The IBA is located in the upper catchment of the Xe Bangfai, immediately to the south of Hin Namno National Protected Area, in central Lao P.D.R. In contrast to Hin Namno National Protected Area, the geology of the IBA is principally non-calcareous. The vegetation of the IBA is dominated by semi-evergreen forest and dry evergreen forest, although the forests around the headwaters of the Xe Bangfai are probably more strongly influenced by monsoon rains crossing from Vietnam and, thus, wetter (Walston and Vinton 1999). Parts of the IBA were heavily bombed during the Second Indochinese War, as a result of which there is a large amount of unexploded ordnance in the area. Due to the presence of unexploded ordnance, survey coverage of the IBA is poor. However, results of surveys to date, coupled with anecdotal information from local people, indicate that the IBA supports a potentially significant population of Crested Argus Rheinardia ocellata. In addition, Siamese Fireback Lophura diardi, Lesser Fish Eagle Ichthyophaga humilis and, provisionally, Rufous-necked Hornbill Aceros nipalensis have been recorded at the IBA. Moreover, there are convincing reports of the occurrence of Saola Pseudoryx nghetinhensis from the IBA (Walston and Vinton 1999). To the east, the IBA is contiguous with Truong Son IBA (VN041) in Vietnam, which supports populations of many of the key species found at Upper Xe Bangfai IBA (Le Manh Hung et al. 2002).
The IBA supports five Key species of birds. Population of two speices, Siamese Fireback and Rufous-necked Hornbill may not be significant and also the identification of the latter was not confirmed and it might be other species of Hornbill.However, the area of primary forest inside the IBA site was not surveyed and it might support the number of population of five Key species or other IBA Key species of birds.
Non-bird biodiversity: Walston and Vinton (1999) recorded two fresh pug marks and a scratch mark of Tiger P. tigris and the evidences of Crestless Himalayan Poccupine H. brachyura.Walston and Vinton (1999) recorded seven species of primate: Pig-tailed Macaque Macaca nemestrina, Assamese Macaque M. assamensis, Rhesus Macaque M. mulatta, Bear Macaque M. arctoides, Francois's Langur Semnopithecus francoisi, Douc Langur Pygathrix nemaeus and White/Yellow-cheeked Crested Gibbon Hylobates leucogenys/gabriellae. There were also provisional records of Slow Loris Nycticebus coucang and Pygmy Loris N. pygmaeus.he results of interviewing local people showed that six species of turtle to occur within the survey area by Walston and Vinton (1999), but the sighting sites of these species were not confirmed and they might not occur inside this IBA area. The species reported include Asian Leaf Turtle Cyclemys dentata complex, Yellow-headed Temple Turtle Hieremys annandalii, Keeled Box Turtle Pyxidea mouhotii, Elongated Tortoise Indotestudo elongata, Asiatic Softshell Turtle Amyda cartilaginea and Wattle-necked Softshell Turtle Palea steindacheri (Walston and Vinton 1999).Walston and Vinton (1999) recorded old tracks of Gaur Bos gaurus at Ban Houayhat and Ban Pacan and recorded dropings of Southern Serow Naemorhedus sumatrensis throughout the area. There were also unconfirmed records of Saola Pseudoryx nghetinhensis.
Pressure/threats to key biodiversity
One of the main threats to biodiversity at the IBA is conversion of forest to agriculture. Outside of the IBA, the forest has been extensive cleared for cultivation, particularly along the banks of the Xe Bangfai. As a result, very little forest remains and the vegetation is dominated by secondary scrub and grassland, and stands of bamboo (Walston and Vinton 1999). While the IBA remains extensively forested, the potential for human settlement along the Xe Bangfai and conversion of forest exists, although the presence of unexploded ordnance may act as a deterent to some degree. Another threat to biodiversity at the IBA is hunting, which may be a particular threat to large-bodied birds, such as hornbills and Crested Argus, certain large mammals, such as Saola, and turtles.