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Location South Africa, Western Cape
Central coordinates 19o 18.00' East  32o 38.00' South
IBA criteria A1, A2, A3
Area 500,000 ha
Altitude 363 - 2,026m
Year of IBA assessment 2001

BirdLife South Africa



Summary The fynbos of the Cedarberg-Koue Bokkeveld Complex and the surrounding karroid plains hold a remarkable number of distinctive habitats, making it home to many bird species. The mountain fynbos holds all the Cape Fynbos range and biome-restricted assemblage species.

Site description The north-westerly trending Cedarberg mountains are c.90 km long by 25 km wide and rise steeply above the Olifants river valley (170 m). Citrusdal, at about 170 m, is barely 17 km from Sneeuberg (2,027 m), the highest peak in the range. The Cedarberg forms the northern spine of the watershed between the Olifants river to the west and the Tankwa-Doring river system to the east. Directly south of the Cedarberg Wilderness Area, the Koue Bokkeveld and Groot Winterhoek mountains are the continuation of this sandstone chain.

The flora is extremely diverse, with mesic mountain fynbos grading into xeric succulent Karoo. Species of the Proteaceae, Ericaceae and Restionaceae dominate the mesic south. The northern Cedarberg holds xerophytic communities on the slopes, while the highest peaks hold typical fynbos. Protea bushes are frequent. Widdringtonia woodland occurs in patches. Moving east, karroid vegetation begins to dominate, and in the flatter, low-altitude terrain of the Tankwa Karoo, varied dwarf succulent shrubland is dominated by Mesembryanthemaceae and seasonally by annuals and geophytes. The varied flora holds many succulents. The shrub layer includes Tetragonia, Pteronia, Rhus, Salsola and Lycium. Belts of riverine vegetation, which line the mostly dry riverbeds, are dominated by Acacia and create a network of well-wooded veins that stretch throughout the plains and gullies. Other habitats that occur within the site are constructed farm dams, human habitation, gardens and stands of non-native Eucalyptus and Populus trees.

Key Biodiversity See Box and Tables 2 and 3 for key species. The mountain fynbos holds all of the Cape Fynbos restricted-range and biome-restricted species. Nectarinia violacea is widespread in the ericas, while Promerops cafer is almost restricted to the proteoid elements and Serinus leucopterus is found in proteoid woodland and arid scrub at the base of the Cedarberg. Francolinus capensis, Pycnonotus capensis and Serinus totta are widespread within the fynbos, while Bradypterus victorini is found at moist seeps in the hilly areas. Chaetops frenatus is common on most rocky slopes above 1,000 m.

The karroid vegetation of the Tankwa and Doring river valleys also holds many Namib–Karoo biome-restricted assemblage birds and other arid-zone specials. The Ceres–Karoo lowland plains are good for Eupodotis vigorsii, E. afra, Chersomanes albofasciata, Galerida magnirostris, Certhilauda albescens, Cercomela schlegelii, C. tractrac, Eremomela gregalis and Malcorus pectoralis. The thickets of riverine Acacia woodland hold Phragmacia substriata and provide food, shelter and breeding habitat for Sylvia layardi and Parus afer. Onychognathus nabouroup and the scarce and elusive Euryptila subcinnamomea are common in rocky gorges and kloofs of the Koue Bokkeveld foothills.

Non-bird biodiversity: Although botanical description of this area is incomplete it is known to hold an exceptional number of plant species, many of which are endemic. The cedar Widdringtonia cedarbergensis (EN) occurs in the special Cedar Reserve within the Cedarberg Wilderness Area. The IBA holds most of the Olifants river catchment, which has a remarkable incidence of endemism among freshwater fish. It is one of only two river systems in southern Africa to have more than two taxa restricted to its catchment. All eight of the catchment’s endemic species are found in this IBA, including Barbus phlegethon (EN), B. erubescens (CR), B. serra (EN), B. capensis (VU), B. calidus (EN), Austroglanis barnardi (CR), A. gilli (VU) and Labeo seeberi (CR).

