Annamite Range Moist Forests

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Vu Quang Nature Reserve, Vietnam.
© WWF-Canon / David HULSE

About the Area

This Global ecoregion is made up of 2 terrestrial ecoregions: Southern Annamites montane rain forests; Northern Annamites rain forests.

This region contains some of the last relatively intact moist forests in Indochina, formed as the moisture-laden monsoon winds blew in from the Gulf of Tonkin. This allowed the plants and animals adapted to moist conditions to seek refuge here and evolve into the specialized species that are found nowhere else on Earth.

This ecoregion is known for its globally outstanding biodiversity. These forests harbor large vertebrate faunas, including several newly discovered species. The Da Lat plateau, for example, has 15 to 16 species of conifers, representing the highest conifer diversity in Indochina.

This ecoregion has varying levels of rainfall of 1,500-3,850 mm annually. Mean annual temperatures are about 20C.

Size:
94,000 sq. km (18,000 sq. miles)

Habitat type:
Tropical and Subtropical Moist Broadleaf Forests

Geographic Location:
Northern Indochina: Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam

Conservation Status:
Vulnerable
Local Species
Scientists have discovered just 6 large mammal species worldwide in the entire last century. But during the 1990s, within a space of 5 years, 2 new large mammals were discovered in the Annamite range - the sao la (Pseudoryx nghetinhensis) or Vu Quang ox, and a deer called the giant muntjac (Megamuntiacus vuquangensis).

These forests are home to a variety of mammals, including tigers (Panthera tigris), Asian elephants (Elephas maximus), and several species of muntjak, gibbons, leaf monkeys, and the endangered douc langur (Pygathrix nemaeus).

The southern rain forests are home to 410 different bird species and 122 mammal species while the northern mountains are home to more than 525 bird species. Notable bird species include the endemic sooty babbler (Stachyris herberti), imperial pheasant (Lophura imperialis), and the Vietnamese pheasant (L. hatinhensis). The dominant floristic elements in this forest are the myrtaceae, fagaceae, elaeocarpaceae, and lauraceae, with high levels of endemism.

Featured Species

 / ©: WWF-Canon / Martin HARVEY
Red-shanked Douc (Pygathrix nemaeus nemaeus).
© WWF-Canon / Martin HARVEY
The Douc langur (Pygathrix nemaeus) is found in Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam. Its overall size is 61-76 cm, with males slightly larger than females. Males weigh approximately 7 kg, and females 5 kg. Their tails are about 56-76 cm long. It is a folivorous species, but it also consumes fruit, buds, flowers, and bamboo shoots. This species does not drink water but derives water from the food it eats. This is an arboreal and diurnal species and moves through the forest quadrupedally. The social system of the douc langur varies between a unimale and a multimale-multifemale system depending upon the location. They have a life span of about 25 years.

The main predator of the red-shanked douc langur is mankind. There is a very lucrative illegal wildlife trade in the red-shanked douc langur. During the Vietnam War the douc habitat was heavily bombed and sprayed with defoliants like Agent Orange. It is said that soldiers also used them for target practice.

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Threats
Increased commercial logging, large hydropower projects, unsustainable levels of shifting cultivation, and intensive illegal hunting threaten the natural communities of the Annamite Range moist forests. Pressure on these mountain forests and the animals that live there is further increasing as people from the densely populated lowlands of Vietnam move into the region. The presence of unexploded ordnances similarly poses a severe threat to wildlife, researchers, and protected area staff.
WWF’s work
WWF Indochina's MOSAIC Project (Management of Strategic Areas for Integrated Conservation) involves working with both local villagers and forest officials to design and implement sustainable management practices. If successful, the MOSAIC Project will serve as the model for conservation throughout the entire Greater Annamites Ecoregion.

With a supportive and institutionalized policy framework for conservation and sustainable development in place, the WWF MSOAIC project will focus more on the effectiveness and sustainability of implementation including capacity development, creation of ranger Standard Operating Procedures and a provincial Monitoring and Evaluation system.

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