The detailed final report

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Project Title: Status and conservation action plan for three globally threatened tree species in Xuan Son National Park,

Phu Tho province, Viet Nam
(RSG - ID: 8178-1)


Dr. TUE Ha Van

(September 2010 – March 2012)

February, 2012
We would particularly like to thank the Rufford Small Grants Foundation for providing budget for all activities of project. Thanks you for three referees: Jacinto C. Regalado, Jr., Ph.D.and Le Xuan Canh, and Ass.Pro.Dr. as well as Luu Dam Cu, Ass.Pro.Dr, who supported our project. We are grateful to all managers, scientists and forest rangers as well as local people in Xuan Son National Park for helping the research team during inventorying and conservation training. We would also like to thank so much to Department of Plant Ecology and Institute of Ecology and Biological Resources (IEBR) - Vietnam Academy of Science and Technology for providing scientists and greenhouse to participate in the project.

The Dipterocarpaceae is a family of hardwood, with more than 500 species worldwide in 17 genera [8], distributed mainly in the tropical lowland rainforest and can be found at forest’s the highest layer. Most of all dipterocarps are upright trees, reaching up to 40-60 metres (m) in height in primary forest, and sometimes an emergent tree cans reach to 80 m of height with the diameter at breast height got more than 1m. The tree trunk is always straight and high and the species of this family are the one of the major importance plants in the timber trade. There are 42 species in six genera of dipterocarps in Vietnam [5].

Six genera of this family occurred in Vietnam (Vietnam flora, 2000) as follow:

Scientific name of genus

Vietnamese name

Number of species in genus

1. Anisoptera Korth. 1841

Vền vền


2. Dipterocarpus Gaertn.f. 1805

Chò nâu


3. Hopea Roxb. 1811

Sao đen


4. Parashorea Kurz, 1870

Chò chỉ


5. Shorea Roxb. ex Geartn.f. 1805

Sến mủ


6. Vatica L. 1771





Among of 42 species of Dipterocarpaceae in Vietnam, has only 11 species were recorded in Vietnam Red Data Book (2007) [4], and their status are divided into categories as critically endangered (CR) level: 1 species; endangered level: 5 species and vulnerable (VU) level: 5 species. On the other hand, the report of the IUCN (version 2.3 and version 3.1) also indicated that there were 37 threatened and rare tree species of this family in Vietnam, including CR: 18 species; EN: 12 species; VU: 2 species; least concern (LC): 4 species and data deficient (DD): 1 species.

Nevertheless, according to the IUCN (2004), nearly 100 percent of Dipterocarpaceae species in Vietnam was confirmed in the Red Data Book as endangered species. Hence, the significant issues could be concerned that need attract the attention of the research conservation as soon as possible (see annex 1).
Distribution of dipterecarp species in Vietnam

The dipterocarps belong to the Indo-Malayxia flora; hence they have tendency to adapt in many conditions, particularly under the drought condition, warmly and strongly sunlight intensity. In Vietnam, they mainly distributed in Central of Vietnam (from Da Nang province to the South) and concentrated in large populations in some provinces such as Daklak, Gia Lai, Dong Nai and Tay Ninh, etc. The forest’s ecosystem locating in the provinces had known as the name of dipterocarp forest, because the major components of the forest were belonged to Dipterocarpaceae, such as: Dipterocarpus alatus, D. obtusifolius, D. dyeri, Hopea odorata and Anisoptera cochinchinensis. However, in Northern part of Vietnam, dipterocarp species are often found in tropical monsoon evergreen broadleaf forest on lowland, whereas mainly dominance of species of the families named: Euphorbiaceae, Fabaceae, Meliaceae, Rubiaceae, Sapindaceae, Lauraceae, Fagaceae, etc. Several dipterocaps were recorded such as Parashorea chinensis, Vatica tonkinensis, Vatica chevalieri, Dipterocarpus retusus, and were counted in a small percent of plant components of tropical evergreen broadleaf forest.

Valuable of Dipterocarpaceae in Vietnam

The family of the trees is significant components dominated in forest ecosystem. They are often found as a dominant or an emergent forest component in the forest areas, the reason could take in account that they can grow fast and regenerate shoots well and are deciduous in winter. In spring season, they grow and change their form quicker than the other time of the year. In addition, they could provide food and shelter for many other plants, birds, mammals, fungi and other organisms in the forest.

The family has many valuable timber species which can be prevented from affects of termite and insects, such as: Anisoptera costata Korth, Hopea ferrea Pierre, Hopes mollisima C.Y. Wu, Shorea falcate J.E. Vidal and Vatica subglabra Merr. Hence, their wood is more important for local subsistence use and highly valuable in national or international markets because almost all the wood of these trees are always used for construction, building houses and making furniture.

