Priority places: Southern Annamites

Corridors, watersheds and other unique priority landscapes

The Greater Annamites ecoregion is subdivided into three sub-ecoregions, each of which comprises a number of Priority Landscapes. These are the North, Central and Southern (this page) Annamites.

Some landscapes were identified as potentially globally significant, but they could not be classified due to a lack of data and information. These are grouped under Survey Areas.

Southern Annamite Montane Block

Priority Landscape SA3 | ranking: CRITICAL

This landscape represents the montane and higher altitude areas of the most southern massif of the Annamite Mountain chain. The northern part covers the main montane areas including the highest peaks (reaching 2,442m above sea level).

At least four species of montane bird are endemic to the Southern Annamite, with this Priority Landscape representing the best location for their conservation. While there is little evidence of large mammals characteristic of the Annamite (such as saola or Annamite striped rabbit), it is possible that they existed here in the past (or still are present in small numbers). The area supports extensive pine forests including Pinus dalatensis, which is endemic to the central and southern Annamites.

Deo Ca Spur

Priority Landscape SA2 | ranking: ACUTE

This landscape covers the ridge of high ground that forms the northeastern most extent of the Southern Annamite. Except for the fact that there is no longer any habitat continuity with the Southern Annamite Main Block Priority Landscape (Priority Landscape SA1), it would be included in that Priority Landscape.

Very little surveying has yet been undertaken in the area, however, it would be expected to have similar communities to other Southern Annamite areas (and given the presence of high montane habitat, the majority of species restricted to the Southern Annamite could be present).

Cam Ranh Dry Coastal Lowlands; Southern Coastal Dipterocarp Lowlands

Priority Landscape SA4 & Priority Landscape SA7 | Ranking: both CRITICAL

These landscapes cover the few remaining patches of a very distinctive dry forest community restricted to areas on the coastal plain to the east of the Southern Annamite range.

The area's dryness and isolation has resulted in development of very unique floral communities. These communities comprise a number of plant species only recently described such as the Dipterocarpus caudatus.

There is no evidence that there are birds and mammals endemic to this dry coastal zone–it is possible that the large mammal fauna may have once been similar to the dry forests of the Lower Mekong Basin. Given the small size of the area and the pressures/threats facing it, many if not all species endemic to these forests are potentially at severe risk in the short term and probably still at high risk in the long-term.

Lowland Dong Nai Watershed

Priority Landscape SA5 | ranking: CRITICAL

This landscape covers an area of flat and undulating lowland, on and below the southern slopes of the main Southern Annamite massif.

Natural vegetation in this landscape is predominantly semi-evergreen/wet evergreen forest. Somewhat isolated from similar forests in the Annamite chain, these lowland forests have a distinctive bird and mammal fauna that includes the endemic Orange-headed Partridge. The 'Indochinese' Greater Oriental Chevrotain may also be largely restricted to Southern Annamite lowland forests.

This landscape is of outstanding significance for the conservation of Javan Rhinoceros, as the Cat Loc area of Cat Tien National Park holds one of only two remaining global populations.

Ea So Complex

Priority Landscape SA1 | ranking: ACUTE

This landscape represents a rare habitat of grassland and semi-evergreen forest at low altitudes. The exact origin of this habitat is unknown. It is isolated from the deciduous dipterocarp forest to the west and therefore there may contain some unique elements. The other main feature of this landscape is the presence of Gaur and Banteng populations that have persisted in lowland areas close to habitation – a rare situation in Indochina.

Southern Annamite Western Slopes

Priority Landscape SA8 | ranking: HIGH

This landscape encompasses the southwestern and western parts of the Southern Annamite and sections of the surrounding lowlands that support predominantly closed forests. There is a transition over this part of the Southern Annamite from ‘evergreen’ forest types in the south (which this landscape covers), to dryer forest types to the west and north.

The landscape potentially covers the most extensive forests on the southern slopes (which appear to be significantly wetter than the other slopes) of the Southern Annamite. It is very likely that endemism to these southern Annamite lowland forests is relatively high and as one of the largest areas of such habitat remaining, the area has potentially high importance.

Di Linh Corridor

Priority Landscape SA6 | ranking: ACUTE

Covering the southeastern and eastern fringe of the Southern Annamite, the area covers hilly to mountainous terrain that slopes steeply to the coastal plain.

The area can roughly be split in half, with the northern half being located on the Di Linh Plateau and extended slopes of the Da Lat Plateau, and the southern half being considerably lower lying.

Despite the forests being highly fragmented, the inclusion of the area is warranted by the high levels of endemic birds, diversity of habitats, and the use as a linking corridor between the Southern Annamite Main Montane Block (SA3) and Lowland Dong Nai Watershed (SA5) Priority Landscapes.

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