Van Ban district is located in the southeast corner of Lao Cai province and abuts the adjacent Yen Bai province on its southern and eastern borders. This IBA encompasses part of the Hoang Lien mountain chain which includes the nearby Fan Si Pan IBA. The district covers an area of 143,927 ha and is estimated to contain around 10,000 ha of forest, much of which is primary evergreen forest. This is considered to be one of the largest expanses of forest north of Hanoi remaining in the country (Long et al. 2000). The majority of the district is mountainous and lies above 700 m asl.
Non-bird biodiversity: The presence of other globally threatened species of mammal has been confirmed by Long et al. (2000) including Chrotogale owstoni, Lutra lutra, Macaca arctoides, M. assamensis and Nomascus concolor. Several other species including Ursus thibetanus and U. malayanus were also provisionally listed for the area by Long et al. (2000). In addition, the presence of the threatened conifer, Fokenia hodginsii, has been recorded by Long et al. (2000) and Tordoff et al. (2002).
Habitat and land use
A range of vegetation types are present which may be broadly classified as primary evergreen lower and upper montane forest (hill evergreen and montane broadleaf evergreen forest), primary elfin upper montane forest and other anthropogenic types found in more easily accessible locations (generally at lower elevations) including, mixed bamboo and secondary evergreen lower montane forest, secondary scrub, grass and agricultural lands (Long et al. 2000).
Pressure/threats to key biodiversity
Threats to site biodiversity include timber extraction (particularly of Fokienia hodginsii), rattan collection and hunting (Long et al. 2000). Tordoff et al. (2002) identified lowland evergreen forest as a priority for forest protection and management activities, as the rate of loss within this habitat type is greatest with the majority of remnant areas already degraded (Tordoff et al. 2002).
Conservation responses/actions for key biodiversity
An integrated conservation intervention project is currently being implemented in Van Ban district by Fauna and Flora International Vietnam Programme.
Currently, no protected area exists within the district, although a feasibility study for the establishment of a protected area is currently under preparation by the FFI Vietnam Programme (Tordoff et al 2002).