Beside timber, the other ones can provide much important productivity such as aromatic essential oils, balsam, resins and are sources for plywood as Dipterocarpus alatus Roxb. D. dyeri Pierre, D. intricatus Dyer, D. tuberculatus Roxb. and Hopea ferrea Pierre (see annex 2).

The descriptions of the three species mentioned above are presented below.

1. Dipterocarpus retusus Blume, 1823.

Synonym: D. tonkinensis A.Chev, 1918

Dipterocarpus trinervis Blume

Vietnamese name: Chò nâu (the other name: Chò đá, Chò đại, Chò nến).

Conservation status: Global: VU A1cd+2cd, B1+2c

Proposed national assessment: VU A1c,d + 2c,d, B1 + 2b,c

Two Dipterocarpus retusus individuals

The flower and fruit of D. retusus

Photos 1. Dipterocarpus retusus Blume in Xuan Son National
2. Parashorea chinensis H. Wang, 1981

Synonym: Shorea chinensis (Wang Hsie) H.Zhu

Shorea wangtianshuea Y.K.Yang & J.K.Wu

Vietnamese name: Chò chỉ (the other name: Mạy kho, Mạy khay)

Conservation status:

Global: EN A1cd, C2a, D

Proposed national assessment: not evaluated

The stem of the bigger tree

The canopy of the bigger tree

The other one

Two tree of Parashorea chinensis in Coi community

Photos 2. Two mature individuals of Parashorea chinensis in XNP

Parashorea chinensis H.Wang is the one of the tallest tree species in Asia, with the shape likes as a big umbrella and so has long body and straight trunk, strong and imposing. The tree’s body is generally 60m in height, with some of them reached to 80 m in height; an individual body is as tall as a 20-stored building. It is a big evergreen tree in the Dipterocarpaceae family.

3. Vatica subglabra Merr., 1942

Vietnamese name: Táu nước (the other name: Táu xanh)

Conservation status: Global: not evaluated

Proposed national assessment: EN A1c, d

Vatica subglabra individuals in XNP

The black bark and the stem in where is more crack along and covered by lichen (one of characteristics to identify this species)

Flower of Vatica subglabra

Two stems of Vatica subglabra in the plot

Photos 3. Vatica subglabra Merr. in Xuan Son National Park
Xuan Son National Park (XNP) is located in Southwest of Tan Son district, Phu Tho province, inside the boundary intersection of three provinces Phu Tho, Hoa Binh and Son La. The geographic location is between 104o51’E to 105o01' E longitude and from 21o03’N to 21o12’N latitude. The total natural areas are 15,048ha and most of the areas located on the hills and lowland mountains, average elevation of 200-800m, the peaks of the mountain were reached to more than 1,000m, it was called Mountain Elephant with 1,386m in height and mountain Ten with the height of 1,244m. Whereas it could consider not only the green lung for the whole region but also with high value for the biodiversity and conservation, the forest areas are also filled with many globally threatened and rare plants and animals. Thus, XNP is the one of the most preserved priority areas in Vietnam.
Moreover, the forest of Xuan Son National Park is a specific ecosystem of vegetations in North of Vietnam and was divided by 9 types of forest ecosystems and vegetations, including:

  1. At elevation of 200-800m, the tropical monsoon broadleaf evergreen forest was covered in 12% of areas total of XNP. In spite of exploiting but it is still like as primary forest.

  2. Tropical broadleaf evergreen forest on limestone mixed soil mount (11%) is located mainly on mount Can.

  3. Subtropical evergreen forest on rocky limestone mount (6%) is distributed on scattered in XNP whereas the plant components mix broadleaf and conifer trees.

  4. Subtropical monsoon broadleaf evergreen forest on lowland mountains (15%). The typical has the biggest of tree components.

