The natural vegetation on the plateau has been extensively degraded, and the existing vegetation is dominated by pine woodland and grassland (Thewlis et al. 1998). In addition to pine woodland and grassland, there are small pockets of degraded semi-evergreen forest and dry evergreen forest, and patches of marshy land with tall grasses (Showler et al. 1998).
Bird diversity was moderate (considering the narrow altitudinal range covered), but the virtual absence of large ground-foraging species and relatively low densities of some others appeared to indecate quite high hunting pressure (Showler et al. 1998)
Non-bird biodiversity: Showler et al. (1998) recorded two species of other important fauna: Oriental Small-clawed Otter A. cinerea and Tiger P. tigris.Showler et al. (1998) found the remains of Big-headed Turtle Platysternon megacephalum hunted from the IBA site.Local villagers reported two herds totaling more than 20 animals of the Asian Elephant Elephas maximus present at the IBA site and Showler et al. (1998) also counted six piles of droppings.
Pressure/threats to key biodiversity
One of the main threats to biodiversity is the IBA is habitat degradation and loss. Clearance of forest for agriculture and selective timber extraction have already resulted in the loss of extensive areas of natural forest and the degradation of other areas. Another factor contributing to habitat degradation is grazing by domestic livestock. Another major threat to biodiversity at the IBA is hunting. Some large-bodied ground-foraging bird species appear to be virtual absent from the IBA, while others seem to occur at very low densities, indicating quite high hunting pressure (Showler et al. 1998). A potential threat to biodiversity at the IBA is infrastructure development, particularly a planned road linking Sekong town with Da Nang city in Vietnam (Timmins and Vongkhamheng 1996). Any road construction could be expected to lead to higher levels of natural resource exploitation and to facilitate human settlement within and adjacent to the IBA.
BirdLife International (2020) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Dakchung Plateau. Downloaded from
http://www.birdlife.org on 09/08/2020.