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Location South Africa, Eastern Cape
Central coordinates 26o 16.00' East  33o 42.00' South
IBA criteria A1, A2, A3
Area 15,460 ha
Altitude 0 - 408m
Year of IBA assessment 2001

BirdLife South Africa



Summary This IBA is a stretch of coastal dunefield, running from the Sundays River Mouth to Cannon Rocks. The IBA includes Alexandria Forest and the coastal grasslands inland of the dunefield. This vast dune sea is considered by some to be the best example of a mobile dune system in the world.

Site description This IBA is a stretch of coastal dunefield, 57.5 km in length and c.2.1 km wide, running from the Sundays river mouth to Cannon Rocks. The IBA includes Alexandria Forest and the coastal grasslands inland of the dunefield. The Woody Cape Nature Reserve holds the Alexandria Dunefield, which consists of open sand and several series of dune-slacks, interdune hollows and depressions between the dunes. This vast dune sea is considered by some to be the best example of a mobile dune system in the world. The dune-slacks support a distinctive coastal dune herbland. In stable dunes, thicket vegetation comprises many forest-precursor tree species. The dense, low-altitude (100–357 m) Alexandria State Forest, situated on the northern shores of Algoa Bay, lies inland of Cape Padrone. The forest backs the dunefield on the eastern extreme where rainfall is considerably higher. Although the vegetation is designated as Tongaland–Pondoland lowland forest, it has Afromontane affinities. Dominant trees include Ochna, Apodytes, Cassine and Sideroxylon, while frequently encountered sub-dominants include Euclea, Pittosporum, Rapanea, Strychnos, Pterocelastrus and Schotia.

Key Biodiversity See Box and Tables 2 and 3 for key species. The dry, unvegetated dunes and coastal slacks of the Woody Cape Nature Reserve hold c.17% of South Africa’s breeding population of Sterna balaenarum, the only such colony in the Eastern Cape. They also hold 2% of the global breeding population of Haematopus moquini. The wide open beaches and dunes hold large numbers of waders in summer. Circus maurus, Neotis denhami and Vanellus melanopterus all occur at very low densities in the partially vegetated dune-slacks and in the short, fringing inland grassland. Forest patches are highly localized and the dunes are filled with mostly secondary scrub, the only large patch of climax forest being found in Alexandria State Forest. The forest here holds Stephanoaetus coronatus, Buteo oreophilus, Tauraco corythaix, Telophorus olivaceus, Apaloderma narina, Bradypterus sylvaticus, Campethera notata, Cossypha dichroa, Cercotrichas signata and Serinus scotops.

Non-bird biodiversity: The cycad Encephalartos arenarius has a global range restricted to sandy habitats of the coastal dune-forest and bush in the Alexandria District, where it is found within the site. Among reptiles, the global ranges of Nucras taeniolata, Scelotes anguinus and Cordylus tropidosternum are virtually restricted to the Algoa Bay region of the Eastern Cape and a large proportion of their populations occur within the site. Habitat exists for Bitis albanica, an Algoa Bay endemic, but it is yet to be recorded in the site. The coastal thicket and dunes support Bradypodion ventrale, Chersina angulata, Leptotyphlops nigricans and Acontias meleagris.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Buteo oreophilus resident  1998  present  A3  Not Recognised 
Black Harrier Circus maurus resident  present  A1  Vulnerable 
African Oystercatcher Haematopus moquini breeding  50-249 individuals  unknown  A1  Near Threatened 
Damara Tern Sternula balaenarum breeding  common  A1  Near Threatened 
Knysna Turaco Tauraco corythaix resident  1998  present  A2, A3  Least Concern 
Knysna Woodpecker Campethera notata resident  1998  present  A1, A2  Near Threatened 
Olive Bush-shrike Telophorus olivaceus resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
Grey Cuckooshrike Coracina caesia resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
Knysna Warbler Bradypterus sylvaticus resident  1998  present  A2, A3  Vulnerable 
Yellow-throated Woodland-warbler Phylloscopus ruficapilla resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
White-starred Robin Pogonocichla stellata resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
Chorister Robin-chat Cossypha dichroa resident  1998  present  A2, A3  Least Concern 
Brown Scrub-robin Erythropygia signata resident  1998  present  A2  Least Concern 
Swee Waxbill Estrilda melanotis resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
Forest Canary Serinus scotops resident  1998  present  A2, A3  Least Concern 

