|Location||South Africa, Mpumalanga|
|Central coordinates||30o 50.00' East 25o 2.00' South|
|IBA criteria||A1, A2, A3|
|Altitude||1,200 - 1,700m|
|Year of IBA assessment||2001|
Ornithological information See Box and Tables 2 and 3 for key species. The rivers running through the area support small populations of Gorsachius leuconotus and Podica senegalensis. The remaining grasslands hold a relatively large population of Bucorvus cafer. Other notable birds include Saxicola bifasciata (grassland) and Promerops gurneyi (in the proteoid woodland). The forest patches are the most interesting natural habitat within the complex, supporting Stephanoaetus coronatus, Buteo oreophilus, Tauraco corythaix, Zoothera gurneyi, Lioptilus nigricapillus, Cossypha dichroa, Cercotrichas signata, Bradypterus barratti, Estrilda melanotis and Serinus scotops.
Site description Located within the South African mistbelt, between Graskop and Sabie, this site consists of a patchwork of forestry plantations that still hold superb patches of fragmented indigenous forest, as well as some remaining grassland and sheer cliffs. The site consists of Mariti, Waterhoutboom, Mac-Mac, Frankfort, Bergvliet, Klipkraal, Rietfontein, Waterfal and Ceylon plantations. Approximately 60% of the area is under pine Pinus plantation, while the remaining 40% holds escarpment cliffs with associated grassland and indigenous forest.Fragmented patches of indigenous habitat may be found in and around the plantation matrix. The thornveld of mountain slopes holds scrubby Phymaspermum, Buddleja and Leucosidea along the streams. Patches of fynbos holding Erica and Protea bushes also occur. The forests, which are restricted to the more mesic valleys, are dominated by trees of Rapanea, Podocarpus, Trichocladus and Curtisia. Dense stands of non-native trees, including wattle Acacia and Eucalyptus, have invaded and replaced much of the remaining indigenous vegetation, and continue to spread uncontrolled, encroaching on the remaining grassland.
|Species||Season||Period||Population estimate||Quality of estimate||IBA Criteria||IUCN Category|
|Southern Bald Ibis Geronticus calvus||resident||1998||present [units unknown]||-||A3||Vulnerable|
|Mountain Buzzard Buteo oreophilus||resident||1998||present [units unknown]||-||A3||Least Concern|
|Striped Flufftail Sarothrura affinis||resident||1998||present [units unknown]||-||A3||Least Concern|
|Knysna Turaco Tauraco corythaix||resident||1998||present [units unknown]||-||A2, A3||Least Concern|
|Olive Bush-shrike Telophorus olivaceus||resident||1998||present [units unknown]||-||A3||Least Concern|
|Grey Cuckooshrike Coracina caesia||resident||1998||present [units unknown]||-||A3||Least Concern|
|Blue Swallow Hirundo atrocaerulea||breeding||1998||unknown [units unknown]||-||A3||Vulnerable|
|African Scrub-warbler Bradypterus barratti||resident||1998||present [units unknown]||-||A3||Least Concern|
|Yellow-throated Woodland-warbler Phylloscopus ruficapilla||resident||1998||present [units unknown]||-||A3||Least Concern|
|Bush Blackcap Lioptilus nigricapillus||resident||1998||present [units unknown]||-||A1, A2, A3||Near Threatened|
|Black-bellied Glossy-starling Lamprotornis corruscus||resident||1998||-||-||Least Concern|
|Orange Ground-thrush Zoothera gurneyi||resident||1998||present [units unknown]||-||A3||Least Concern|
|Kurrichane Thrush Turdus libonyanus||resident||1998||-||-||Least Concern|
|White-starred Robin Pogonocichla stellata||resident||1998||present [units unknown]||-||A3||Least Concern|
|Chorister Robin-chat Cossypha dichroa||resident||1998||present [units unknown]||-||A2, A3||Least Concern|
|Brown Scrub-robin Erythropygia signata||resident||1998||present [units unknown]||-||A2||Least Concern|
|Buff-streaked Chat Oenanthe bifasciata||resident||1998||present [units unknown]||-||A1, A3||Least Concern|
|Gurney's Sugarbird Promerops gurneyi||resident||1998||present [units unknown]||-||A3||Least Concern|
|Swee Waxbill Estrilda melanotis||resident||1998||present [units unknown]||-||A3||Least Concern|
|Forest Canary Serinus scotops||resident||1998||present [units unknown]||-||A2, A3||Least Concern|
|IUCN habitat||Habitat detail||Extent (% of site)|
|Forest||Mid-altitude forest - transitional||-|
|Grassland||Grassland - highveld||-|
|Artificial landscapes (terrestrial)||Forestry & agro-industrial plantations||-|
|Land-use||Extent (% of site)|
|nature conservation and research||4%|
|nature conservation and research||55%|
Other biodiversity Among frogs, the forests are known to hold Breviceps verrucosus, and the river also holds Strongylopus wageri and the rare, localized endemic, Heleophryne natalensis. The snake Amplorhinus multimaculatus may occur, and the geckos Lygodactylus nigropuncatus and L. ocellatus, endemic to the Soutpansberg and Mpumalanga/Swaziland Drakensberg, have been recorded in rocky montane grassland areas.
Management considerations The remaining patches of forest in this IBA are of the Mpumalanga escarpment’s highest quality. The primary threat to these patches is that the remaining indigenous vegetation patches may be used for plantations, or that encroachment of alien vegetation from the plantations, or other sources, will affect forest functioning. Forest fragmentation is also of concern. The remaining land should be used for water management and nature conservation. Areas where exotics have invaded should be rehabilitated, and encroachment by exotic vegetation should be monitored and combated.
References Earlé and Oatley (1983).
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Recommended citation BirdLife International (2013) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Mac-Mac escarpment and forests. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 20/05/2013
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