Nahang Nature Reserve

The Nahang Nature Reserve is located in the Tuyen Quang province and covers an area of 41,930 ha. It is under the management responsibility of the Forest Protection Department (FPD) of the Provincial Peoples Committee (PPC). Its day-to-day management is the responsibility of the Special Use Forest Protection Division (henceforth referred to as the management board) under the District Peoples Committee (DPC), comprising a Head, a Deputy Head and 21 staff. The Tonkin Snub-nosed Monkey Conservation Project (TCP) supports another 25 staff on a contract basis. The principal attraction of the nature reserve is the endemic population of about 200 Tonkin Snub-nosed Monkeys, which is a globally endangered species. The Thac Mo waterfall is the other attraction of the nature reserve and annually some 15,000 tourists visit the nature reserve.

The Nahang Nature Reserve has not delineated a definite buffer zone so far but effectively it comprises 9 communes with an estimated population of 6,215 households and 35,302 people. The District Forest Protection Division is responsible for activities in the buffer areas. In addition
2,159 households with a total population of 11,233 people live inside the boundary of the nature reserve.

The local communities in and around the nature reserve are strongly dependent upon its resources for their livelihoods and sustenance. They use the forests for meeting their fuel wood, small timber and non-timber forest product (NTFP) needs. In addition, wildlife hunting and fishing in the rivers and streams in the nature reserve is also a source of sustenance and livelihoods for the local communities. It is estimated (IUCN, 2002a) that the total value of the resources used by local communities in the core and the buffer zone of the nature reserve amounts to approximately 27 BVND annually. The average value of these resources to the individual core zone household is about 2 MVND/year and about 3.7 MVND/year/household
in the buffer.

Geographical location
Na Hang Nature Reserve is located in Southeast of Na Hang district, 22°16’-22°31’ N and 105°22’-105°29’E., and ranged in geo-biological zone 6a - Tropical South Chinese tropical region (Birdlife, 2001).

The border line of Na Hang Nature Reserve:

- The North borders on: Sinh Long, Thuong Nong, Yen Hoa Communes

- The South borders on: Yen Lap, Hung My, Phuc Son communes (Chiem Hoa district)

- The West borders on: Duc Xuan, Thuong Lam, Trung Khanh, Nang Kha communes

- The East border on: Da Vi (Na Hang), Xuan Lac, Ban Thi,Yen Thinh (Cho Don district, Bac Kan province).


In general, Na Hang Nature Reserve is basically covered with Lo Gam limestone mountains that represent for characteristics of Northern Mountains of Vietnam and consist of many natural caves. There is some primitive interposing with secondary forests that formerly used as burnt-over land.

The two areas of the Reserve, Tat Ke and Ban Bung, all are under rocky mountains containing patches of alluvium land in valleys that distribute along streams and rivers. Majority of the Reserve’s area is located at 300-800m above sea level. Peak Loung Nioung in Tat Ke sector is the highest (Khau Tep, 1,067m height). While in Ban Bung, peak Pia Khao is the highest (980m height), mountain Pac Ta (815m height) Nang and Gam rivers and other streams form an important aquatic area for the Reserve. Nang river flows southward through Tat Ke area, and Gam river flows from northwest and acts as a boundary of the Reserve in the west. The two rivers meet at Pac Ta moutain’s T- conjunction and flow southward before draining into Lo river.

Fauna and flora resources

Forests of Na Hang Nature Reserve attain rich and diverse fauna and flora resources and become unique due to the presence of Snub-nosed Monkey (Pygathrix avunculus) and a limestone mountain ecosystem of the Northern Vietnam.
  • Flora: About 68% of the land area of the Nature Reserve are under tropical moist forest or old growth (primary) forest which has little change by human activities. Among these forests, 70% are growing on Limestone Mountains. Evergreen forests are mostly found growing on lower land area (Cox 1994).

    Until now, more than 2,000 plant species have been defined (McNab et at. 2000) and many of them were listed into Vietnam Red Data Book such as Garcinia fragraeoides, Diospyrus mollis, Burretiodendron hsienmu, Chukrasia tabularis A.Juss, Markhamia stipulata, Podocarpus neriifolius, Cupressus torulosa and Aquilaria crassna (Hill and Hallam, 1997).

