from the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Instituto de Investigação Agrária de Moçambique, Eduardo Mondlane University and the Durrell Institute of Conservation and Ecology.
These sites encompass important populations of over 80% of Mozambique’s threatened plant taxa (over 270 threatened taxa) and around two thirds of the country’s endemic and range-restricted species (over 370 taxa). Sites range in landscape scale, the largest being Panda-Manjacaze IPA covering 2,599 km2 of wetland, miombo and dry forest mosaic, to Bobole IPA with an area of just 0.23 m2 focussed largely on the Raphia australis population within Bobole Botanical Reserve.
A range of threatened and restricted habitat types are encompassed within the IPA network such as: montane forests rich in endemic species, Icuria Coastal Dry Forest with stands dominated by the endemic and Endangered species Icuria dunensis, and Cheringoma Limestone Forest, Mozambique’s only forest occurring on limestone substrate.
Mozambique’s rich and varied flora consists of over 6,000 native and naturalised plant taxa, 270 of which are strict-endemic and 400 near-endemic taxa. Mozambique also encompasses parts of three biodiversity hotspots (Coastal Forests of Eastern Africa, Maputaland–Pondoland-Albany and Eastern Afromontane) and has six proposed Centres of Plant Endemism.
Endemic and near-endemic plants are particularly at risk, with many being threatened by habitat loss, particularly due to agricultural expansion. Around 60% of Mozambique’s endemic and near-endemic plant taxa are threatened with extinction as a result. The dependence of much of Mozambique’s population on subsistence agriculture and a growing human population puts huge pressure on Mozambique’s habitats and unique flora. Most of the IPAs themselves are impacted by these threats and no single IPA is threat-free; however, conservation of these priority areas for Mozambique’s flora would make a significant contribution towards protecting these species for future generations.
To this end, the Mozambique Tropical Important Plant Areas (TIPAs) team are using the IPA network as the focus for both in situ and ex situ conservation projects. Seed banking of Mozambique’s threatened, endemic and socio-economically important plant taxa will use the IPAs identified as target sites for collection, while conservation initiatives are underway to protect areas of the threatened Icuria Coastal Dry Forest habitat within IPAs in Nampula and Zambézia provinces of Mozambique, and to restore the Raphia australis population within Bobole IPA.
Information about critical sites for plant diversity in the tropics
Steep granite slopes with Encephalartos turneri and Euphorbia mlanjeana by I. Darbyshire
Sera de Ribáuè, with Aloe Ribauensis in the foreground by I. Darbyshire
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