The IBA is situated inside Nam Ha Protected Area, in northern Lao P.D.R. The IBA lies along a mountainous ridge, between 1,000 and 2,094 m asl, that runs south-west from the international border with China. The natural vegetation of the IBA is dry evergreen forest with upper montane forest at higher elevations. Large areas of forest have, however, been cleared for shifting cultivation and now support Imperata grassland. Most of the remaining areas of forest have been disturbed, although there are some remnant patches of relatively undisturbed forest at high elevations. The IBA supports a rich montane avifauna, and was selected on the basis that it supports a significant number of biome-restricted bird species, including some that are not known to occur at any other IBA in Lao P.D.R., such as White-bellied Redstart Hodgsonius phaenicuroides, Crested Finchbill Spizixos canifrons and White-necked Laughingthrush Garrulax strepitans.
The IBA is qualified under Biome-restricted assemblages (A3). The IBA supports many species of A3 of which some occur in less than three IBAs or only in this IBA. Nam Ha Northern Highlands IBA is not known to support any key bird species (Tizard et al. 1997).
Non-bird biodiversity: Tizard et al. (1997) observed Assamese Macaque Macaca assamensis. In addition, Slow Loris Nycticebus coucang, Rhesus Macaque Macaca mulatta and Stump-tailed Macaque M. arctoides were reported but not confirmed.Tizard et al. (1997) confirmed that one ungulate species in the IBA: Gaur Bos gaurus occuring in the IBA, but the abundance uncertain.
Pressure/threats to key biodiversity
According to a preliminary survey of threats, the main threats to biodiversity at the IBA are shifting cultivation, which is resulting in habitat loss, and exploitation of NTFPs for sale, which is resulting in declines in the populations of certain species (Johnson 2000). Other threats include hunting for sale, exploitation of NTFPs for subsistence, hunting for food, infrastructure development, and grazing by free-ranging livestock (Johnson 2000).
Conservation responses/actions for key biodiversity
Further baseline wildlife and habitat surveys are requireed to cover the southern part of Nam Ha Protected Area, an area that was not visited during the survey by Tizard et al. (1997). And other area not receiving sufficient attention.