Pu Mat

Year of compilation: 2002

Site description
This IBA comprises Pu Mat Nature Reserve, which is situated in the northern Annamite mountains. The highest points in the nature reserve are found in the south, along the mountain ridge that forms the international border between Vietnam and Laos. A series of steep-sided valleys run perpendicular to this ridge, forming a series of smaller north-south ridges. The steep terrain in most parts of the nature reserve has been an obstacle to extensive clearance of forest. Pu Mat is among the best studied sites in Vietnam in terms of biodiversity. The nature reserve supports one of the largest remaining blocks of natural forest in northern Vietnam, and is linked to other protected areas in Vietnam and Laos by contiguous areas of forest. The most widespread vegetation type in the nature reserve is lowland evergreen forest. At higher elevations, lower montane evergreen forest is distributed. Pu Mat is probably one of the most important sites for mammal conservation in Vietnam. A number of threatened mammal species have recently been recorded at the nature reserve, including Saola Pseudoryx nghetinhensis, White-cheeked Crested Gibbon Nomascus leucogenys, Tiger Panthera tigris and Asian Elephant Elephas maximus.

Key biodiversity
Pu Mat is thought to support globally important populations of Crested Argus Rheinardia ocellata and Rufous-necked Hornbill Aceros nipanlensis.

Non-bird biodiversity: The following threatened primate species have been recorded at Pu Mat Nature Reserve (Grieser Johns ed., 2000): Pygmy Loris Nycticebus pygmaeus, Assamese Macaque Macaca assamensis, Rhesus Macaque Macaca mulatta, Long-tailed Macaque Macaca fascicularis, Stump-tailed Macaque Macaca arctoides, Phayre's Leaf Monkey Trachypithecus phayrei and White/Buff-cheeked Crested Gibbon Nomascus leucogenys/gabrielle. However, Long-tailed Macaque is considered to be an invasive species to Pu Mat and is displacing the populations of Stump-tailed Macaques and Assamese Macaques.The following threatened turtle species have been confirmed to occur at Pu Mat: Big-headed Turtle Platysternon megacephalum, Pelodiscus sinensis, Wattle-necked Softshell Turtle Palea steindachneri, Indochinese box Turtle Cuora galbinifrons, Geomyda spengleri Black-breasted Leaf Turtle, Four-eyed Turtle Sacalia quadriocellata, Chinese Stripe-necked Turtle Ocadia sinensis, Keeled Box Turtle Pyxidea mouhotii, Impressed Tortoise Manouria impressa, Elongated Tortoise Indotestudo elongata. In addition, Asiatic Softshell Turtle Amyda cartilaginea, Asian Leaf Turtle Cuora dentata and Chinese Three-striped Turtle Cuora trifasciata have been recorded at interview (Grieser Johns ed., 2000).Two threatened gymnosperm species have been recorded at Pu Mat: Fokienia hodginsii and Cunninghamia konishii (Grieser Johns ed., 2000).It has recently been estimated that Pu Mat Nature Reserve supports 6-10 individual Asian Elephants Elephas maximus, a population that makes Pu Mat one of the most important sites for elephant conservation in Vietnam (Grieser Johns ed., 2000). Grieser Johns ed. (2000) recorded the following threatened ungulate species at Pu Mat: Dark/Pygmy Annamite Muntjac Muntiacus truongsonensis, Giant Muntjac Megamuntiacus vuquangensis, Gaur Bos gaurus, Southern Serow Naemorhedus sumatraensis and Saola Pseudoryx nghetinhensis. The nature reserve has been identified as a key site for large mammal conservation because of its large size (Grieser Johns ed., 2000).

Pressure/threats to key biodiversity
The major threats to biodiversity at Pu Mat are illegal timber extraction, exploitation of non-timber forest products, hunting, collection of reptiles and amphibians for the wildlife trade, clearance of forest for cultivation, and gold mining.

Conservation responses/actions for key biodiversity
A detailed biodiversity survey of Pu Mat Nature Reserve was conducted in 1998 and 1999, as part of the EC-funded project entitled Social Forestry and Nature Conservation in Nghe An Province (SFNC) (Grieser Johns ed., 2000). The following taxonomic groups were surveyed: plants, butterflies, hawk moths and emperor moths, amphibians and reptiles, small mammals, bats, large mammals, birds and fish. The survey report provides specific conservation recommendations for each taxonomic group surveyed. The avifaunal observations made during the SFNC project are reported more comprehensively by Round (1999). These surveys built on earlier work by FIPI (Anon., 1993) and Frontier-Vietnam (Kemp et al., 1995). As a result of these surveys, Pu Mat is among the best studied sites in Vietnam in terms of biodiversity.The SFNC project is currently being implemented by MARD, in partnership with the European Commission. This project began in May 1997, and is planned to run for six years. The project has a budget of 18.7 million Euro. The SFNC project is designed to conserve the forest resources and biodiversity of Pu Mat Nature Reserve and its buffer zone (Grieser Johns ed., 2000).

Protected areas
In 1986, the establishment of two separate Special-use forests in what is now Nghe An province was decreed. These two decreed protected areas were later combined to provide the legal basis for establishing Pu Mat Nature Reserve. In 1993, FIPI prepared an investment plan for Pu Mat Nature Reserve, which gave the total area of the nature reserve as 93,400 ha. This investment plan was approved in 1995, although the area of the nature reserve was revised slightly to 91,113 ha. Pu Mat is included on the 2010 list as a 93,400 ha nature reserve.

Habitat and land use
The most widespread vegetation type in the nature reserve is lowland evergreen forest. At higher elevations, lower montane evergreen forest (hill evergreen forest) is distributed. Above 1,500 m, the forest is characterised by the presence of the conifers Cunninghamia konishii, Fokienia hodginsii and Decussocarpus wallichianus. Undisturbed areas of this forest sub-type occur along high ridges in the north-west of the nature reserve (Grieser Johns ed., 2000).

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2023) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Pu Mat. Downloaded from on 02/02/2023.