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Location South Africa, Free State
Central coordinates 29o 18.00' East  28o 9.00' South
IBA criteria A1
Area 900 ha
Altitude 1,760 - 1,840m
Year of IBA assessment 2001

BirdLife South Africa



Summary This site consists of the farm Alexpan about 20 km north-east of Harrismith. The farm lies in the Grassland Biome and hosts Wattled Crane, Blue Crane and Grey Crowned Crane.

Site description This site consists of the farm Alexpan 1529, c.20 km north-east of Harrismith. The farm consists of flat grassveld plains, which are mostly used for growing maize, wheat, soya beans and pasture grass, while most of the remaining natural grassland on the slopes is grazed by sheep and cattle. In the north-west corner of the farm, near the district road, there is a shallow dam c.7.5 ha in extent, and there are six smaller ones (less than 2 ha) on various other drainage lines. The most dominant grassland type is moist sandy highveld grassland. Small patches of moist clay highveld grassland grow on the black vertic clays that are scattered throughout the area.

Key Biodiversity See Box for key species. The largest dam on the farm is of considerable significance, being a regular roost for large numbers of cranes. Grus carunculatus used to be resident, but now it is only an uncommon visitor to the area. Grus paradisea and Balearica regulorum are seasonally abundant in a mixed roost. The surrounding grassland holds Geronticus calvus and excellent habitat for Heteromirafra ruddi, Spizocorys fringillaris and Anthus chloris.

Non-bird biodiversity: None known to BirdLife International.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Southern Bald Ibis Geronticus calvus resident  present  A1  Vulnerable 
Rudd's Lark Heteromirafra ruddi resident  present  A1  Vulnerable 
Botha's Lark Spizocorys fringillaris resident  present  A1  Endangered 
Yellow-breasted Pipit Anthus chloris resident  present  A1  Vulnerable 

IBA Monitoring

2014 very high unfavourable high
Habitat
Medium - based upon reliable but incomplete / partially representative data

Agriculture and aquaculture marine and freshwater aquaculture - industrial aquaculture likely in short term (within 4 years) some of area/population (10-49%) no or imperceptible deterioration low
Biological resource use fishing & harvesting aquatic resources - intentional use: lg scale happening now small area/few individuals (<10%) moderate to rapid deterioration low
Biological resource use fishing & harvesting aquatic resources - intentional use: subsistence/sml scale happening now small area/few individuals (<10%) slow but significant deterioration low
Biological resource use fishing & harvesting aquatic resources - unintentional effects: large scale happening now some of area/population (10-49%) slow but significant deterioration medium
Climate change and severe weather storms and floods happening now some of area/population (10-49%) slow but significant deterioration medium
Climate change and severe weather temperature extremes likely in short term (within 4 years) majority/most of area/population (50-90%) moderate to rapid deterioration high
Energy production and mining oil and gas drilling likely in short term (within 4 years) some of area/population (10-49%) moderate to rapid deterioration medium
Energy production and mining renewable energy likely in short term (within 4 years) small area/few individuals (<10%) no or imperceptible deterioration low
Human intrusions and disturbance recreational activities likely in short term (within 4 years) small area/few individuals (<10%) no or imperceptible deterioration low
Human intrusions and disturbance work and other activities happening now some of area/population (10-49%) no or imperceptible deterioration low
Invasive & other problematic species, genes & diseases invasive non-native/alien species/diseases - named species happening now small area/few individuals (<10%) slow but significant deterioration low
Invasive & other problematic species, genes & diseases problematic species/diseases of unknown origin - named species happening now majority/most of area/population (50-90%) slow but significant deterioration high
Pollution agricultural & forestry effluents - herbicides and pesticides happening now small area/few individuals (<10%) no or imperceptible deterioration low
Pollution air-borne pollutants - smog happening now some of area/population (10-49%) slow but significant deterioration medium
Pollution excess energy - light pollution happening now small area/few individuals (<10%) no or imperceptible deterioration low
Pollution excess energy - thermal pollution happening now some of area/population (10-49%) no or imperceptible deterioration low
Pollution garbage & solid waste happening now some of area/population (10-49%) slow but significant deterioration medium
Pollution industrial & military effluents - oil spills likely in short term (within 4 years) whole area/population (>90%) moderate to rapid deterioration high
Residential and commercial development commercial and industrial development likely in short term (within 4 years) whole area/population (>90%) very rapid to severe deterioration very high
Residential and commercial development housing and urban areas happening now small area/few individuals (<10%) no or imperceptible deterioration low
Residential and commercial development tourism and recreation areas likely in short term (within 4 years) small area/few individuals (<10%) no or imperceptible deterioration low
Transportation and service corridors shipping lanes happening now small area/few individuals (<10%) slow but significant deterioration low

Marine Coastal/Supratidal   0 0 moderate (70-90%) moderate (70-90%) unfavourable

Whole area of site (>90%) covered by appropriate conservation designation  A comprehensive and appropriate management plan exists that aims to maintain or improve the populations of qualifying bird species  Substantive conservation measures are being implemented but these are not comprehensive and are limited by resources and capacity  high 

Habitats

IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Grassland Grassland - highveld  -
Artificial - terrestrial   100%
Marine Coastal/Supratidal   -

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
agriculture -
nature conservation and research 100%
tourism/recreation -
water management 70%

References Colahan (1990), Nuttall (1995), Stoltz and Geyser (1973).

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2015) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Alexpan. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 02/06/2015

To provide new information to update this factsheet or to correct any errors, please email BirdLife