Vumba Nature

Woodland habitats experience higher differences in  light and temperature and are exposed to extended dry periods. Their canopy cover is more open and the dominating tree species usually are deciduous  .

The different types of woodland are associated with altitude and rainfall, intermediates of the different types can occur.

1. MIST BELT BRACHYSTEGIA

This type of woodland occurs above 1500 m in rocky areas near cliffs. Brachystegia spiciformis (Msasa) is the dominating tree. Due to the high rainfall and regular mists, mosses, lichen and epiphytic orchids  are abundant. Ferns are often deciduous and die back in the dry winter months. Typical species that can be found are Selaginella dregei, Pellaea pectiniformis, P.calomelanos, and Arthropteris orientalis. Common plants in the rocky areas are Aloe cameronii and Streptocarpus spp., which grow in crevices and shallow soil overlying the rock. In Vumba this type of woodland may be found on Globe Rock, Misty Manor and at the Bunga views.

aloe cameronii Msasa colours streptocarpus michelmorei
Photos©B.Wursten

 

2. MOIST BRACHYSTEGIA WOODLAND

These areas below 1500 m can be found on the East and South facing slopes in the Vumba, close to the Burma Valley in distance and altitude. They receive high rainfall. Dominant tree species are Brachystegia spiciformis at higher altitudes and B. glaucescens B. utilis below 1200m. Uapaca spp. occur in association with the main trees.  The trees are often covered with orchids of the genus Bulbophyllum. There is a long dry period in winter, but temperatures will usually stay above 0° C. This makes the variety of ferns smaller.  Some ferns, normally occurring on the Mozambique coastal plain, are found in this region, eg Microsorium scolopendrium.

bulbophyllum maximum brachystegia spiciformis
Photos©B.Wursten

 

3. (SEMI) DRY WOODLAND

This woodland occurs on the North and West facing slopes of the mountains towards Mutare, below 1500m. The areas fall within the rain shadow of the Vumba mountains and rainfall is lower. Here we find the seasonal ferns, such as Anemia simii that die back in the dry months. Dominating tree species are Brachystegia boehmii, Julbernardia globiflora,Uapaca kirkiana, Combretum molle. Orchids capable of surviving hot & dry spells may survive in this type of woodland (Cytorchis praetermissa, Ansellia africana).

combretum molle julbernardia globiflora uapaca kirkiana
Photos©B.Wursten