The IBA is located inside Nam Chat/Nam Pan Provincial Protected Area (referred to as Nam Theun Extension proposed NBCA in many published sources), in northern Lao P.D.R. The vegetation of the IBA is characterised by the occurrence of a large area of wet evergreen forest, while Fokienia forest is also present (Thewlis et al. 1998). The IBA lies within the Annamite mountains, at a point where the summit ridges are relatively low (below 1,000 m asl) and do not bar the passage of rain clouds carried by the north-eastern monsoon. In addition, the IBA also experiences the south-western monsoon, which brings rain to the rest of Lao P.D.R. (Evans and Timmins 1998). As a result, the area receives a greater amount of precipitation than many other areas of the Annamite mountains in Lao P.D.R. and has closer faunal affinities to the eastern flanks of the Annamites in Vietnam. The avifauna of the wet evergreen forest in the IBA has affinities with forest at higher elevations within Nakai-Nam Theun National Protected Area. This habitat supports some very important bird populations, especially high densities of Crested Argus Rheinardia ocellata and Grey Laughingthrush Garrulax maesi. In addition, the IBA is one of the few sites in Lao P.D.R. known to support Short-tailed Scimitar Babbler Jabouilleia danjoui (Evans and Timmins 1998). Furthermore, the IBA supports Great Hornbill Buceros bicornis, Brown Hornbill Anorrhinus tickelli and Rufous-necked Hornbill Aceros nipalensis. While, by itself, the IBA might not be able to support viable populations of all of these species in the long-term, it forms part of a network of contiguous sites throughout the Annamite mountains that might. Finally, the IBA supports one of the most significant known populations of Saola Pseudoryx nghetinhensis in Lao P.D.R.
A fairly good impression was obtained of the avifaunas of the wet evergreen forest at Nam Kwai site, the Cypress forests and other areas above 1000m in central mountains and of the dry evergreen forest at Nakadox/middle Nam Xot (Timmins and Evans 1996).
Non-bird biodiversity: Tobias (1997) reported that the IBA supports population of Sunda Pangolin M. javanica, Inornate Squirrel C. inornatus, Leopard Cat P. bengalensis and possibly Chinese Pangolin M. pentadactyla, Dhole C. alpinus, Owston's Palm Civet H. owstoni, Tiger P. tigris and Indochinese Warty Pig S. bucculentus.Tobias (1997) and Tizard (1996) reported the IBA supports six species of primates: Slow Loris Nycticebus coucang, Pygmy Loris N. pygmaeus, Rhesus Macaque Macaca mulatta, Douc Langur Pygathrix nemaeus and White-cheeked Crested Gibbon Hylobates leucogenys.The IBA supports a large area of Fokienia forest (Fokienia hodginsii) and forest containing Fokienia speciesSaola Pseudoryx nghetinhensis (Tizard 1996; Timmins & Evans 1996 and Tobias 1997).
Pressure/threats to key biodiversity
One of the major threats to biodiversity at the IBA is conversion of forest to agriculture. Although the areas to the west of the IBA are densely settled and extensively deforested at lower elevations, forest cover within the IBA is still high. In some areas, however, encroachment is taking place rapidly (Thewlis et al. 1998). Hunting is another major threat to biodiversity at the IBA, particularly to large-bodied species such as Crested Argus and hornbills. There are extensive trail networks within the IBA, and trans-border hunting is a particular problem.
BirdLife International (2023) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Eastern Bolikhamxay Mountains. Downloaded from
http://www.birdlife.org on 02/04/2023.