Maputaland Marine Protected Area
Maputaland, South Africa
MARINE PROTECTED AREA
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The Maputaland coastal forest mosaic is a subtropical moist broadleaf forest ecoregion of Southern Africa. It covers an area of 30,200 square kilometres (11,700 square miles) in southern Mozambique, Swaziland, and the KwaZulu-Natal Province of South Africa. Mozambique's capital Maputo lies within the ecoregion.
The Maputaland coastal forest mosaic occupies the humid coastal strip along the Indian Ocean. It is part of a strip of moist coastal forests that extend along Africa's Indian Ocean coast from southern Somalia to South Africa. The northern limit of the ecoregion is north of the mouth of the Limpopo River, near Xai-Xai in Mozambique, where the forests transition to the Southern Zanzibar-Inhambane coastal forest mosaic. The southern limit is near Cape St. Lucia in KwaZulu-Natal, where the Maputaland forests transition to the Kwazulu-Cape coastal forest mosaic.
The ecoregion has a seasonally moist, tropical to subtropical climate. Rainfall ranges from 1000 mm per year near the coast to less than 600 mm per year inland. Most of the rain falls in the summer months. Rainfall diminishes away from the coast, and the coastal forest mosaic yields to drier tropical and subtropical grasslands, savannas, and shrublands.
The ecoregion comprises a mosaic of different plant communities, including forest, savanna, woodland, palm veld, grassland, and wetland habitats.
According to the World Wide Fund for Nature, 14% of the ecoregion is protected in reserves. Protected areas in the ecoregion include Greater St. Lucia Wetland Park (3,280 km²) in KwaZulu-Natal, and Maputo Game Reserve (900 km²) in Mozambique.
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