The principal conservation issues concern the protection of highly endangered Annamite endemics, the unsustainable use of forest resources and the mitigation of high sediment loads in the river systems.
Threats and constraints to conservation of natural habitats
The combination of size, the easy access to communities living in both the buffer zone and enclave villages, as well as the transboundary impacts by Vietnamese traders and hunters, provide an extremely challenging management agenda for the Nakai Nam Theun National Protected Area authorities. WMPA works closely to implement programs with villagers to develop local village law and forest use zoning. These programs build the capacity of villagers to undertake activities such as timber harvesting for housing construction, non-timber forest product collection and shifting cultivation at sustainable levels. Other activities, such as illegal selective logging and intensive wildlife snaring, are addressed through both targeted outreach education and law development and enforcement at both local and national levels. WMPA operates with a ecosystem centric view; focusing on conservation of habitat rather than political boundaries.
Participatory NPA Management
Integrated village conservation was established with the objective of building community capacity to monitor and evaluate the allocation of village land use requirements and to achieve conservation at a village level. The idea of the Village Integrated Conservation and Development Committee is to provide bottom-up management to complement the activities of WMPA and district stakeholders. From this committee two separate units were developed; the Village Conservation Monitoring Unit (VCMU) to monitor local conservation and the Village Development Unit (VDU) linking village development activities to conservation.
The Law Enforcement Team is responsible for patrolling the NPA, reservoir and peripheral impact zones to prevent illegal hunting, buying and trading of wildlife, logging and exploitation of non-timber forest products. The patrolling effort is prioritised according to biodiversity values and threat levels. Primary activities include:
- Transboundary Cooperation
A Co-operative Action Plan has been developed between Ha Tinh/Quang Binh province (Vietnam) and Bolikhamxay/Khammouan (Lao P.D.R.) to control illegal transboundary hunting, trading and transporting of wild fauna and flora for the period 2005– to 2010.
- Village Conservation Monitoring Units
Patrols are conducted over 18 days each month the three clusters. Teams are comprised of 4-10 personnel from all district stakeholders including WMPA, police, military and villagers. Upper Watershed Checkpoints have been established allowing teams to spend greater time in the field with the aim of improving upper watershed patrol efficacy along the Lao-Vietnam border.
- Reservoir Patrolling
WMPA staff work in collaboration with district partner staff from the police, military and the District Agriculture and Forestry Office. There are ten reservoir patrol teams of four personnel patrolling 18 days per month. Road and reservoir checkpoints have been established at strategic points surrounding the NPA to improve monitoring and enforcement of incoming and outgoing traffic and materials in an effort to reduce illicit activities. Mobile patrolling in the buffer zone is undertaken based upon information obtained from an informant network.
- Enforcement of Decrees, Penalties and Laws
There are a number of laws relating to the management of the protected area. These laws comprise 193/PM 29/12/2000, 39/PM 21/12/2000, Aquatic and Wildlife Law 24/12/2007, Forestry Law 24/12/2007, Penal Law 9/11/2005 and other Nakai-Khamkeut District Notices. The Law Enforcement Division disseminates the contents of these laws to the communities. Generally, WMPA does not have the rights and duty to deal directly with any forestry violation cases; therefore the law enforcement division of WMPA Secretariat capacity builds and coordinates with relevant officials of the districts to deal with illegal activities in and around NNT NPA.
Community Outreach and Conservation Awareness
The Community Outreach and Conservation Awareness team is dedicated to the dissemination and interpretation of information about the global importance of the Nakai Nam Theun National Protected Area, whilst communicating rules and regulations governing the protected area through fun and exciting participatory methods. COCA aims to encourage increased community participation in the management and protection of the watershed as a cross cutting feature linking conservation awareness and education to development within all WMPA programs.
WMPA is currently developing a pilot community -based ecotourism site in collaboration with local stakeholders. To read more about WMPA ecotourism please refer to our ‘Visit’ page.
The Biodiversity Research Section is responsible for monitoring the health of the ecosystem by surveying key species, including Saola, Large-Antlered Muntjac, Red-Shanked Douc Langur, Clouded Leopard, Golden Asian Cat, White-Cheeked Gibbon, Asian Elephant and other high priority conservation species. Camera trapping and line transects are undertaken regularly to estimate distribution of rare and endangered fauna and flora and to promote protection of biologically rich areas within the National Protected Area, in collaboration with the villagers, key district partners and national and international researchers.