Habitat: Steep hills ranging from 350 m - 1809 m close to the Vietnamese border, comprising much of the upper catchments of the Nam Xam and the Nam Niam Rivers. Some 40% of the area is above 1,000 m and several summits exceed 1,500 m. Forest is mainly mixed deciduous to semi-evergreen in character, but valley bottoms and lower hills are dominated by permanent and shifting cultivation, and there are large secondary growth areas of scrub and bamboo.

Access: Difficult access on a rudimentary track from the Viengxai-Vietnamese border road, which heads south directly through the centre of the NPA.

1. GENERAL INFORMATION

Name

Nam Xam. Abbreviated: NXM

Status

Established by PM Decree 164, 29 October 1993.

Location

Latitude: 20o 02' - 20o 14'N;
Longitude: 104o 18' - 104o53'E.

Map Sheets

Scale I : 100,000

F 48-137

F 48-138

Scale I : 200,000

F 48-XXXIII

Scale I : 500,000

F 48-C

Provinces

Houapanh

Districts

Xamtai
Xam Neua
Viengxai

Perimeter

1,734 km

Boundaries

From Ban Phansam on the Nam Xam, the S boundary heads W, skirting the villages around Nam Peng and then following the upper Nam Xam as far as Ban Tuam, and E, skirting villages to the north of the Nam Xam and then following the road to Ban Thalao as far as the vicinity of Ban Phua. The N boundary heads E from Ban Tuam, and then roughly follows the Nam Xam's N watershed to the Vietnamese border. It then runs along the border, or narrowly within it as far as the Nam Niam.

Area

Area As decreed: 700 sq. km
As proposed in Berkmüller et al. (1995): 580 sq. km
Best estimate 505 sq.CPAWM GIS (1998): 750 sq. km

Proposed
Extensions

Berkmüller (1995) re-drew the W boundary some 10 km to the E, excised most of the area directly adjoining the Vietnamese border, and added a small extension to the E extremity. Showler et al. (1998) indicate that the boundaries currently used by Houaphanh PAFO follow Berkmüller's, but re-instate the c. 50 sq. km area he excised adjacent to the border. They also suggest that the locally recognised border with Vietnam may be several kilometres inside that shown on topographic maps, returning de facto the E end of the area to the original 1993 boundary. Any current boundary is provisional as there has been no participatory work on the ground to delineate permanent limits to the NBCA.

Access

A motorable track from the Viengxai - Vietnamese border road, heads S directly through the centre of the NBCA. Beyond the S boundary the road turns E and rejoins the NBCA running along most of the SE boundary. A 120km logging road from Xam Nua gives access from the W to the Phou Xang Khom logging camp in the W of the area.

Stakeholder
Villages &
Population

No. of villages by type

District

Villages

I

II

III

IV

Persons

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

TOTAL

.

.

.

..

.

.

Note: Only small villages within the NBCA.

Principal Local
Resource
Uses

Ethnic
Composition

Mostly Lao Lum, with at least one Hmong village on the N boundary.

 2. BRIEF HISTORY

1992

Wildlife interviews in 13 villages.

1993

Logging licence for 4000 m3 of Fokienia granted to the Yunnan Co. for the area around Phou Chia in the W of Nam Xam.

1993

NBCA declared.

1995

WCS pre-management report - mentioned in Berk 95

1996

CPAWM socio-economic survey of villages in and around NBCA

1997

WCS/CPAWM PBA (December).

1998

WCS wildlife and habitat survey (January).
Logging, which had been carried out by the Tozai Corporation under agreement with the Yunnan Co., had finished by this point, following completion of quota, although extraction of felled trees was still taking place.

1999

Houaphanh Province considering second timber quota to continue logging operations in the same area.
Tozai Corporation considering plans to begin environmental protection activities with support from the Nippon Foundation, probably some time in 2000. These would concentrate on reducing habitat clearance for swidden and alternative income generation by planting vegetables and fruit trees, and would be focussed in the vicinity of the logging road built by the company (T. Horita, M.D. Tozai Corp., verbally).

2001

Logging licence expires (N. Kittamura, verbally).

3. ECOLOGY

Physical
Features

Steep hills close to Vietnamese border, and comprising much of the upper catchments of the Nam Xam in the W and the Nam Niam in the E. 40% of the area is above 1000m, and several summits exceed 1500m.

Elevation

350m - 1809m.

Climate

Main Forest
Types

1989/1990 satellite images suggested 85% forest cover, although only 31% of land cover was dense/mature forest. These figures are undoutedly lower now. Forest is mainly mixed deciduous to semi-evergreen in character, but valleys bottoms and lower hills are dominated by permanent and shifting cultivation, and there are large secondary growth areas of scrub and bamboo. The Vietnamese side of the border appears to be completely deforested.

