Program Highlights: Nam Xam NPA in Houaphan
The Nam Xam National Protected Area is one of 25 protected areas across Laos. This natural area in Laos’ northern Houaphan province still retains much of its rich biodiversity and is home to numerous rare wildlife species. However, the forests of Nam Xam and its wildlife are quickly being depleted due to shifting agriculture, unplanned logging, and uncontrolled hunting. An estimated 14,000 people directly benefit from the NPA, but a limited budget and no management plan for Nam Xam has meant that the protected area is vulnerable to encroachment, an issue exacerbated by the poverty of surrounding villages. Nine villages lie within the NPA and another 36 in the surrounding area, all of whom rely on forest resources and wild meat for their household income and consumption.
USAID LEAF and SNV partnered with local authorities to improve the management of Nam Xam and raise awareness about the value of the protected area with local communities. USAID LEAF has enabled initial steps toward realizing Nam Xam’s potential and preserving its future and government partners have drawn up plans adjusting the organizational structure and management, as well as defined proposals for funding and financial sustainability.