The role and development status of Dipterocarpaceae Family in Lao PDR

hanhsamone Phongoudom and Khamfeua Sirivongs

Forestry Research Centre (FRC), National Agriculture and Forestry Research Institute (NAFRI), Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (MAF). Namsouang, Naxaithong, Vientiane Capital, Lao PDR; P.O Box: 7174, Tel/Fax.: 856-21-770892



This paper discusses the roles and status of Dipterocarpaceae family in the country, focusing on the socio-economic contributions in terms of timber, sawn woods, plywood production, non-timber forest products and other uses of species in the family. The paper also reviews the status of the dipterocarp forests in terms of forest areas, distribution, occurrences, status of conservation, as well as the domestication, nursery practice, taxonomy, and seed sources of species in the family of Dipterocarpaceae in Lao PDR.

Keywords: Dipterocarpaceae, Lao PDR


Lao PDR is a country that is rich in natural dipterocarp forest with a total forest area of 11.2 million ha (Manivong and Sanderwall 1992). However, the number of flora species was estimates to be about 8,000 to 11,000 species (Xu Zai Fu 1994). The Dipterocarpaceae family in Laos has 6 genera (Anisoptera, Dipterocarpus, Hopea, Parashorea, Shorea, Vatica) and 27 species, and most of the Dipterocarps species are found in the Dry Dipterocarps Forest (DDF), Mixed Deciduous Forest (MDF) and Dry Evergreen Forest (DEF). Dipterocarps species play an important role in the socio-economic status accounts for 50 to 70% of the timber and non-timber forest products (Vidal 1963, Xaidala and Lamxay 2000). The potential for natural regeneration, and the use of the dipterocarps, Anisoptera cotatus, Dipterocarpus alatus and Hopea odorata, as plantation species was studied by FRC (1999) and Xiong and Gilmour (2000), and Thepphavong et al. (2002).

Status of research and development of Dipterocarpaceae

Research on taxonomy and ecology

Guerin (1910), who is the first person interested in Dipterocarpaceae family, in the region and specifically in Laos, followed by Tardieu-Blot (194143), Paquet et al. (1971), Simitinand et al. (1980, 1990), Svengsuksa and Vidal (1997), and Hoang Van Sam et al. (2004). All the 6 genera and 27 species, and the details of each species are provided in Appendix 1. However, the initial checklist of tree species in Laos has been completed (Callaghan 2003).

Table 1. Distribution of Dipterocarps species in forest types

Forest types Areas (million ha) Percent of occurrences

Dry Dipterocarp Forest 1 206.5 60 (1219 species)

Mixed Deciduous Forest 8 334.9 30 (68 species)

Dry Evergreen Forest 1 146.5 10 (23 species)

Seed sources development and management

The development of seed sources was conducted during 20032004 and registered by Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry. A total of 4 genera, 22 seed sources and 7 species over the occurrence areas are recognised and described in Appendix 2. The national strategy of seed demand and supply has classified some Dipterocarps species as in the third category after Tectona grandis and Aquilaria crassana (Lamxay 2000, Greijmans et al. 2004).

Phenology study

The phenology study was conducted from 20012005 and the results are summarized in Table 2.

Table 2. Summary of phenology study of Dipterocarps species


Species Flowering Fruiting

Anisoptera costata November-Mach February-May

Dipterocarpus alatus November-January April-May

D. retusus December-February April-July

Hopea chinensis June-October February-April

H. odorata February – March April-July

Parashorea stellata April-June August-October

Shorea siamensis February-April April-May

Vatica odorata April-June August-October


Domestication and plantation establishment

The domestication and plantation establishment using Dipterocarps species in Laos were trialed with Dipterocarpus alatus, Anisptera costata and Hopea ferrea.

Latest news

Oldest news