Nakai-Nam Theun National Park represents Lao PDR’s largest and most diverse natural forest habitat with a total area of 427,770 ha located in two provinces, Khammouane (Nakai, Gnommalath and Boualapha districts) and Bolikhamxay (Khamkeut District).
The NNT-NP forms the core of a series of connected conservation areas straddling the Lao-Vietnam border. Collectively, these conservation areas represent the most important protected area in the Lao-Cambodia-Vietnam Region and act as one of the last remaining biodiversity corridors in South East Asia. Nakai Nam Theun holds a variety of habitat types.
The Nakai Plateau is characterized primarily by pine forest. Mountainous areas (600-1000+ m of altitude) support mainly dry evergreen forest, which is the most common habitat type over the whole protected area. Upper mountain forest is found over 1800 m of altitude. Localised wet evergreen forest found at the border with Vietnam is of particular importance because it holds endemic species of the Annamite mountain range. At lower altitudes (below 600 m), cultivation, shrub and secondary and bamboo forest are found around villages.
The area is divided into four main zones
- Totally Protected Zone – No activities allowed except scientific research and trekking.
- Special Conservation Zone – No activities allowed except for conservation management
- Priority Biodiversity Zone – Wildlife breeding areas and important habitat restricted for research and with an extra focus for law enforcement
- Controlled Use Zone – Activities allowed: Nature tourism, NTFP collection, agriculture, and tree and NTFP plantations in approved areas for household consumption only (commercial logging is not allowed).