Việt Nam has a diverse wetland ecosystem, distributing mostly in the Red River Delta and the Mekong River Delta, along more than 3,260km coastline and in some islands of diverse ecosystems. In 2015, the Secretariat of the Convention on Wetlands of International Importance (Ramsar Convention) recognized Lang Sen Wetland Reserve and U Minh Thuong National Park as the 7th and 8th Ramsar Sites respectively. In other words, currently Việt Nam has eight Ramsar sites including: Xuan Thuy National Park, Bau Sau wetland within Cat Tien National Park, Ba Be National Park, Tram Chim National Park, Mui Ca Mau National Park, Con Dao National Park, Lang Sen Wetland Reserve and U Minh Thuong National Park.
Bird species in Lang Sen wetland protected area (WWF picture)
U Minh Thuong National Park – typical model of Melaleuca forest ecosystem in peatland
U Minh Thuong National Park is one of the two most important places of the remaining peatland areas in Việt Nam (the second area is U Minh Ha) and is recognized as one of the three most prioritized areas for wetland conservation in the Mekong Delta. In Việt Nam, in terms of pyrite melaleuca ecosystems, only the vegetation of U Minh Thuong National Park has features of primitive forest with the combination of mixed forest and melaleuca forest with the area of 3,000 ha.
Melaleuca forest ecosystem in peatlands becomes a particularly important ecosystem, is the breeding area and habitat of many wildlife, with the appearance of 32 mammals, 187 bird species, 34 reptiles and amphibians, 37 fish species, 203 insects and many aquatic species distributed in different depth layers of the ecosystem. U Minh Thuong peatland swamp forest plays an important role in preventing the acidification of surface soil layers and storage of freshwater and is the breeding area of freshwater fish species.
Melaleuca forest ecosystem and inundated grassland in U Minh Thuong National Park is the habitat of one of the most diverse bird system in the Mekong Delta. U Minh Thuong National Park has a diverse component of birds and is the largest breeding bird garden for watery birds in the region. U Minh Thuong National Park is one of three locations in the world that is known for the appearance of the hairy-nosed otter.
|Open landscape – flora and aquatic species in U Minh Thuong National Park
Lang Sen wetland protected area – typical ecosystem of Dong Thap Muoi (Plain of Reeds) Wetland
Lang Sen wetland protected area is located in the centre and is considered as the inland lowland of the Dong Thap Muoi in the downstream of the Mekong River. Although located in the lowland of the Dong Thap Muoi, Lang Sen is close to the ancient delta area running along the Việt Nam – Cambodia border. As located in the lowland area, this region is directly affected by the hydrology pattern of the Mekong River and is flooded annually.
Lang Sen wetland protected area is diverse in terms of landscapes, of which melaleuca forest landscape dominates with high proportion, followed by seasonal inundated grassland ecosystem with four types of communities, as well as landscapes dominated by lotus, lily, pistia... Lang Sen wetland protected area is the place providing important landscape for water birds, identified as an important bird area and the habitat of many fish species being taken into consideration for conservation and for have high economic values.
Lang Sen wetland protected area is one of the two remaining typical landscape of the Dong Thap Muoi wetland. The vegetation in Lang Sen is quite diverse with 156 flora species belonging to 60 families. Lang Sen is the only region having the semi-natural melaleuca forest habitat running along natural channels of high special biodiversity values. In addition to melaleuca forest, Lang Sen is diverse with floating flora communities such as lotus, lily, pistia, riverside mixed vegetation and seasonal inundated grassland.
Lang Sen is one of eight important bird regions in the freshwater wetlands in Việt Nam. Of 122 recognized bird species, in addition to global threatened species, there are nearly threatened species such as giang sen - painted stork (Mycteria leucocephala) and điềng điễng (Anhinga melanogaster). Out of six mammal species, a nearly threatened species is the otter. Out of 17 recognized reptiles, in addition to three global threatened species, the python (Python molurus) is nearly threatened.
Việt Nam has eight Ramsar sites which is the pride, honour and responsibility of the country in keeping the wetland to implement the mission of the Ramsar Convention: “The conservation and wise use of all wetlands through local, regional and national actions and international cooperation, as a contribution towards achieving sustainable development throughout the world”■
Trần Ngọc Cường - Nguyễn Tự Nam
Vietnam Environment Administration