  • Fauna: Fauna of the Reserve to date has not been fully investigated. However, about 90 species of mammals, 263 species of birds, 61 species of reptiles and 35 amphibians’ species have been listed. This indicates that the Na Hang Nature Reserve has a rich biodiversity. Thirteen species of mammals were recorded in Vietnam Red Data Book (Anon.1992), especially the existence of primates currently being globally threaten in the Reserve. This is the only region of Vietnam where Snub-nosed Monkeys are found in rather big population. Surveys conducted by forest rangers and patrolling staff of TCP project during the past two years confirmed the existence of around 50 individuals of Snub-nosed Monkey (Le Hong Binh pers. com. 2000-2001). In general, two communities of Snub-nosed Monkey have been found residing separately in Tat Ke and Ban Bung sectors. Based on the collected data and information estimate that there have been 120-150 individuals in Tat Ke sector, and 50-60 individuals in Ban Bung, (Forest Protection Section, Na Hang Nature Reserve pers. comm. 2001).
According to Wikramanayake et al.(1997), forests on Limestone Mountains in Na Hang is of subtropical forest ecosystem of Northern Indochina. Here, 8 species of monkey are facing global extinction. Both Snub-nosed Monkey and White Head Leaf Monkey are distributed within this ecosystem. The area has been identified by WWF-US as one of 223 areas in the world that are rich in biodiversity (Olson & Dinnerstein, 1998).

In general, so far collected data on fauna and flora in Na Hang NR are limited, it needs to be conducted more surveys in near future.

Based the results of biodiversity surveys carried out in 2001 (PARC/ BirdLife Vietnam, 2001) in Dong Phuc, Ban Thi-Xuan Lac and Sinh Long Na Hang Reserve MB can be evaluated and supported reserve extension proposal plan and establishing forest corridor linking Ba Be National Park and Na Hang Nature Reserve.

Socio-economic situations

The objective of the social-economic development program, which is to improve the material and spiritual life of ethnic minorities living in the reserve, based on programs 661 and other
mountainous development policy of the government in order to mitigate pressures caused by them onto reserve.

  • Livelihood of the people
In the Reserve, there are 2,113 households with approximately 10,992 people living in 61 villages belonged to 05 communes (Con Lon, Khau Tinh, Son Phu, Vinh Yen and Thanh Tuong). Among ethnic minorities, 5,682 people are Tay, 3,078 people are Dao, 814 people are H’mong and 1,347 people are Kinh. Ethnicity also includes Nung, Muong, San Chi, Cao Lan and Hoa who share with a very small number of population. The natural population growth rate of the communes inside the Reserve is 2% (Anon.2000). Ethnic groups have settled concentratively or separately in villages or hamlets. Agriculture producing, forest protection and plantation and legal forest resource uses create the main sources of income for these people.
  • Agriculture
Land used status (according to the inventory figures in 2000):
The total agricultural land area of the 5 communes is 1,438.64ha, taking 3.91% of natural land area, include:

- Paddy cultivation (rice and others): 480,01 ha;
- Swidden agriculture lands: 325,93 ha;
- Annual plantation lands, age-old plan lands, livestock breeding lands: 677,7 ha.
- Special use and other lands: 2.297.26 ha.
Among those agricultural land per person is of 1,200m2 and land for paddy cultivation is
500m2 per person. However, some villages, especially those located in remote area, face land shortage or leave land fallow without making investment for intensive farming. Capital income (in rice equivalent) is 200-250kg/year per person. Besides, many households still rely on natural resource exploitation to support their livelihood as well as livestock and off-farm production has caused some pressures on forest protection and conservation.


At present, special use forests and lands managed by the NR’s Management Board occupy
30,529.8 ha, of which 29,776.5 ha is natural forests and 783.3 ha under planted forest and
1.700.76 ha vacant lands (not counting 2.973.1 ha special use belong to Trung Khanh commune protected by Na Hang special use forest protection department even it has not been approved by authorities, Anon.2000).

The nature forestland is controlled strictly according to regulations of special use forest, ecosystem and biodiversity protection.

Forest economic development of households: In recent years (when the reserve had not been established), forestland was recently allocated to households for planting a number of tree species such as Mangletia or Meliaceae to meet daily demand or to deliver to local people. Due to poor understanding of local people, forest economy is in general less developed.

Under the special use forest development program 327/CP (previously) and 661/CP now, the Reserve Management Board in 1996-2001 attracted 80 households to planting and covering of 395.2 ha of vacant lands.