Wembere steppe, Tanzania
KBA status: Global
Rationale for qualifying as KBA: Global: a KBA of international significance that meets the thresholds for at least one criterion described in the Global Standard for the Identification of KBAs.
Priority for re-assessment against the Global KBA Standard.
For further details on this site and its significance as an Important Bird and Biodiversity Area, see here.
The Wembere river rises in hilly country at 06°S, south-east of Tabora and south-west of Singida. It forms the major river of the Eyasi internal drainage basin and flows north through the Wembere flood-plain before turning north-east at Lake Kitangire (TZ026) and thence into Lake Eyasi (TZ023). The Wembere flood-plain consists of open grassland intersected by drainage lines on the black cotton soil. Stands of Acacia seyal and Acacia drepanolobium grow around the edge of the plain, their exact distribution depending on the extent of waterlogging in the wet season. There are areas of Aeschynomene which die back during the dry season and produce dense stands after heavy rains.
Over the last 35 years there has been extensive habitat destruction and alteration such that there are now far fewer trees and increased erosion. However, during periods of heavy rain the area becomes inhospitable to man and his livestock and this is when waterbirds breed. The exceptional rains in late 1961 caused excessive inundation and may well have concentrated the larger waterbirds in exceptional numbers at Chagana, subsequently reported by Stronach. During a ‘normal’ year the same number of birds may breed, but scattered more widely throughout the flood-plain. The Acacia drepanolobium woodland is threatened by overgrazing and repeated burning. There are no permanent settlements on the flood-plain and few large villages around the periphery.
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