Nakai-Nam Theun National Park

Nakai-Nam Theun National Park in Nakai District, Khammouane Province, Laos, is one of the last remaining wildernesses in Southeast Asia. Nakai-Nam Theun covers approximately 4,270 km2 of the Annamite Range and the adjacent Nakai Plateau in Khammouane and Bolikhamsai Provinces. It was designated a national park on 15 February 2019 by Prime Ministerial Decree No. 36, 15 February 2019.[1] It is managed by the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (MAF). It is adjacent to the Vu Quang National Park of Vietnam.

Nakai-Nam Theun National Park
LocationOudomsouk Village, Nakai District
Coordinates17°54′30″N 105°18′45″E / 17.9084°N 105.3125°E / 17.9084; 105.3125
Area4,270 km2
Designated15 February 2019
AdministratorMinistry of Agriculture and Forestry


From north to south, riversheds in the park consist the following rivers:[2]

  • Nam Kata (eastern part only; the Nam Houay, on which the town of Na Kadok is located, is a tributary)
  • Nam Xot
  • Nam Mon
  • Nam Theun
  • Nam Noy
  • Nam Pheo (a tributary of the Nam Noy)
  • Nam One

All are tributaries of the Nam Theun to the southwest in the Nakai Plateau.


A series of surveys conducted since 1994 by the co-operative programme of the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), the Lao Department of Forestry, and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) have revealed that the area has a high biodiversity value.[citation needed] Semi-evergreen forest, deciduous dipterocarp forest and stands of pine are all found on the Nakai Plateau and in the Annamite foothills to the east, grading into more exclusively evergreen forests as the land rises towards the Vietnamese border. Higher still, huge areas of montane fagaceous forest cloak the slopes, interspersed with patches of Fokienia hodginsii, a commercially valuable cypress-like conifer. Above c. 2,000 m the fagaceous forest gives way to more stunted, rhododendron-dominated ericaceous cloudforest.


Species of plants listed as threatened by IUCN include conifer Cephalotaxus mannii. The only known population of Vietnamese White Pine in Laos is in Nakai-Nam Theun.[3]



Species of mammals, some discovered relatively recently, include the following:[2][4]


More than 400 bird species have been identified in Nakai-Nam Theun and the adjacent northern extension. This is by far the highest avian species richness of any site yet surveyed in Laos and is the highest recorded in a single protected area in Southeast Asia.[citation needed]


Many endangered Vietic languages are spoken in the Nakai-Nam Theun area. The Vietic peoples are the indigenous peoples of the Nakai-Nam Theun area, and have deep knowledge of the local ecology. The Saek language, which preserves many archaic phonological features not found in any other Tai language, is also spoken in the area, often alongside Vietic languages in the same villages. Saek speakers had lived in the area for about 300 years, and had originally come from Vietnam. Bru speakers had moved to the area in the 1800s and 1900s, and now make up the majority of the population. Lao and Vietnamese speakers, most of whom are recent migrants, are also found in the vicinity.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Lao PDR's Nakai Nam Theun National Park to join leading protected areas in Southeast Asia, nominated to IUCN's Green List". IUCN. 18 August 2020. Retrieved 2 February 2021.
  2. ^ a b Robichaud, William G (2005). Testing assumptions: the recent history of forest cover in Nakai-Nam Theun National Protected Area, Laos (Masters thesis). Vancouver: University of British Columbia. Retrieved 6 June 2020.
  3. ^ Thomas, P.; Sengdala, K.; Lamxay, V.; Khou, E.; et al. (2007). "New Records of Conifers in Cambodia and Laos". Edinburgh Journal of Botany. 64: 37. CiteSeerX doi:10.1017/S0960428606000734.
  4. ^ Lao National Tourism Association. "Khammouane Overview". Archived from the original on 12 September 2012. Retrieved 22 December 2011.