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Where it is?
Verloren Vallei is a declared Ramsar site or Wetland. The wetland is within the Verloren Vallei Nature reserve near Dullstroom in Mpumalanga.

What plants and animals live here?
Verloren Vallei is known for its high ground orchard diversity. Bird species occurring here include wattled crane, Yellow-breasted pipit, Grey- and Redwing francolin, Stanley’s bustard, Secretary bird and Cape eagle owl. Small antelopes such as Oribi, grey rhebuck and duiker, and larger mammals such as zebras and wildebeest also occur in the catchment. A total of 379 plant species have been identified at the reserve. Vegetation zones include creosote bush, desert holly, and mesquite at the lower elevations up through shadscale, blackbrush, Joshua tree, pinyon-juniper, to sub-alpine limber pine and bristlecone pine woodlands. The saltpan is devoid of vegetation and the rest of the valley floor and lower slopes have sparse cover, yet where water is available, an abundance of vegetation is usually present.

Why is the wetland important?
Verloren Vallei forms part of the upper catchments of the Olifants and Crocodile rivers, two of South Africa’s most important river systems which both ultimately flow into Mozambique. The wetland also provides other ecosystem services including flood attenuation, erosion control, toxicant, phosphate and nitrate assimilation, and carbon storage.

The main impacts on the wetlands in the area are associated with historic land use. They include drainage channels and furrows that modify wetland hydrology and reduce their functionality. Eight wetlands in the area were identified for rehabilitation intervention. Concrete and gabion structures are used to stabilize erosion and help to maintain wetland health. The wetland also has an important hydrological function in regulating stream flow and improving water quality, factors of importance to the trout fishing enterprises downstream.

How is the wetland threatened?
Mining in the form

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