The IBA comprises Mae Lao-Mae Sae Wildlife Sanctuary (51,440 ha) and Doi Sam Meaun (11,200 ha), a mountain that lies within the southern part of the adjacent Huai Nam Dang National Park. The topography of the site is dominated by rolling hills of low to medium elevation. There are several peaks above 1,000 m asl, and the site includes the headwaters of several tributaries of the Lam Nam Mae Teang and Lam Nam Mae Sa rivers. The site supports a range of forest types, including moist evergreen forest along some watercourses and hill evergreen forest on slopes above c.800 m asl. Mixed deciduous forest is found at lower elevations, with coniferous forest and dry evergreen forest along the drier ridges. Extensive areas at mid elevations have been cleared for shifting cultivation, particularly on Doi Sam Meaun. Watershed development projects exist in four parts of the site: Mae Jok Luang, Mae Sae, Thung Jor and Mon Un Kaet.
Three globally threatened species are known to occur at the IBA, comprising two residents (Mrs Hume's Pheasant Syrmaticus humiae and Giant Nuthatch Sitta magna) and one winter visitor (Grey-sided Thrush Turdus feae). The site supports a rich montane bird community, including 24 species restricted to the Sino-Himalayan Subtropical Forests (Biome 08). Furthermore, the site supports the globally near-threatened White-rumped Falcon Polihierax insignis, a nationally threatened species. The site qualifies under criterion A3 because it supports seven species restricted to the Sino-Himalayan Temperate Forests (Biome 07) and 24 species restricted to the Sino-Himalayan Subtropical Forests (Biome 08).
Non-bird biodiversity: Mammals Southern Serow Capricornis sumatraensis (VU) Long-tailed Goral Naemorhedus caudatus (VU)
BirdLife International (2022) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Mae Lao - Mae Sae. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 16/05/2022.