  5. The secondary forest recovered after shifting cultivation (11.5%) is located scattered in XNP.

  6. The secondary forest of Bamboo (2.2%)

  7. Grassland, scrub and scattered trees (30.8%)

  8. Plantation (0.1%).

  9. Cultivation ecosystem (10%) is distributed scattered in XNP where has local people living.

The flora in the forest were diverse, richness and abundant, including 1,217 species belonging to 680 genera and 180 families. There were assessed 40 endangered species belong to 29 families (2007). In the narrow areas distributing in Xuan Son National Park, five dipterocarps were found, namely Dipterocarpus retusus Blume, Parashorea chinensis H. Wang, Vatica diospyroides Sym., V. odorata (Griff.) Symingt, Vatica subglabra Merr., the Dipterocarpus retusus is in the rank of vulnerable species (VU), Parashorea chinensis as endangered species (EN) and typically Vatica subglabra was assessed no value on global, but it was rank as EN level in the Vietnam Red Data Book (2007) (category EN, VU of the IUCN classification). They were distributed mainly in two forest types, tropical monsoon evergreen forest and subtropical monsoon broadleaf evergreen forest on lowland, at elevation 200-800m. The species are not only a valuable and rare genetic resource, but also commercially valuable. In fact, they only may be remained in some national parks and distribute scattered throughout or concentrated in small populations. Rarely has seen the tree body with diameter is larger than 50 cm at outside of Parks area. Besides, the number of local people like as Dao, Muong have lived in the core site of the park for many years and the main income of them was came from the products in forest, especially timber. The last but not least important reason is detailed information of the species is still gap in currently. Therefore, the species are needed to meet of the highest priority conservation and protection levels.
1. Status and distribution of tree species.

+ Evaluating the number of mature individuals of each species, the average age of parents in the population, the size of remaining plant communities, compiling a database on ecological parameters and the profiles of each threatened tree and making distributions of the species on original map of the XNP.

2. In situ conservation.

+ Assessing the current threats that affect the growth of the species.

+ Collecting information and database of the trees from field trips and obtaining results to update information on the location of the remaining population.
3. Ex situ conservation.

+ Estimating the regeneration rate in the field.

+ Finding the seed and build a living gene bank of the tree species in the sites.

+ Studying the sprout rate of seeds in the field and laboratory.

+ Consulting the propagation experiments in nursery garden.
4. Conservation education activities.

+ Providing the information about status and managing policy for managers in the park.

+ Preventing the loss caused by unsustainable harvesting of timber.

+ Making the discussion with local authorities and Vietnamese experts to synthesize the advices and recommendations for conserving strategy in future.

1. Field survey.

i) Using the both track and random survey to investigate the status and size of population. By synthesising of the ecological characteristics of each species and forest status as well as experiences of staff of XNP and ethnic people, four tracks were implemented to find out the position of each mature individual and its population.

+ The survey track 1: starting from forest protected Station and ending of Lap community (T1).

+ The survey track 2: from Station to XNP Office (T2).

+ The survey track 3: from Station to Lang community (T 3).

+ The survey track 4: from Lang community to Bay cave (T 4).

Main locations in XNP


The forest protection Station

E 104o 57’ 27.58’’

N 21o 7’ 29.154’’

Lap community

E 104o 57’ 1.874’’

N 21o 8’ 21.88’’

Lang community

E 104o 57’ 36.708’’

N 21o 6’ 49.24’’

Bay cave

E 104o 56’ 5.269’’

N 21o 6’ 16.341’’

The mapping of survey tracks in Xuan Son National Park
The plots were set up at the study sites and carry out of identification of candidate populations’ location. The size of each plot was designed dependence on the population areas (three size types of plot: 50mx50m= 0.25ha/plot; 50m x 20m = 0.1 ha/plot; 20mx20m = 0.4ha/plot; 40mx40m = 0.16ha/plot). At first, the research measure all juvenile and adult trees (diameter at breast height, DBH > 5cm) of tree in the plots and then tagging up and measurement the number of individuals for each species on the height and the DBH of tree as well as the other are parameter necessary issues. Within the plot subplots (20mx20m; 5mx5m), the research could take randomly establishment to study seedlings and saplings (<5cm DBH). All parameters such as DBH, height were applied for each individual studied.
Identifying growth stage of tree was based on dimension of stem diameter and monitored phenology of individuals to divide into three groups

Mature individual: DBH > 30

Juvenile: 5cm & DBH < 30cm

Sapling: DBH < 5cm

ii) Collecting the seeds of the species for studying ex situ collection.
iii) Mapping the species distribution base on the spatial data of GPS system where individuals were found.

2. Interview method:
Interviewing the people communities, the method based on the people are living in the core of the forest and several staffs of XNP in order to get the valuable information on the status of each species in the field interaction with the human activities and the threatened levels for growth plant. Consequently, the surveying plans were exactly proposed to the forest managers, forest rangers and interested members of village communities who are invited to participate in the field work survey throughout the proposed study area and period.
3. Training and workshop.
Making the seminars and meetings with participation of local communities in order to improve their knowledge to conserve these threatened plants, the workshop’s results will become the initial values for making the action plans.
Four transects and many plots were set up in different locations. That information about ecological parameter, regeneration, distribution inside or outside of each species was recorded by the conservation team (including conservationists, scientists and forest rangers of XNP and local people).

The surveying team in field

Making a plot

Measuring DBH of Dipterocarpus retusus

The site of the natural regeneration plot

Finding sapling in field

A sapling of Vatica subglabra

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