The IBA is located inside Phou Xiang Thong National Protected Area, in southern Lao P.D.R. The topography of the IBA slopes from east to west, as the landscape changes from low hills to lowlands along the eastern bank of the Mekong River. The vegetation of the IBA is characterised by a complex mosaic of semi-evergreen forest interspersed with patches of mixed deciduous forest, dry dipterocarp forest and open rocky savanna. The IBA is drained by a number of seasonal streams, which flow into the Mekong River (Evans et al. 2000). Phou Xiang Thong is considered to be one of the few protected areas in Lao P.D.R. with potential support a viable population of Green Peafowl Pavo muticus (Evans and Timmins 1997); the main concentrations of this species within the national protected area are included within the IBA. The semi-evergreen forest at the IBA supports a moderately high density of Siamese Fireback Lophura diardi, although densities of two other key species, Red-collared Woodpecker Picus rabieri and Grey-faced Tit Babbler Macronous kelleyi, are much lower (Evans et al. 2000).
Coverage was brief, yet fairly representative in view of the limited array of altitudinal zones and habitat types. A number of additional Key species can be expected to occur, given further fieldwork. Some species might be overlooked and the remoter, steeper areas of semi-evergreen rain forest above 500m were not covered. Thus, they require further survey work. (Evans et al. 1996)
Non-bird biodiversity: Evans et al. (1996) recorded the Bear species Ursus sp.Evans et al. (1996) recorded three species of primates: Slow Loris Nycticebus pygmaeus???, Pig-tailed Macaque Macaca nemestrina and gibbon species Hylobates sp. It is also believed that Douc Langur Pygathrix nemaeus still occurred in the area, but the effort of survey could not find any. A further survey is required to confirm the status of this species.A number of unconfirmed reports of Siamese Crocodile Crocodylus siamensis have originated from Phou Xiang Thong. Confirmation of these reports was actively sought by Evans et al. (1996) but the results were negative.Evans et al. (1996) recorded one species of ungulate: Southern Serow Naemorhedus sumatraensis.
Pressure/threats to key biodiversity
The major threat to biodiversity at the IBA is hunting, which is exacerbated by the presence of several permanent villages within the IBA, and the existence of a number of roads through it. Hunting is a particular threat to key wildlife species, including Green Peafowl. An additional threat to biodiversity is small-scale, illegal timber extraction. Clearance of forest for agriculture has taken place within the IBA, although its impacts have been limited.
The Phou Xiang Thong Protected Area is the only protected area in Laos include a stretch of the Mekong River. In the opposite of the Protected Area, in Thailand, along the western bank of the Mekong River, there is the Pha Taem National Park.
BirdLife International (2022) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Phou Xiang Thong. Downloaded from
http://www.birdlife.org on 25/06/2022.