Viet Nam News
ĐÀ NẲNG — Sơn Trà Nature Reserve, just 10km away from downtown Đà Nẵng, is home to incredible biodiversity, but rapid development threatens the plant and animal life there. The story of the local people fighting to protect Sơn Trà has never been told — until now.
Bùi Công Dụng will publish a 320-page book, Ký Sự Sơn Trà (Notes of Sơn Trà), on the history and rich biodiversity of the Sơn Trà Nature Reserve this September.
The local-born writer told Việt Nam News the Notes had been written in the five months since the illegal construction of a villa project was discovered by local residents in March 2017. Unfortunately, the villa project was not unprecedented: over the past two decades, development has encroached on the reserve.
Sơn Trà is known for its rich biodiversity, with 287 animal species and 985 plant species. Since 1977, the reserve has shrunk from more than 4,400ha to 2,500ha to make room for dozens of resorts and hotels in the area.
Author Bùi Công Dụng of Đà Nẵng Writers’ Association. — Photo courtesy of Bùi Công Dụng
Dụng said the Notes focuses on efforts made by generations of Đà Nẵng people to protect the uniquely rich biodiversity in Sơn Trà Peninsula during wars and peace. It also describes how local people have fought against property developers seeking to exploit natural resources in the reserve – which is home to more than 1,300 endangered red-shanked douc langurs (Pygathrix nemaeus).
Dụng, 67, has previously published five books, including three novels in topic of anti-corruption in the last five years. The latest novel, The Dug-out, was published in 2015.
Josh Kempinski, director of Fauna and Flora International (FFI), said in the book’s foreword: “With its rich biodiversity, Sơn Trà is really a unique place in the world that Đà Nẵng should protect. The city could develop tourism from the rich biodiversity and sustainable development of the reserve. The development plan of the Sơn Trà that is based on nature conservation is common in the world. But all actions and activities in the area must respect the natural value and the interaction of people and nature.”
Dan Ringelstein from the US-based Skidmore, Owings & Merill Planning and Architecture company wrote in the foreword: “Too many resorts and restaurants were built in the Sơn Trà mountainside. The Sơn Trà is a sensitive site of Đà Nẵng. The city has many land areas to develop before thinking of building in the Sơn Trà. You should respect the Sơn Trà Mountain as a national treasure, a place to conserve endangered wildlife species and a centre of biodiversity research.” — VNS