The Boat Landing Guest House, Luang Namtha, Laos - offering pro-poor tourism options fighting climate change

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The Nam Ha Protected Area

Luang Namtha's Nam Ha Protected Area,  named an ASEAN Heritage Park in 2005, comprises 222,400 hectares of land ranging from the lowlands of the Luang Namtha Plain to 2,000 meter peaks of its northern highlands. The park includes some of the most significant and largest contiguous wilderness areas in the Lao PDR. The altitude ranges form 560 meters on the plain to 2,094 meters at the highest peak and thus, supports a wide variety of flora. Among these:

  • Hill and evergreen and semi-evergreen forests;
  • Dry, temperate-like upland broadleaf woodlands;
  • Mature sub-montane and montane evergreen forest;
  • A mosaic of secondary habitats
  • Several clear water streams and rivers, fed by a dense network of tributary streams

This broad suite of habitats supports a biodiversity of national importance.

As the flora is diverse so is the fauna. At least 37 larger mammal species can be found in the NPA. 19 key species of conservation concern have been observed are reliably reported by villagers. These include:

  • Three large cat species - Clouded Leopard, Leopard and Tiger
  • At least six ungluate species including gaur and an unidentified species of muntjac
  • A small population of Asian Elephants

The bird fauna is also diverse with at least 288 species observed or reported by villagers. At least 18 Key Species of conservation concern were found, including:

  • nationally important populations of Sliver Pheasant
  • a healthy population of Blyth's Kingfisher
  • several south-east Asian highland species that have been found in few other places in northern Laos (e.g. Whiskered Yuhina, Ashy-throated Warbler, Green-tailed Sunbird)
  • the first recent sightings of Crimson-breasted Woodpecker in Lao

To date no survey of small mammals, reptiles, amphibians or fish have been undertaken. These taxons should prove to be highly interesting and of conservation concern as well.

Tracts of relatively undisturbed old secondary forest remain within the Southern Highlands as well as within the Nam Kuaylong River Valley. The spine of the Northern Highlands holds an important mosaic of grasslands and patches of relatively undisturbed montane evergreen forest. These two areas together with their native faunal assemblage, are of very high conservation priority.

District police releasing confiscated soft shell turtle at the boat landing in Luang Namtha - 31 August 2000

The Nam Ha National Biodiversity Conservation was expanded in 1999 and is now contiguous with Shiang Yong Protected Area in Meng La County, China.

Links for Shiang Yong Protected Area in China

 Nature Reserve in Sipsongpana (Xishuangbanna)

For Nam HA NPA Map

 Click Here 

Source: A Wildlife and Habitat Survey of Nam Ha and Nam Kong Protected Areas, Luang Namtha Province, Lao PDR, 1997, Department of Resource Conservation/Wildlife Conservation Society  Cooperative Program, Dept. of Forestry, Ministry of Agriculuture and Forestry, Lao PDR

By Robert Tizard, Peter Davidson, Khamkhoun and Khounmee Salivong

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Revised: June 01, 2009 .