This IBA comprises Hoang Lien Son-Sa Pa Nature Reserve. The Nature Reserve is located in the Hoang Lien mountains, which are an extension of the Ailao Shan mountains in China, the south-eastern extent of the Himalayan chain. The nature reserve is located on the north-east flank of these mountains and includes Vietnam's highest peak, Mount Fan Si Pan (3,143 m). Most of the site lies above 1,000 m. Hoang Lien Son-Sa Pa contains approximately 11,000 ha of natural forest. Variations in altitude, topography, hydrology and micro-climate within the nature reserve have produced a wide variety of habitat types, which can be broadly classified into scrub, savanna, submontane dry evergreen forest, montane deciduous forest, sub-alpine forest and dwarf bamboo. Mammal diversity and abundance are relatively low as a result of intensive hunting pressure. Biodiversity at the site is threatened by over-exploitation of natural resources, clearance of land for agriculture, accidental fire and hunting.
Hoang Lien Son-Sa Pa supports high bird diversity. 347 bird species have been recorded in and around the nature reserve, including 49 species that are restricted in Vietnam to north-west Tonkin.
Non-bird biodiversity: Tordoff et al. (1999) recorded five threatened primate species at Hoang Lien Son-Sa Pa on the basis of interviews and specimens: Pygmy Loris Nycticebus pygmaeus, Assamese Macaque Macaca assamensis, Rhesus Macaque Macaca mulatta, Stump-tailed Macaque Macaca arctoides and Black Crested Gibbon Nomascus concolor.Hoang Lien Son-Sa Pa supports Fokienia hodginsii (Tordoff et al., 1999).Tordoff et al. (1999) recorded the presence of Southern Serow Naemorhedus sumatraensis at Hoang Lien Son-Sa Pa, on the basis of interviews.
Pressure/threats to key biodiversity
Over-exploitation of natural resources, together with clearance of land for cultivation and by accidental fire, is rapidly destroying the natural vegetation cover of Hoang Lien Son-Sa Pa Nature Reserve. Already, natural forest covers less than half the of area of the nature reserve, and continued human disturbance threatens those areas that remain. Where forest has been cleared or burnt, soil fertility has decreased, and it will be a long time before the forest regenerates (Tordoff et al., 1999). Cardomom Amomum aromaticum cultivation, timber extraction and the collection of non-timber forest products are leading to deterioration in forest quality and changes in species composition. However, the long-term effects of these activities will be less severe as, firstly, some canopy cover remains, and, secondly, nutrients are not lost through erosion. If these activities cease, the forest may be able to recover relatively rapidly (Tordoff et al., 1999).Hunting, for food and the wildlife trade, threatens populations of certain mammals and song birds (Tordoff et al., 1999).
Conservation responses/actions for key biodiversity
In 1997-1998, Frontier-Vietnam and the Institute of Ecology and Biological Resources conducted a one-year biodiversity survey of the nature reserve and made recommendations for its conservation (Tordoff et al., 1999).Since 1998, Frontier-Vietnam have been implementing an environmental education programme in Sa Pa district, focused on the four communes within the nature reserve.Sa Pa district was selected as a case-study for the IUCN Capacity Building for Sustainable Tourism Initiatives Project. This project included an investigation of the potential for eco-tourism development in the area.Oxfam GB are currently implementing education and agriculture programmes in Sa Pa district.Frontier-Vietnam are currently implementing a project to investigate the potential of medicinal plant cultivation as an alternative source of income for ethnic minority people in and around Hoang Lien Son-Sa Pa Nature Reserve.CraftLink are currently implementing a project to promote handicraft production by ethnic minority people in Sa Pa district.
Hoang Lien Son-Sa Pa Nature Reserve (then called Nui Hoang Lien) was decreed in 1986. The first investment plan relating to the reserve, prepared in 1993, defined a 29,845 ha nature reserve in Sa Pa and Than Uyen districts. In 1997, the area in Than Uyen district was placed under the management of the Song Da Watershed Protection Forest management board. An investment plan for the revised nature reserve was prepared in 1997. The boundary of the revised nature reserve was revised again in 1998 to include areas in Ban Ho commune.
Habitat and land use
Hoang Lien Son-Sa Pa Nature Reserve contains 11,071 ha of natural forest (Tordoff et al., 1999). Variations in altitude, topography, hydrology and micro-climate within the nature reserve have produced a wide variety of habitat types, which can be broadly classified into scrub, savanna, submontane dry evergreen forest, montane deciduous forest, sub-alpine forest and dwarf bamboo (Tordoff et al., 1999). The vegetation cover of the reserve is as follows: Agriculture and settlements, 1,286 ha; Cultivated bamboo, 55 ha; Secondary scrub, 7,999 ha; Savanna (grouped with secondary scrub under Habitats and % Cover) 4,088 ha; Plantation forest, 102 ha; Broadleaf forest 700 to 1,600 m, 948 ha; Coniferous forest 700 to 1,600 m, 236 ha;Broadleaf forest 1,600 m to 2,400 m, 8,721 ha; Mixed broadleaf and coniferous forest 1,600 to 2,400 m, 312 ha; Forest above 2,400 m, 854 ha; Dwarf bamboo above 2,400 m, 59 ha.
BirdLife International (2019) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Fan Si Pan. Downloaded from
http://www.birdlife.org on 18/07/2019.