The IBA is located inside Nam Xam Protected Area, in northern Lao P.D.R. The topography of the IBA is dominated by hills and low mountains, with a few of peaks over 1,600 m asl. The natural vegetation of the IBA is dominated by dry evergreen forest, with Fokienia forest at higher elevations, and mixed deciduous forest in some river valleys. There are also some areas of stunted, mossy upper montane forest at the highest elevations. In recent years, much of the Fokienia forest within the IBA has been severely degraded by commercial logging. Within Nam Xam Protected Area, there are also significant areas of agricultural land and secondary regrowth following shifting cultivation, although these are mainly excluded from the IBA. The IBA is though to support populations of Red-collared Woodpecker Picus rabieri, Great Hornbill Buceros bicornis and Beautiful Nuthatch Sitta formosa. The IBA may also support populations of Brown Hornbill Anorrhinus tickelli and Rufous-necked Hornbill Aceros nipalensis, although these populations may have been severely affected by hunting and may no longer be viable in the long term. The IBA is also important for the conservation of a number of primate species, including White-cheeked Crested Gibbon Hylobates leucogenys (Showler et al. 1998).
It is recommended that further wildlife survey should be conducted in the west section of Nam Xam NBCA. A large area of west section remained uncovered by the survey. The author suggested that the forested ridge north of Nnam Xam in west section and the eastern part of the tract of broadleaf evergreen/Fokienia forest (to the east of Phou Xang Khom) are the highest priority for further survey due to their potential biodiversity conservation and importance for Key species (Showler et al. 1998).
Non-bird biodiversity: Showler et al. (1998) sighted one Marbled Cat P. marmorata walking down a disused logging track in mixed broadleaf evergreen/Fokienia forest at 1,350m on Phou Xang Khom at midday.A local guide siad Golden Cat C. temminckii presents in the area of Phou Xang Khom, but rare (Showler et al. 1998).Showler et al. (1998) recorded one species of primate: White-cheeked Crested Gibbon Hylobates leucogenys. Also two species of primate were reported by local villagers: Slow/Pygmy Loris Nycticebus coucang/pygmaeus and Assamese Macaque Macaca assamensis. An unidentified species, likely to be Bear Macaque M. arctoides, was reported by local villagers.The IBA supports the community of Fokienia hodginsii forest.
Pressure/threats to key biodiversity
The major threats to biodiversity at the IBA are hunting, and habitat loss, as a result of shifting cultivation. Significant areas of mature forest are being cleared for shifting cultivation of hill rice and cassava. During the 1990s, commercial timber extraction, concentrated on Fokienia, was conducted in the western sector of Nam Xam Protected Area; although this has now ceased. Hunting is conducted for both subsistence and trade, and is probably exacerbated by the presence of a thriving wildlife market on the international border with Vietnam, 8 km from the IBA. Hunting may result in the local extinction of several species of conservation concern, such as White-cheeked Crested Gibbon, in the near future (Showler et al. 1998).
BirdLife International (2022) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Nam Xam. Downloaded from
http://www.birdlife.org on 05/12/2022.