Mulanje Mountain Forest Reserve
The surrounding Mulanje mountain is characterized by densely populated plains situated at 600m-700m above sea level. From the plains, it rises abruptly to high plateau basins at 1800-1900m surmounted by rock peaks to its maximum attitude of 3002m above sea level, Sapitwa Peak. In fact the mountain is the highest both in Malawi and South Central Africa.
The structure and altitude of the mountain have led to the development of a unique climate for the area, which is characterised by high rainfalls from November to April. This climate favours the development of unique ecology of rare and endemic life forms which contribute to the massif's high biodiversity.
Fauna and flora
The native Mulanje Cypress (Widdringtonia whytei) has been so heavily logged that it is considered endangered and the park contains the last remaining stands of this tree, as well as a number of other plant and animal species—many of them endemic to the area. Examples include forest butterflies, birds such as the cholo alethe and White-winged Apalis, Dwarf Chameleon, geckos, skinks, the Squeaker Frog, and a rare limbless burrowing skink species. The land around the park is threatened by growing population, land use patterns such as forest clearing for farming and firewood, and invasive species such as Mexican Pine and Himalayan Raspberry.
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