Laos: Viengkham District, Luang Prabang Province


The district of Viengkham is in northeast Laos, in Luang Prabang Province near to the Vietnamese border. The landscape contains a gradient, influenced by shifting cultivation for upland rice, starting from the Nam Et-Phou-Loeuy National Biodiversity Conservation Area. It comprises a few plantations such as agarwood, teak and rubber, as well as livestock and more intensive farming.


The population of this district is approximately 38,000 people, with the three main Lao ethnic groups represented: Lao Lum (traditionally inhabiting the lowlands), Lao Theung (traditionally inhabiting the slopes and valleys at between 300 and 900m) and Lao Sung (traditionally inhabiting the summits of mountains). In Viengkham’s project sites, the Lao Lum are represented by the Tai Kao, the Lao Theung by the Khmu, and the Lao Sung by the Hmong.

Three villages are targeted by the project:



Village name
Population Ethnic group
Household Total
Muangmuay 145 843 Mainly Khmu (114 HH), mixed with Lao Lum group (30 HH) and one Hmong household.
Bouammi 42 234 Mainly Lao Lum, village merged with Vangmat
Vangmat 25 123 Mixed group of Lao Lum (13 HH) and Khmu (12 HH)
Phadeng 47 333 Hmong.


Nam Et – Phou Louey National Protected Area
Total Area:  4,030 km² (2,503 miles²)
Wildlife Present:

Mammals: Clouded leopard, Marbled cat, Sun bear, Large Indian civet, Owston’s civet, Back-striped weasel, Small Indian civet, Masked palm civet, Spotted linsang, Yellow-throated marten, Small dark muntjac, Guar, Sambar deer, Southern serow, Hog badger, Stump-tailed macaque, Crab-eating mongoose. The major threat to these species comes from habitat degradation resulting from the high demand for natural resources from regional neighbors, a boom in monoculture plantations, infrastructure developments and continuing shifting agricultural practices.

Birds: Silver pheasant, Grey peacock pheasant.

Vegetation: Most of the land in Nam Et-Phou Louey NBCA is hilly or mountainous (over 60 per cent of the combined area is over 1,000 meters ASL).


 It contains a mosaic of secondary mixed deciduous forest, with areas of bamboo and shrubland indicating extensive slash and burn agricultural practices in the past (MAF and IUCN 1998). Phou Louey has significant old growth mixed deciduous forest, with montane evergreen forest dominating the higher altitudes (source:


The Luang Prabang montane rain forests harbor several threatened and endangered mammals including the Francois’s leaf monkey, Silvered leaf monkey, Douc langur, tiger, Asian elephant, wild dog, Himalayan black bear, Sun bear, Clouded leopard, Common leopard, Thamin and Gaur.


The Landscape Mosaics Project works with the National Agriculture and Forestry Research Institute (NAFRI) and Northern Agriculture and Forestry Research Centre (NAFReC) in implementing the project in Viengkham District.


Chapters in Colfer, C.J.P. and Pfund, J-L. (eds) (In press). Collaborative Governance of Tropical Landscapes. Earthscan, London:
Colfer, C.J.P., Pfund, J-L. with Andriamampandry, E., Asaha, S., Boucard, A., Boissière, M., Feintrenie, L., Ingram, V., Lyimo, E., Martini, E., Rantala, S., Roberts, M., Sunderland, T., Urech, Z.L., Vihemäki, H., Vongkhamsao, V. and Watts, J.D. An Introduction to Five Tropical Landscapes, their People and their Governance.
Watts, J.D. with Colfer, C.J.P. The governance of tropical forested landscapes
Watts, J.D., Vihemaki, H., Boissiere, M. & Rantala, S. Information flows, decision making and social acceptability in displacement processes.
Powell, B., Watts, J.D., Asaha, S., Boucard, A., Feintrenie, L., Lyimo, E., Sunderland-Groves, J., and Urech, Z. The role of wild species in governance of tropical forested Landscapes.
Colfer, C.J.P with Andriamampandry, E., Asaha, S., Basuki, I., Boucard, A., Feintrenie, L., Ingram,V., Roberts, M., Sunderland, T. and Urech, Z. Minefields in collaborative governance.

Colfer , C.J.P., Andriamampandry, E., Asaha, S., Lyimo, E., Pfund, J.L. and Watts, J.D. (Forthcoming). Participatory Action Research for Catalyzing Adaptive Management: Analysis of a ‘Fits and Starts’ Process. Journal of Environmental Science and Engineering

Fitriana, Y.R. (2008) Landscape and Farming System in Transition: Case Study in Viengkham District, Luang Prabang Province, Lao PDR. Agronomy and Agro-Food Program, Institut des Regions Chaudes-Supagro, Montpellier, France.

Lestrelin, G. (2010) Decentralization, local dis-empowerment and regional disparities in the Lao PDR. RCSD international conference, 13-15 May 2010, Chiang Mai, Thailand. Discussion Panel: 'Comparing rural political geographies in SEA'.

Watts, J.D., Kanyasone, V. and Vongkhamsao, V. (2010) Pathways to participatory landscape governance in Northern Laos: The role of Information and Communication Technologies. Journal of Information Communication Technology for Human Development. Vol. 2(3)


The Landscape Mosaics Project (2010) Brief: Building sustainable landscape management in the Lao P.D.R. The Biodiversity Platform.


Boucard, A., Phonpakdy, S., Mouaxeng-Cha, K., Thephavanh, M., Vongamany, O., Boissière, M., and Basuki, I. (2009) Methodology of selection of key-resources for future participatory monitoring system. Viengkham District, Luang Prabang Province, Laos. Poster presented at NAFRI 10 year anniversary. Vientiane, Lao P.D.R.

Phonpakdy, S., Boucard, A., Mouaxeng-Cha, K., Thephavanh, M., Vongmany, O., Boissière, M. and Basuki, I. (2009) Evolution of NTFPs collect practices Viengkham District, Luang Prabang Province, Laos. Poster presented at NAFRI 10 year anniversary. Vientiane, Lao P.D.R.

Thephavanh, M., Vongmnay, O., Boucard, A., Boissière, M. and Castella, J-C. (2009) Landscape Mosaics Project -Biodiversity Monitoring Component. Spatial patterns in NTFPs collection Viengkham District, Luang Prabang Province, Laos PDR. Poster presented at NAFRI 10 year anniversary. Vientiane, Lao P.D.R.


Based in Laos
Phouthone Sophatilath - Site supervisor
Vongvilay Vongkhamsao - Site coordinator
Bounthanom Bouahom - Policy analyst
Manithaithip Thepphavanh - Collaborator PLUP
Vansing Manivanh - Administrative assistant
Jean-Christophe Castella - Country coordinator
Jeremy Bourgoin - PhD student (Negotiation support tool)
Guillaume Lestrelin - PostDoc student
Fabien Bastide - Site advisor
Vilaphong Kanyasone - Facilitator
Sangthong Phatsalin - Field assistant
Sayasith Phonphakdy - Field assistant
Bounthan Manivong - District Officer
Khamphanh Tabongphet - Project Administrative staff, NAFREC

Based in Bogor
Manuel Boissière - Site Leader
Jean-Laurent Pfund - Co-site Leader
Imam Basuki - MSc student (NR monitoring)
John Watts - Research and Communications Officer


For more information on the site, please contact:
Manuel Boissière -
Vongvilay Vongkhamsao - 


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