IBA Monitoring

2014 medium favourable high
Habitat
Medium - based upon reliable but incomplete / partially representative data

Agriculture and aquaculture annual & perennial non-timber crops - agro-industry farming happening now small area/few individuals (<10%) slow but significant deterioration low
Agriculture and aquaculture livestock farming and ranching (includes forest grazing) - agro-industry grazing, ranching or farmin happening now small area/few individuals (<10%) no or imperceptible deterioration low
Agriculture and aquaculture marine and freshwater aquaculture - industrial aquaculture likely in short term (within 4 years) small area/few individuals (<10%) no or imperceptible deterioration low
Biological resource use fishing & harvesting aquatic resources - unintentional effects: large scale happening now small area/few individuals (<10%) no or imperceptible deterioration low
Biological resource use fishing & harvesting aquatic resources - unintentional effects: subsistence/small scale happening now small area/few individuals (<10%) no or imperceptible deterioration low
Climate change and severe weather temperature extremes likely in long term (beyond 4 years) some of area/population (10-49%) slow but significant deterioration medium
Energy production and mining renewable energy happening now small area/few individuals (<10%) no or imperceptible deterioration low
Human intrusions and disturbance recreational activities happening now some of area/population (10-49%) slow but significant deterioration medium
Human intrusions and disturbance work and other activities happening now small area/few individuals (<10%) 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%) no or imperceptible deterioration low
Natural system modifications dams & water management/use - abstraction of ground water (agricultural use) happening now some of area/population (10-49%) slow but significant deterioration medium
Natural system modifications dams & water management/use - abstraction of surface water (agricultural use) happening now small area/few individuals (<10%) slow but significant deterioration low
Natural system modifications dams & water management/use - large dams happening now small area/few individuals (<10%) no or imperceptible deterioration low
Pollution agricultural & forestry effluents - herbicides and pesticides happening now small area/few individuals (<10%) slow but significant deterioration low
Pollution agricultural & forestry effluents - nutrient loads happening now small area/few individuals (<10%) slow but significant deterioration low
Pollution air-borne pollutants - type unknown/unrecorded happening now small area/few individuals (<10%) no or imperceptible deterioration low
Pollution garbage & solid waste happening now some of area/population (10-49%) no or imperceptible deterioration low
Pollution industrial & military effluents - oil spills likely in short term (within 4 years) some of area/population (10-49%) slow but significant deterioration medium
Residential and commercial development commercial and industrial development happening now small area/few individuals (<10%) no or imperceptible deterioration low
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 happening now small area/few individuals (<10%) no or imperceptible deterioration low
Transportation and service corridors shipping lanes happening now small area/few individuals (<10%) no or imperceptible deterioration low

Marine Coastal/Supratidal   0 0 good (> 90%) good (> 90%) 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  The conservation measures needed for the site are being comprehensively and effectively implemented  high 

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Agricultural Land Designation Not Known 4,362 protected area contained by site 4,362  

Habitats

IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Sea Sand dunes and beaches - coastal  -
Grassland   -
Forest Montane forest - mixed  -
Marine Coastal/Supratidal   -

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
tourism/recreation -
fisheries/aquaculture -
nature conservation and research 7%

References Briers (1993), Hockey (1983), Jeffery (1987), Johnson and Cawe (1987), Martin (1991a), McLachlan et al. (1980), Randall and McLachlan (1982), Underhill et al. (1980), van der Merwe (1988), van Teylingen et al. (1993), Ward (1990), Watson (1992, 1995), Watson and Kerley (1995), Watson et al. (1996, 1997), Young (1987).

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2015) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Woody Cape Section: Addo Elephant National Park. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 27/08/2015

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