With a variety of plants and animals, Vietnam is one of the world’s 10 most biologically diverse countries. Although there has been a significant increase in coverage and in the number of protected areas, biodiversity has continued to decline in Viet Nam.
The key issue is the lack of connectivity between protected areas. Most protected areas in Vietnam tend to be small and isolated from other areas of natural habitat. Meanwhile, small habitats often lose species faster than the large habitats because some species, especially large animals such as bears and cats, require a large natural habitat to find mates and feed. To deal with this, corridors can be developed between protected areas to allow species to move from one protected habitat to another. Also, corridors can help species to adapt to unpredicted climate change in the future because species can move along climatic gradients through corridors.
Map of Viet Nam’s Protected Areas
The connectivity of protected areas to establish networks is very important for the survival of many species; however, such linkages remain rare in Vietnam. Vietnam has developed green corridors to connect some protected areas only in the central region. Some of endangered species such as Indochinese tigers, bears, White-cheeked Crested Gibbons, and Saola(Pseudoryx nghetinhensis) which is one of the most recently discovered large mammals and also one of the rarest in the world are found in the green corridors between the two national parks in the central of Vietnam.
|Saola – A critically endangered species||Indochinese tiger – Fewer than 50 left in Vietnam|
According to International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), a significant constraint to establish corridors in order to conserve biodiversity in Vietnam is the lack of a centralized protected area management authority. Vietnam has not had a national protected area network a national protected areas network, but 163 separately managed protected areas, six of which are under the provincial authorities, who prioritize economic growth rather than biodiversity conservation. In some cases, the effort of an individual protected area cannot ensure the survival of endangered species. For example, in Cat Tien National Park, the last Javan Rhino, which requires large habitat is died in April 2010 due to their habitat loss and illegal trading.
How to improve the protected area management in Vietnam to conserve the biodiversity of a country with 10% of the world’s vertebrate fauna on 1% of its land area? I highly recommend the development of a new protected areas network with high connectivity within and between protected areas. Developing corridors cross the whole country could be a key solution. To implement this solution, a centralized protected area management authority needs to be established because redesigning of national protected areas network requires the change in land use planning nationally that a protected area cannot do.
Thu Nguyen (U5074087)