Two substantial blocks of good quality evergreen forest remain; in the E at 800-1200m, and an extensive area of old broadleaf evergreen and Fokienia forest at 1200-1800m in the W. This latter block has now been severely degraded by logging.

Other Habitat
Features

Recorded
Vertebrates

Vertebrate Class

No. of Species

No. of Key Species

Mammals

34

12 (5)

Birds

197

15 (2)

Reptiles

5

3

Amphibians

1

0

Fish

Note: only figures in bold text considered result of adequate survey. Key species follow Duckworth et al. (1999). Numbers in ( ) are additional provisional records.

Survey Efforts

Low

4. EVALUATION
Principal Contributions to the NBCA System

Biodiversity
Values

  • Mid-ranking NBCA in terms of biological importance. Relatively distinct from other northern NBCAs, but wildlife populations are small, and of two remaining core areas of old forest, one has already been logged over.
  • Two bird species not recorded from any other NBCA, including Brown-throated Treecreeper (LKL), and only recent Lao record of Yellow-bellied Weasel (LKL).
  • Confirmed key species include numerous gibbons, a small Elephant population in the E, Marbled Cat, high densities of Grey Peacock Pheasant, Blyth's Kingfisher along the Nam Niam, Beautiful Nuthatch in the Fokienia forest, and three species of parrotbill.
  • Also reports of up to 40 Gaur in the E, a small dark muntjac, and Tiger.

Watershed
Values

Many villages to the S of the NBCA are supplied by catchments largely within its boundaries.

Cultural
Values

Security
Values

Recreation &
Tourism
Values

  • Reasonable infrastructure - close to Xam Nua and with easy access, including scenic road through centre.

Principal
Threats

  • The logging concession in the Phou Chia area has caused extensive damage to much of the vegetation, not just the target species. Soil erosion appears to have been severe, especially along the logging road. Although the present timber quota has been completed, the granting of a new quota is being considered.
  • Shifting cultivation is seriously impacting habitat quality and this, along with the logging, threatens the watershed value of the area.
  • Hunting for subsistence and trade by logging employees.
  • Vietnamese poachers and traders are reported to enter the area, and there is a thriving wildlife border wildlife market only 8km from the NBCA.

Reasons for
Proposed
Extensions or
Excisions

  • Berkmüller's (1995) boundaries were drawn on the basis of habitat and landuse mapping from 1989/1990 satellite images.
  • Reasons for the alteration in the PAFO boundary are unknown.
  • Ground surveys and village discussions are needed before permanent boundaries can be established.

5. CURRENT MANAGEMENT

Contact

Mr Somjit PAFO Head ;Tel.:064 312034

Staffing

1 part-time provincial staff member
1 part-time district staff member for each of Xamtai and Viengxai
Showler et al. (1998) remarked that the Xamtai DAFO had some dedicated staff with ideas for the conservation of the NBCA

Organization

Buildings

Equipment

Financial Support &
Training

JICA are presently preparing a draft proposal for the area. This project would begin around mid-2000, and cover a 3-4 year period. Landuse and habitat mapping are planned with the aid of aerial photography, with socio-economic activities focussed on a single model village (N. Kittamura, verbally).

Current
Management
Priorities

Other
Management
Opportunities

  • Reducing or mitigating the impact of logging, including attention given to the problem of erosion and the possibility of relocating the logging workers' village of Ban Phou Xang Khom further from the NBCA.
  • Prevent the spread of swidden to further forest areas.
  • Prevent inmigration.
  • Investigate and address the problem of cross-border wildlife trade in the area.
  • Gun collection and environmental education programs in villages.
  • Strengthen DAFO and PAFO capacity.

Other Relevant
Project Initiatives

The Tozai Corporation is considering initiating environmental awareness and protection activities along the logging road from Nam Xua, with the possibility of support from the Nippon Foundation.

6. REPORTS AND PUBLICATIONS

Berkmüller, K. et al. (1993) Protected Area System Planning and Management in Lao PDR: Status Report to mid-1993. LSFCP/IUCN, DoF.

Berkmüller, K. et al. (1995) Protected Area System Planning and Management in Lao PDR: Status Report to mid-1995. LSFCP/IUCN, DoF.

Duckworth, J. W. et al. (1999) Wildlife in Lao PDR: 1999 Status Report. IUCN/WCS/CPAWM.

Flint, C. (1999) Data/Information on Conservation Management and Protected Areas in the Lao PDR. CMS & TNA Project, DoF.

Ling, S. D. (1999) A Biological System of Prioritisation for Protected Areas in the Lao PDR. Report to WCS.

Showler, D. A. et al. (1998) A Wildlife and Habitat Survey of Nam Xam NBCA, Houaphanh Province, Lao PDR. WCS/CPAWM.