Protected places: Nature Reserves

Song Thanh Nature Reserve

Song Thanh Nature Reserve is the largest Vietnamese protected area in the Greater Annamites. This, coupled with the large tracts of relatively intact forest, make Song Thanh a vital haven for many species that require such large, remote areas. Documented evidence of tiger footprints has recently been recorded from several locations in and around Song Thanh, suggesting that the area could hold a reasonable number of this heavily threatened species. Several other highly endangered species such as bears, hornbills, gibbons and Asian elephant have also been recorded in the nature reserve.

Ngoc Linh Nature Reserve

Ngoc Linh is actually separated into two nature reserves - one in Quang Nam province and the other in Kon Tum Province. These two reserves cover the peak and slopes of Ngoc Linh mountain, the highest point in the Greater Annamites.

Recent surveys have shown that this high altitude also has provided the conditions for a unique community of species to evolve that are completely restricted to Ngoc Linh and the surrounding high mountain peaks.

Not only does Ngoc Linh hold these distinct species, but the sheer nature of its inaccessible terrain has meant that large tracts of natural habitat remain intact, and hence support several endangered species of large mammals that need such large and intact areas to survive.

Primates are one of the major features of the Greater Annamites, and gibbons are amongst the most charismatic primates around. Their slow, elegant and deliberate swinging between trees makes them captivating to watch if you are lucky enough to catch a rare glimpse.

When they are not seen, gibbons can most definitely be heard. Early in the morning (particularly on fine days) or around a major climatic change, groups of gibbons (usually consisting of 1 male, 1 female and 1-2 offspring) can be heard staking out claim of their territory for neighbouring groups to hear.

This photograph shows the grey-shanked form of douc langur, the most restricted form of douc langur in terms of distribution. This rare leaf-eating primate is only found in a small area of central Vietnam, centred on the area covered by Song Thanh and Ngoc Linh Nature Reserves.

Kon Cha Rang, Kon Ka Kinh, and An Toan (proposed) Nature Reserves

This complex of three protected areas - proposed and existing - covers some of the most intact and important forest areas in the region.

Kon Cha Rang Nature Reserve and the neighbouring proposed An Toan Nature Reserve could potentially hold one of the only populations of Indochinese hog deer in the ecoregion, as well as several other important large mammals.

Kon Ka Kinh Nature Reserve, particularly notable for its endemic montane bird community affiliated to that of Ngoc Linh, is connected to these two protected areas by a network of logging concessions (or State Forest Enterprises).

One of the characterizing features of this area is the large tract of relatively undisturbed forest - large portions of which still remain unsurveyed. This undisturbed nature of the region is one of the main reasons that the areas have retained many biological features that have been lost from many other parts of the ecoregion.

However, the area is interspersed and surrounded by numerous logging concessions that are placing increasing pressure on the areas forests and wildlife.

Phong Dien and Da Krong Nature Reserves

The continuous forest block that covers Phong Dien and Dakrong Nature Reserves, in Thua Thien Hue and Quang Tri provinces respectively, hold some of the ecoregions’ rarest and most unique inhabitants.

These nature reserves cover one of the few remaining extensive patches of lowland forest in the ecoregion (most lowland forest has already been cleared for agricultural and industrial expansion), and hence support a distinctive community associated with these lowland areas.

This distinctiveness is illustrated by species such as Edwards' pheasant and Imperial pheasant, which are completely restricted to the lowland forests of the eastern slopes of north-central Annamites.

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