The IBA is primarily comprised of the catchment of the Srepok River upstream of Lomphat town, excluding a few peripheral areas that are heavily degraded. The topography of the IBA is relatively flat, although there are a number of low hills, most notably those around Phnom Yang Ke. The vegetation of the IBA is characterised by a habitat mosaic dominated by deciduous dipterocarp forest, with smaller areas of semi-evergreen forest and mixed deciduous forest. In addition, the IBA contains numerous wetlands. In addition to the Srepok River, its permanent tributaries and associated oxbow lakes, there are numerous seasonal streams, some of which retain pools of water during the dry season. There are also numerous pools and seasonally wet meadows, which vary in size from a few metres to a few hundreds of metres in width. The north-western part of the IBA is included within Lomphat Wildlife Sanctuary, while the southern part is included within a recently decreed Forest Reserve for Conservation of Genetic and Wildlife Resources. The IBA supports one of the most intact remaining examples of the bird community of the dry forests of central Indochina. The relative abundance of large ungulates means that the IBA has greater potential to support viable populations of White-rumped, Long-billed and Red-headed Vultures Gyps bengalensis, G. indicus and Sarcogyps calvus than most other areas in mainland South-east Asia. In addition, the Srepok River is one of the few sites in Cambodia known to support Masked Finfoot Heliopais personata. Furthermore, there is a single record of White-winged Duck Cairina scutulata from the IBA, and the presence of significant areas of suitable habitat indicate that the IBA may support a significant population of this species. There is also a single record of White-shouldered Ibis Pseudibis davisoni but the precise status of this species at the IBA is not known. Finally, there is a single record of Pale-capped Pigeon Columba punicea from along the Dak Dam stream, which forms the international border with Vietnam, although it is unclear exactly which stretch this record is from, and it may even be from within Snoul/Keo Sema/O Reang IBA (KH027). As with White-shouldered Ibis, the precise status of this species at the IBA is not known.
Other regionally significant species present: Grey Heron, Brahminy Kite, River Lapwing, Red-wattled Lapwing, Small Pratincole, Great Thick Knee, River Tern, Pied Kingfisher, Baya Weaver.
Non-bird biodiversity: Some other regionally significant mammal species also occur in the IBA like Dhole (Cuon alpinus), Fishing CatLong-tailed Macaque (Macaca fascicularis), Pig-tailed Macaque (Macaca nemestrina), Silvered Langur (Semnopithecus cristatus), Douc Langur (Pygathrix nemaeus).Asiatic Softshell Turtle (Amyda cartilaginea), [Asian Giant Softshell Turtle (Pelochelys cantorii)], Yellow-headed Temple Turtle (Hieremys annandalii), Giant Asian Pond Turtle (Heosemys grandis), Elongated Tortoise (Indotestudo elongata), Malayan Box Turtle (Cuora ambionensis), Siamese Crocodile (Crocodylus siamensis).Asian Elephant (Elephas maximus), Eld's Deer (Cervus eldii), Gaur (Bos gaurus), Banteng (Bos javanicus) and Wild Water Buffalo (Bubalus arnee).
Pressure/threats to key biodiversity
The major on-going threat to biodiversity at the IBA is hunting, which is a particular threat to populations of hornbills, parakeets, green pigeons and Green Peafowl Pavo muticus. Hunting is also an indirect threat to vulture populations, as it threatens the populations of large ungulates, which represent their main source of food. Along the Srepok River, cutting of trees and clearance of land for agriculture occurs along the banks, and destructive fishing methods, particularly the use of poison and explosives, is also of concern. These represent threats to Masked Finfoot and other riverine bird species.
Conservation responses/actions for key biodiversity
Recommendations- Measures to counter hunting and trade of wildlife must be put in place throughout the area. This should start with setting up patrolling systems in the Mondulkiri Protected Forest.- Core areas Upper Tonle Srepok, approximately west of O Chbar, both north and south of the river, to the Vietnamese border should receive strict protection under the existing structures of the Mondulkiri Protected Forest.-Conservation of this important stretch of the Srepok River should be an integral part of management of the existing conservation areas. However, this must be viewed at the scale of the complete river system, in conjunction with the stretch within Lomphat IBA (KH024), as focusing on just one small stretch in isolation could have disastrous consequences.- Further surveys and research along the Srepok River and its tributaries needs to be carried out. These should focus on identifying important stretches of riverine forest, smaller backwater rivers and streams, and better determining the numbers and breeding success of sandbar-nesting species.- Efforts must be made to protect sandbar-nesting bird species while they are breeding. Community agreements could be set up with individual villages so that the nest areas will not be disturbed.- Immigration, illegal settlement and land encroachment into the most important and critical areas across the IBA should be prevented.- New villages and agricultural development along the Srepok River should be discouraged and key stretches of riverine forest identified should be strictly protected from logging and shifting cultivation.