The IBA is located inside Nam Et National Protected Area, in northern Lao P.D.R. The IBA comprises the upper Nam Neun catchment and adjacent areas in the south-west of the national protected area. The topography of the IBA is mountainous, and elevations range from 800 to 1,500 m asl. Below 1,000 m asl, the vegetation of the IBA comprises mixed deciduous forest and stands of bamboo. Above 1,000 m asl, the vegetation is dominated by mixed deciduous forest and dry evergreen forest with occasional conifers. Many areas of forest have been degraded, particularly at lower elevations, while forest has been cleared from significant areas in the west of the IBA and replaced by secondary grassland (Davidson 1998). To the west, the IBA is contiguous with Phou Louey IBA (LA003). The site was selected as an IBA primarily on the basis of the presence of a large number of biome-restricted species, a significant proportion of which have recent confirmed records from few other sites in Lao P.D.R., although this may, in part, reflect a relative lack of recent ornithological study of montane habitats in the Northern Highlands. In addition, the Nam Neun and its tributaries support Blyth's Kingfisher Alcedo hercules.
The IBA supports very small number of IBA Key Species of bird (Ai and/or Aii criteria). Only one Key Species, Blyth's Kingfisher has been known, so far. However, the IBA supports nearly 40 species of Biome-restricted assemblages birds and most of which belong to one Biome (Biome 08: Sino-Himalayan Subtropical forest). Also, some of birds are only found in very few sites in Laos.
Non-bird biodiversity: Davidson (1998) recorded seven species of important fauna in the IBA: either Sundda Pangolin M. javanica or Chinese Pangolin M. pentadactyla, either Asiatic Black Bear U. thibetanus or Sun Bear U. malayanus, Leopard Cat P. bengalensis, Asian Golden Cat C. temminckii, Leopard P. pardus, Tiger P. tigris and Inornate Squirrel C. inornatus.
Pressure/threats to key biodiversity
One of the major threats to biodiversity at the IBA, particularly to populations of many biome-restricted species, is conversion of forest to shifting cultivation. Shifting cultivation is widely practicesd by local people, and is the biggest cause of forest loss within Nam Et Protected Area. Because of the long history of shifting cultivation, most areas of the protected area have been affected by shifting cultivation, and little old-growth forest remains (Davidson 1998). Shifting cultivation is not, necessarily, a threat to all biome-restricted species at the IBA. Some species, such as Jerdon's Buschat Saxicola jerdoni, appear to benefit from annual burning of forest and adjacent habitats, which maintain and promote swathes of tall grass and herbs (Davidson 1998). Hunting is another major threat to biodiversity at the IBA, and is a particulalry threat to populations of several large mammals and, possibly, to ground-dwelling birds. Potential future threats to biodiversity include road development and human resettlement within or close to the IBA (Davidson 1998).
Nam Et National Protected Area (1993) 214413 Ha20.483N 103.616EIUCN category IVContains IBA
BirdLife International (2022) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Nam Et. Downloaded from
http://www.birdlife.org on 26/06/2022.