Documenting Endangered Cypress in Laos

Come join me on an extraordinary conservation adventure this New Years. Thanks to National Geographic Conservation Trust, I am back in Laos documenting the critically endangered Chinese swamp cypress population that I stumbled upon while working on a wetland restoration project in central Laos in 2007. Until this discovery, only 250 individuals were known to exist in the ‘wild’ – in 2 coffee plantations in Vietnam. Once widespread in China, Vietnam and Laos, this highly prized tree is used for building furniture, making perfume, and now there are rumors from Vietnam that it may help cure cancer. My intrepid research team and I are working this month to survey the distribution, ecology, and significance of the cypress population in Annamite Mountains of Laos. We are working closely with the Laos Wildlife Conservation Association and other government agencies to help them protect the endangered cypress and its habitat from poachers. Follow my blog this month to learn more about our team’s research and experiences along the former Ho Chi Minh Trail in Laos.


This is a painting my friend Susanne Friedrich did of the majestic cypress tree that I discovered in central Laos in 2007.