Address: Pù Hoạt, huyện Quế Phong, tỉnh Nghệ An, Việt Nam Author: admin

Pu Hoat Nature Reserve (PHNR) occupies an area of 85,769.5ha in North-West Nghe An province.  It was identified as an important area for biodiversity conservation in the early 2000s and original surveys for the development of a Feasibility Study for its official approval  as a Nature Reserve were conducted by FIPI in 1999-2000 (Reference). The results of the FIPI surveys were included in the Feasibility Study and Investment Plan produced as a requirement for approval as a provincially-managed Nature Reserve in 2014 (Reference). It forms an outlier of the Annamite Mountains, being separated from the main mountain chain by the Ca and Chu Rivers.  Its flora and fauna have previously been little studied.  Although not amounting to a full biodiversity survey, this flagship species and community assessment provides preliminary information on the fauna of the NR and helps to reinforce the conservation significance of the area.

The objectives of the study was to contribute to our improved management of the Reserve. This will be acheieve through developing and understanding of the biological values and threats on the Nature Reserve; to identify existing community forest use areas and how communities use forest resources and to build capacity of the Nature Reserve staff and local communities. The study provided on the job and formal training in biodiversity conservation, working with communities and resource mapping skills for Reserve staff. The site will pilot community based forest management and co-management in future so the comprehensive zonation information can help us to establish interventions which may lead to reduced emissions from deforestation and forests degradation. Improvedforest management and implementation of sustainable livelihoods, improved zonation and enhanced forest management systems will improve management capacity.

The assessment carried out three major activities, namely survey of flagship species; community use and impact mapping; and capacity building.

Flagship / Indicator Species Surveys: Flagship or indicator species were those selected as readily identifiable, usually threatened or targeted by hunters, endemic or conservation priorities, such as red-shanked douc, white cheeked gibbons, turtles and other species. Three survey routes for flagship species and threats were established in the Pu Hoat NR, originating from Huoi Moi 1, Pieng Lang and Na Xai villages and covering sections of Tri Le, Nam Giai and Hanh Dich communes of Que Phong districts.  Field surveys were undertaken in November, 2014to April 2015.

Community Mapping: Community meetings and mapping were undertaken in 10 villages in and around the Pu Hoat NR to provide supplementary information to field observations, with over 254 individuals interviewed. The work was conducted through interviews for flagship species and mapping of groups of householders to establish community use patterns using participatory mapping techniques.

Capacity Building: A total 25 staff of Pu Hoat NR were undertake capacity building through formal and ‘on-the-job’ training for forest rangers for: biodiversity conservation / protected area management; community facilitation; community survey/ interview methods; flagship species survey and monitoring; data collection and GPS use. 22 staff of Pu Hoat NR participated a study tour to Phong Nha – Ke Bang NP, Quang Binh Province and Phong Dien & Bach Ma NP, Thua Thien Hue Province.

Surveys for Threats and Flagship Species

Fauna surveys focused on flagship species, which were surveyed by extensive line transect sampling.  A total of 74.73 km of field surveys were undertaken. It is not possible to estimate densities of populations from this form of rapid assessment, and data are presented as encounter rates, quantified by distance surveyed or number of hours spent on surveys. Six habitats were recorded on the survey routes in Pu Hoat NR namely: active swidden fields, fallow swidden fields, secondary evergreen forests, primary evergreen forests, primary forests on limestone and stream / riparian habitats.  Habitats differed in plant species composition, geographical position, altitude and levels of human impact.

Threat Assessment

There are seven types of threat on forests integrity and wildlife identified by local communities namely, illegal timber logging, burning swidden fields within the reserve boundaries, unsustainable NTFP exploitation; animal hunting, trapping and snaring and honey harvesting. Fence lines of snares (with hundreds to thousands of snares) were encountered, with an average frequency per km of snaring were 2.47/km; representing 46% of all encounters.  Illegal timber logging accounted for the remainder of illegal activities recorded with a total of 46 observations encountered during surveys in Pu Hoat NR, accounting for 33.33% of all transects. The frequency of illegal timber logging were 1.78 observation / km. This highlghts the enormous illegal hunting and logging pressure on the fauna and ecological integrity the Reserve.

 

Flagship / Indicator Species Surveys

Ten flagship species were recorded by transects survey: Muntjacs (Muntiacus puhoatensis and Megamuntiacus vuquangensis); Serow (Capricornis sumatraensis); Phayre’s langur (Semnopithecus phayrei); Truong son Wild pig (Sus sp);White-cheeked gibbon (Nomascus leucogenys); Silver Pheasant (Lophura nycthemera); Red crested hornbill (Buceros bicornis); Big-headed turtle (Platysternum megacephalum) and Indochinese box turtle (Cuora galbinifrons).Twelve species were recorded through local community assessments: including bear species(Asiatic black bear and sun bear); Macaque (all species);White cheeked Gibbon; Phayre’s langur; Muntjacs (all species); Serow; Wild pig; Sambar; Brustail Porcupine; Hornbill Bill; Silver Pheasant; Big-head turtle. In general, results from Pu Hoat indicate that its fauna is typical of the north Annamites.  However, the continued existence of populations of some extremely rare species is surprising.  Although Tiger and perhaps Red-shanked Douc Langur may no longer exist, and Gaur and Elephant are probably almost eradicated, quite large populations of some primates, bears, and other key species remain.  The relatively large extant populations of two endemic species, Pu Hoat Muntjac and Large-antlered Muntjac, are particularly significant. The population of Samu Dau Cunninghamia konishii is very high density in Pu Hoat, this is main population of this species in North central of Vietnam

Community mapping results indicate considerable variation in the distribution of species;  Muntjac species, pigs and silver pheasants occurred in most areas surveyed; whereas other species were restricted to certain habitats or to refuge areas remote from human habitation and poorly accessible to hunters (e.g. Pu Hoat Muntjac, Bears, Serows, Bear Macaques).  Some rare species reported by local communities were not found on the survey routes (tiger, elephant, and gaur) but a number of biodiversity hotspots were identified through mapping the reserve. Base on overlapping the survey results and community and individual interviews specific areas of primary and secondary evergreen forest and river/stream habitats are defined.  These areas support high populations of key mammal and bird species.  Two hotspot area in Nam Giai and Hanh Dich commune should prioritized for species and threat monitoring in the future

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