Expanding Vietnam’s green corridor

Geographical location:

Asia/Pacific > Southeast Asia > Vietnam

Saola or Vu Quang ox (Pseudoryx nghetinhensis), 4-5 month old female at the Forest Inventory and Planning Institute Botanical Garden in Hanoi. Vietnam.
© WWF-Canon / David HULSE

Summary

With a remarkable variety of plants and animals, Vietnam is one of the most biologically diverse countries in Southeast Asia. Some of country’s richest biodiversity is found in a green corridor between Phong Dien Nature Reserve and Bach Ma National Park in Thua Thien Hue province. Here, one finds tigers, bears, endangered white-cheeked crested gibbons and saolo, a unique type of wild cattle only discovered by scientists in 1992.

To protect the region’s biodiversity, WWF is working with local authorities to reduce such threats as illegal logging and wildlife trade, as well as integrating other forest areas into the corridor to strengthen conservation efforts.

Background

The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) and the WWF Greater Mekong Programme have been collaborating on conservation issues in the Green Corridor region since 1993 when the Participatory Development of Bach Ma National Park project (VN0012) was established with funding from the European Union (EU). One of the major recommendations of the project final report in 1997 was to expand and enhance the conservation area of the Green Corridor by integrating the various separate protected areas and forest management units which lie along the mountainous corridor which separates Thua Thien-Hue Province from Quang Nam Province.

Due to the unique geographical position of the transition zone between the Northern and Southern ecoregions, the Bach Ma-Hai Van Green Corridor hosts a diversity of species, including tigers, bears and other carnivores, several endemic primates and a richness of 7 pheasant species (including Lophura edwardsi) which is unparalleled in Southeast Asia for such a small area.

Old growth forests in the Green Corridor contain many rare wood species which are limited and rapidly diminishing. 3 major river systems originate from the Western Truong Son range and flow eastward through the Corridor.

Several follow-up surveys and field conservation activities in the Green Corridor region have been undertaken by the Forest Protection Departments (FPD) in all 3 provinces with funding from WWF:
- Saola surveys with Danang FPD.
- Saola surveys with Thua Thien-Hue FPD.
- Tiger conservation activities with Thua Thien-Hue FPD.
- West Quang Nam survey and protected area management planning for Song Thanh-Dak Pring Nature Reserve with Quang Nam FPD.
- 7 Edwards's pheasant surveys with Thua Thien-Hue FPD.

The reports from these surveys and field activities have reinforced the conservation value of the Green Corridor. The surveys proved that the range of the saola (Pseudoryx nghetinhensis) extends much further South than originally thought by scientists. It is now certain that the Green Corridor provides the Southern most limit of the saola's range. Surveys in Western Quang Nam Province led to the scientific description of the Truong Son muntjac which is the smallest known muntjac species (the species was named after the mountain range which passes through the area). Follow-up surveys in Thua Thien-Hue have shown the Truong Son muntjac to exist in A Luoi and Nam Dong districts.

Objectives

The Green Corridor project aims to protect and maintain the Green Corridor landscape by strengthening management and capacity building.

The project will apply a landscape-level approach, identifying areas of biodiversity and forest conservation importance. This research
will be used to meet conservation targets through multiple-use forest management. This will be achieved through the implementation of 4 main project objectives.

Strengthen conservation and preventing illegal activities
- Identify biodiversity hotspots and wildlife corridors, map forest areas.
- Strengthen regulations on logging, hunting, and wildlife trade, and improve enforcement capacity.
- Support land-use planning and promote long-term sustainable development practices.

Forest landscape restoration and sustainable livelihoods
- Design and implement a strategy to restore high conservation landscapes.
- Demonstrate incentive schemes to improve livelihoods and sustainability.
- Support local communities to obtain land certificates.

Capacity building and awareness raising
- Implement training courses on forest management and conservation.
- Raise awareness and achieve behaviour change.
- Educate local, national, regional, and international interest groups and policy makers about the project.

Landscape monitoring and evaluation
- Establish an adaptive landscape management system.
- Conduct biological monitoring and research.
- Implement a system to monitor the effects of the Ho Chi Minh highway.

Solution

A protected Green Corridor will provide stability to the steep, unstable slopes and watershed protection to the rivers and their headwaters, which are the water supply for agriculture lands in lowland Thua Thien-Hue and Quang Nam provinces. Significantly, this project will aid the government of Vietnam through the National Forest Programme to address the primary forest conservation priority of the biodiversity action plan by developing an umbrella programme to bring existing protected areas and surrounding forested regions under one cohesive protected area management and development plan, promoting a landscape ecology focus in the provincial planning process.

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