Xanthocyparis vietnamensis, the Vietnamese golden cypress, is a newly discovered, critically endangered conifer only known thus far from a restricted area of limestone mountains in Ha Giang province in Vietnam. The population is estimated to comprise of only 561 individuals in Can Ty, Thanh Van and Bat Dai Son communes of Bat Dai Son Nature Reserve in Ha Giang province. The extent of occurrence of the original population is estimated to be 20.3 km2 and the area of its occupancy is 0.03 km2.
Our recent survey found three new populations in three localities: Sinh Lung and Ho Quang Phin communes in Dong Van district and Sung Tra commune in Meo Vac district of Ha Giang province. They have 42 individuals. Their extent of occurrence is estimated to be 14.8 km2 and their area of occupancy is estimated to be 0.005 km2. These three new populations are situated close to each other and form the second area located about 28 km to the northeast-east of the Bat Dai Son Nature Reserve.
Up to now, all of populations of Xanthocyparis vietnamensis in the two areas is comprised of 603 individuals with extent of occurrence of about 35.1 km2 and area of occupancy of about 0.035 km2. Regeneration has also been recorded in the natural habitat, but rare. This new data however will not affect the current global conservation status assessment of the species, CR B1ab(ii-v), 2ab(ii-v).
This new discovery is of global and national importance at both scientific and conservation stand points. It is a local endemic and it produces valuable timber. Very little is known about Xanthocyparis vietnamensis therefore it is essential that practical research must be undertaken as soon as possible before it becomes extinct in the wild.
Nguyen Tien Hiep, To Van Thao, Nguyen Sinh Khang, Pham Van The, Nguyen Thi Thanh Huong
IEBR - VAST
Lenh Xuan Chung, Nguyen Truong Son
Bat Dai Son Natural Reserve Area
Phan Ke Loc
College of Science - HNU & IEBR - VAST