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Location South Africa, KwaZulu-Natal
Central coordinates 29o 53.00' East  29o 42.00' South
IBA criteria A1
Area 8,759 ha
Altitude 935 - 1,586m
Year of IBA assessment 2001

BirdLife South Africa



Summary The reserve centre lies 11 km due south of Impendle town, and about 50 km west of Pietermaritzburg. The terrain is undulating, steep and rocky at the highest points, and dissected with small river drainage lines that fall over a minor escarpment as they join the Umkomaas River. The site is predominantly grassland. The vlei is very good for African Marsh Harrier Circus ranivorus, Grey Crowned Crane Balearica regulorum and occasionnaly Wattled Crane Bugeranus carunculatus.

Site description The reserve centre lies 11 km due south of Impendle town, and about 50 km west of Pietermaritzburg. The terrain is undulating, steep and rocky at the highest points, and dissected by small rivers that fall over a minor escarpment as they join the Umkomaas river, which forms much of the site’s southern boundary. The site is predominantly grassland. Some of this has been lost to agriculture, but over 2,000 ha remain, mostly as highland sourveld but with some southern tall grassveld remaining. There are small stands of Protea on some of the higher rocky slopes. About 900 ha of forest is present in the reserve, and the famous ‘seven-mile-bush’ is part of this. Trees of Podocarpus and Scolopia are dominant, with Kiggelaria and Pittosporum also occurring commonly.

Key Biodiversity See Box for key species. The vlei is very good for Balearica regulorum and occasionally for Grus carunculatus. The surrounding rolling grassland holds six pairs, perhaps eight, of Hirundo atrocaerulea. Grus paradisea and Neotis denhami are also present. A flock of Geronticus calvus is often present. The forest is home to Lioptilus nigricapillus, Zoothera gurneyi, Tauraco corythaix and Serinus scotops.

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 
Blue Crane Anthropoides paradiseus resident  present  A1  Vulnerable 
Blue Swallow Hirundo atrocaerulea breeding  1998  present  A1  Vulnerable 
Bush Blackcap Lioptilus nigricapillus resident  1998  present  A1  Near Threatened 

IBA Monitoring

2013 high near favourable high
Habitat
Medium - based upon reliable but incomplete / partially representative data

Agriculture and aquaculture annual & perennial non-timber crops - agro-industry farming past (and unlikely to return) and no longer limiting some of area/population (10-49%) moderate to rapid deterioration low
Agriculture and aquaculture livestock farming and ranching (includes forest grazing) - nomadic grazing happening now small area/few individuals (<10%) no or imperceptible deterioration low
Agriculture and aquaculture wood and pulp plantations (includes afforestation) - agro-industry plantations past (and unlikely to return) and no longer limiting small area/few individuals (<10%) slow but significant deterioration low
Biological resource use gathering terrestrial plants - unintentional effects (species being assessed is not the target) happening now small area/few individuals (<10%) slow but significant deterioration low
Biological resource use hunting & collecting terrestrial animals - unintentional effects (species is not the target) happening now some of area/population (10-49%) slow but significant deterioration medium
Climate change and severe weather storms and floods likely in short term (within 4 years) whole area/population (>90%) slow but significant deterioration high
Human intrusions and disturbance recreational activities happening now some of area/population (10-49%) no or imperceptible deterioration low
Human intrusions and disturbance war, civil unrest and military exercises happening now some of area/population (10-49%) slow but significant deterioration medium
Human intrusions and disturbance work and other activities happening now majority/most of area/population (50-90%) no or imperceptible deterioration low
Invasive & other problematic species, genes & diseases invasive non-native/alien species/diseases - named species happening now some of area/population (10-49%) moderate to rapid deterioration high
Natural system modifications dams & water management/use - small dams happening now small area/few individuals (<10%) slow but significant deterioration low
Natural system modifications fire & fire suppression - increase in fire frequency/intensity happening now some of area/population (10-49%) slow but significant deterioration medium
Residential and commercial development tourism and recreation areas happening now small area/few individuals (<10%) moderate to rapid deterioration low
Transportation and service corridors utility & service lines happening now small area/few individuals (<10%) no or imperceptible deterioration low

Forest   0 0 good (> 90%) moderate (70-90%) near favourable
Grassland   0 0 good (> 90%) moderate (70-90%) near favourable

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 

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Impendle Nature Reserve 8,759 is identical to site 8,759  

Habitats

IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Grassland   -
Shrubland   11%
Forest   88%

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
agriculture -
nature conservation and research 100%
tourism/recreation -
water management 30%

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2015) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Impendle Nature Reserve. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 26/05/2015

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