Among herptiles, both Bitis rubida, described in 1997, and Cordylus mclachlani (VU) have global ranges virtually restricted to the Tanqwa Karoo portion of this IBA. Goggia hexapora and G. microlepidota are globally restricted to the mountains of the IBA. Australolacerta australis occurs in only this IBA and one other, the Eastern False Bay mountains (IBA ZA086). Capensibufo tradouwi breeds in moist depressions, vleis and springs in Western Cape mountains and it is found in the Cedarberg and the Southern Langeberg mountains (IBA ZA092). Nucras tessellata, Cordylosaurus subtessellatus, Gerrhosaurus typicus (LR/nt), Cordylus cataphractus (VU), C. polyzonus, Pseudocordylus capensis, Agama hispida, Afrogecko porphyreus, Chondrodactylus angulifer, Goggia lineata, Pachydactylus rugosus and P. serval are all found within the Cedarberg–Koue Bokkeveld complex.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Cape Francolin Pternistis capensis resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
Cape Bulbul Pycnonotus capensis resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
Victorin's Scrub-warbler Bradypterus victorini resident  1998  present  A2, A3  Least Concern 
Cape Rock-jumper Chaetops frenatus resident  1998  present  A1, A2, A3  Least Concern 
Orange-breasted Sunbird Nectarinia violacea resident  1998  present  A2, A3  Least Concern 
Cape Sugarbird Promerops cafer resident  1998  present  A2, A3  Least Concern 
Protea Canary Serinus leucopterus resident  1998  present  A1, A2, A3  Least Concern 
Cape Siskin Serinus totta resident  1998  present  A1, A2, A3  Least Concern 

IBA Monitoring

2013 high not assessed medium
unset
-

Agriculture and aquaculture annual & perennial non-timber crops - agro-industry farming happening now some of area/population (10-49%) slow but significant deterioration medium
Agriculture and aquaculture annual & perennial non-timber crops - shifting agriculture happening now small area/few individuals (<10%) slow but significant deterioration low
Agriculture and aquaculture livestock farming and ranching (includes forest grazing) - small-holder grazing, ranching or farming happening now small area/few individuals (<10%) no or imperceptible deterioration low
Agriculture and aquaculture wood and pulp plantations (includes afforestation) - agro-industry plantations happening now small area/few individuals (<10%) no or imperceptible deterioration low
Biological resource use gathering terrestrial plants - unintentional effects (species being assessed is not the target) happening now small area/few individuals (<10%) no or imperceptible deterioration low
Biological resource use hunting & collecting terrestrial animals - persecution/control 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 small area/few individuals (<10%) slow but significant deterioration low
Climate change and severe weather drought likely in long term (beyond 4 years) whole area/population (>90%) slow but significant deterioration medium
Climate change and severe weather habitat shifting and alteration likely in long term (beyond 4 years) majority/most of area/population (50-90%) slow but significant deterioration medium
Climate change and severe weather temperature extremes likely in long term (beyond 4 years) whole area/population (>90%) moderate to rapid deterioration high
Energy production and mining mining and quarrying happening now small area/few individuals (<10%) no or imperceptible deterioration low
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
Invasive & other problematic species, genes & diseases invasive non-native/alien species/diseases - named species 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 majority/most of area/population (50-90%) slow but significant deterioration high
Natural system modifications fire & fire suppression - increase in fire frequency/intensity happening now some of area/population (10-49%) slow but significant deterioration medium
Pollution agricultural & forestry effluents - herbicides and pesticides happening now small area/few individuals (<10%) no or imperceptible deterioration low
Pollution agricultural & forestry effluents - nutrient loads happening now small area/few individuals (<10%) slow but significant deterioration low
Pollution domestic & urban waste water - sewage happening now small area/few individuals (<10%) no or imperceptible deterioration low
Pollution garbage & solid waste happening now small area/few individuals (<10%) slow but significant deterioration low
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
Transportation and service corridors roads and railroads happening now small area/few individuals (<10%) no or imperceptible deterioration low
Transportation and service corridors utility & service lines happening now small area/few individuals (<10%) slow but significant deterioration low

Shrubland Shrubland - Cape (fynbos)  0 0 moderate (70-90%) moderate (70-90%) unfavourable

Most of site (50-90%) covered (including the most critical parts for important bird species)  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  medium 

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Cape Floral Region Protected Areas World Heritage Site 553,000 protected area overlaps with site 90,716  
Cederberg Provincial Nature Reserve 65,630 protected area contained by site 64,400  
Grootwinterhoek Provincial Nature Reserve 27,502 protected area contained by site 19,200  

Habitats

IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Shrubland Shrubland - Cape (fynbos)  -

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
water management 6%
nature conservation and research 100%

References Cowling (1992), le Maitre (1984), Manders (1985), Privett (1994), Taylor (1997a), van Wilgen et al. (1992).

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2015) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Cedarberg - Koue Bokkeveld complex. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 28/08/2015

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