VN046 Vietnam Bird Watching Lo Xo

VN046 Vietnam Bird Watching Lo Xo Criteria: A1 & A2

vn046-300x300Province(s):          Kon Tum and Quang Nam
PA Status:            Nature Reserve

Latitude:               15º14’N
Longitude:            107º45’E
Area:                     15,000 ha
Altitude Range:    1,500-2,032 m asl                                                

EBA / SA: Kon Tum Plateau EBA
Priority Landscape: CA 1 – Central Annamites

General Description

The IBA is located on the Kon Tum plateau, and is centred on the Lo Xo pass, a mountain pass along National Highway 2 (previously National Highway 14), on the border between Kon Tum and Quang Nam provinces. The IBA includes the mountain ridges on both sides of the pass in Dak Glei district, Kon Tum province, and Phuoc Son district, Quang Nam province. The areas to the west and south of the pass are within Ngoc Linh (Kon Tum) Nature Reserve, while those to the north-east of the pass are within Song Thanh proposed nature reserve. The highest points in the IBA are Mount Ngoc Ti On (2,032 m asl) and an unnamed 1,988 m asl peak. The IBA is extensively forested, and the main forest type is lower montane evergreen forest, although there exist smaller areas of upper montane evergreen forest. Lo Xo IBA is situated 15 km to the west of Ngoc Linh IBA, to which it is connected by intervening forest areas.

Bird Fauna: Key Features

Due to disparities in survey effort, all bird records from Lo Xo IBA are from Ngoc Linh (Kon Tum) Nature Reserve, and there are currently no records from Song Thanh proposed nature reserve. Lo Xo IBA is situated within the Kon Tum Plateau Endemic Bird Area (EBA), and supports six of the nine restricted-range species that define this EBA. Most notably, the IBA supports a population of Black-crowned Barwing Actinodura sodangorum. This species was only discovered in 1996, and is currently known from only two other sites in the world: Ngoc Linh IBA in Vietnam and Dakchung Plateau IBA in Laos. The IBA supports suitable habitat for two other newly described species with global ranges restricted to the Kon Tum Plateau EBA: Golden-winged Laughingthrush Garrulax ngoclinhensis and Chestnut-eared Laughingthrush G. konkakinhensis. To date, however, neither species has been recorded in the IBA.

Species IBACriteria Global Threat Status OtherIBAs Notes
Crested ArgusRheinardia ocellata A1, A2 VU 15 The species was heard calling on several occasions in April 19981,2.
Black-crowned BarwingActinodura sodangorum A1, A2 VU 1 Two pairs were observed, one at 1,000 m asl and another at 1,500 m asl in April 19983.
Brown HornbillAnorrhinus tickelli A1, A3 NT 16 The species was heard on a single occasion in April 19981,2.
Yellow-billed NuthatchSitta solangiae A1, A2 NT 11 The species was seen on several occasions, and two specimens were collected in April 19981,2.
Black-hooded LaughingthrushGarrulax milleti A1, A2 NT 8 The species was seen on a number of occasions, and two specimens were collected in April 19981,2.
Short-tailed Scimitar BabblerJabouilleia danjoui A1, A2 NT 17 A pair was seen and a single specimen was collected in April 19981,2.
White-cheeked LaughingthrushGarrulax vassali A2 8 A group of four to six birds was seen in April 19981,2.

Biome Restricted Species: The site does not qualify under criterion A3.  See Appendix 4 for details.

Secondary Criteria

Species                                                 Status

Rhesus Macaque  Macaca mulatta2                             NT
Cephalotaxus mannii2                                                        VU
Stump-tailed Macaque  Macaca arctoides2                           VU
Amenotaxus poilanei2                                                         VU
Buff-cheeked Gibbon Nomascus gabriellae2               VU
[Southern Serow  Naemorhedus sumatraensis]2               VU
Podocarpus neriifolius2                                               DD            

Notes: [ ] = unconfirmed record.                                                         

Threats to Biodiversity

The major threats to biodiversity at Lo Xo IBA are clearance of forest for agriculture, over-exploitation of timber and NTFPs, hunting and infrastructure development. Ethnic minority communities in the buffer zone of Ngoc Linh (Kon Tum) Nature Reserve are heavily dependent upon natural resources. For example, forest products are estimated to account for 20 to 25% of the income of these households. Consequently, hunting, timber extraction and NTFP collection are widespread within the IBA, and many of these activities are taking place at unsustainable levels2.

Threat Severity
Agricultural intensification / expansion ●  ●
Hunting ●  ●
Infrastructure development ●  ●  ●
Selective logging / cutting
Unsustainable exploitation of NTFPs

Perhaps the biggest threat to biodiversity at Lo Xo IBA is the on-going upgrade of National Highway 2, which bisects the site. Unless strict controls are put in place immediately after the completion of this work, there exists a very real danger that the upgraded road will facilitate exploitation of natural resources and act as a focus for human settlement, thereby resulting in habitat degradation and loss4.

Conservation Actions

In 1986, the establishment of Ngoc Linh (Kon Tum) Nature Reserve was decreed by the government of Vietnam5.

In 1998, a nature reserve investment plan was prepared for Ngoc Linh (Kon Tum), and, subsequently, a management board was established5.

In 1999, a nature reserve investment plan was prepared for Song Thanh, and, in the same year, a management board was established5.

Recommendations
  • The conservation management planning and law enforcement capacity of staff at both nature reserves should be strengthened.
  • Strict controls should be placed on human settlement and clearance of forest for agriculture along the route of National Highway 2 (previously National Highway 14).
  • Sustainable exploitation of natural resources, particularly wild animals and NTFPs, should be promoted among local communities.
  • Further studies should be conducted to assess the status and distribution of key species at the IBA, in particular the status of Golden-winged Laughingthrush and Chestnut-eared Laughingthrush at the IBA should be evaluated, and the significance of forest areas within Song Thanh proposed nature reserve for biodiversity conservation should be assessed.