Phong Nha

Year of compilation: 2002

Site description
This IBA comprises Phong Nha Nature Reserve, close to the international border with Laos. The nature reserve is situated within one of the largest areas of contiguous limestone karst in Indochina, which also includes Hin Namno National Biodiversity Conservation Area in Laos, and the Ke Bang limestone area in Bo Trach and Minh Hoa districts, Vietnam. The topography of the Phong Nha area is characterised by precipitous karst ridges, which rise to elevations of around 400 m.

Key biodiversity
On the basis of the occurrence of three restricted-range bird species, Phong Nha lies within the Annamese Lowlands Endemic Bird Area. Six species in the this account were recorded by Eames et al. (1994) at the Rao Bong watershed, an area on the periphery of Phong Nha Nature Reserve.

Non-bird biodiversity: Timmins et al.(1999) recorded the following globally threatened primate species at Phong Nha: Assamese Macaque Macaca assamensis, Stump-tailed Macaque Macaca arctoides, Hatinh Langur Trachypithecus francoisi hatinhensis, Wulsin's Black Langur T. f. ebenus and White/Buff-cheeked Gibbon Nomascus leucogenys/gabrielle. However, Timmins et al. advise caution regarding the exact status and taxonomic identity of Wulsin's Black Langur. The globally endangered Red-shanked Douc Langur Pygathrix nemaeus nemaeus has been recorded by several authors, although the faliure of Timmins et al. to record this species led them to conclude that there may have been a major decline in the species at the site.Timmins et al. (1999) have also proviosionally recorded the occurrence of Southern Serow Naemorhedus sumatranesis at Phong Nha.

Pressure/threats to key biodiversity
The major threats to biodiversity at Phong Nha are hunting and illegal timber extraction. In addition, two planned roads are likely to cause high levels of disturbance to Hatinh Langur and Wulsin's Langur.

Conservation responses/actions for key biodiversity
In 1994, Eames et al. (1994) made an ornithological survey of the Annamese lowlands, including Phong Nha. With funding from the United Kingdom Department for International Development, WWF are implementing a project entitled Linking Hin Namnoand Phong Nha through Parallel Conservation. The first phase of this project ran for one year, from 1998 to 1999, and focused on research. A second phase, which will run for three years, is planned. The activities of this project at Phong Nha Nature Reserve to date have focused on capacity building for nature reserve staff and collecting baseline data. In addition, the initial planning for an environmental education programme at the site has taken place, and some activities have already been implemented at local schools and Women's Union groups. During 1998, Fauna and Flora International implemented a two-part project in the Phong Nha-Ke Bang area. The first part consisted of a training course for nature reserve staff, while the second part consisted of a survey of large mammals, bats and birds (Timmins et al., 1999).Koln Zoo plan to implement several activities at Phong Nha Nature Reserve, including carrying out biological surveys, and providing equipment and training opportunities to help nature reserve staff carry out their duties more effectively.

Protected areas
Phong Nha was decreed in 1986 as a cultural and historical site. In 1993 an investment plan that proposed that the Special-use Forest category of Phong Nha be changed from cultural and historical site to nature reserve was approved. In the investment plan, the total area of the nature reserve was given as 41,132 ha. Phong Nha is included on the 2010 list as a 147,800 ha nature reserve, under the management of MARD. However, Phong Nha is included on a proposed list of protected areas currently being proposed by FPD and FIPI as a 147,800 ha nature reserve, under the management of the provincial people's committee. In both cases, the name of the site is given as Phong Nha-Ke Bang.In 1998, FIPI prepared a revised investment plan for Phong Nha. This investment plan proposed extending the Special-use Forest to incorporate the Ke Bang limestone area to the north-west, and upgrading the management category from nature reserve to national park. The total area of the proposed national park was given as 147,945 ha (Nguyen Ngoc Chinh et al., 1998). This investment plan has not been approved, and it is uncertain how quickly, or even if, the process to upgrade Phong Nha to national park status will proceed.

Habitat and land use
The nature of the terrain at Phong Nha Nature Reserve has restricted encroachment into limestone areas (Timmins et al., 1999). As a result, the limestone karst is almost entirely forested, apart from steep cliff faces. The only clearance of forest has been in flat valleys within the limestone massif, and in lowland areas bordering it. According to the investment plan, Phong Nha Nature Reserve supports 38,620 ha of natural forest, equivalent to 94% of the total area of the nature reserve. The most widespread forest type is limestone forest, which covers 24,861 ha, while lowland evergreen forest covers 13,617 ha and riparian forest covers 142 ha (Anon. 1992).

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2022) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Phong Nha. Downloaded from on 21/01/2022.