RACH GIA — Mekong Delta Kien Giang biosphere reserve received United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) certification at a ceremony on Thursday in Kien Giang Province's Rach Gia City.
It was formally recognised as a World Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO in 2006.
Katherine Muller Marin, chief representative of UNESCO in Ha Noi, said the biosphere reserve zones of Viet Nam have greatly contributed to preserving the world's most important ecological systems.
The reserve will also help Kien Giang Province boost ecotourism and better manage the negative effects of global warming, she added.
Tran Thanh Nam, vice chairman of Kien Giang Province People's Committee, said the biosphere reserve would also play a vital role in the country's sustainable socio-economic development.
At the ceremony, 10 organisations, 30 businesses and 15 individuals that have greatly contributed to the sustainable development of the region were also honoured.
The Kien Giang biosphere reserve, which occupies more than 1.1 million hectares, is the largest biosphere in Southeast Asia.
The reserve consists of three parts – the Phu Quoc National Park, the U Minh Thuong National Park and the Kien Luong-Kien Hai coastal forest. Each part has its own distinctive character and unique fauna and flora.
The U Minh Thuong National Park plays an important role in conserving the mangrove forest and the Cuu Long (Mekong) Delta ecosystems. The park will also help to preserve the endangered hairy-nosed otter (Lutra sumatrana).
Phu Quoc National Park has plant species that are common to the ecological regions of Malaysia-Indonesia, Himalayas-Yunnan (China) and India-Myanmar. The park is home to 529 plant species belonging to 120 families, of which, 42 species are listed in the Vietnamese and world red books of endangered species. The buffer and development zones also have a diverse sea ecosystem. The 10,000-ha area has nine species of seaweed that is the staple of the indigenous dugong.
Coral reefs that are home to about 260 species and that cover an area of more than 470ha stretch the length of Phu Quoc island on a north-south axis, including more than 360ha in the southern area of the An Thoi archipelago. The coral reefs are home to more than 150 species of tropical fish, including many of commercial value. There are also 48 species of mollusk, 25 species of echinoderm and more than 50 species of seaweed.
Mollusks in the Kien Luong-Kien Hai coastal forest form an important part of the local fauna. Four of the 17 endemic animal species in Bai Voi and Kien Luong have been included in the Vietnamese and world red books, including vooc bac (trachypithelus germaini), rai ca cui (amblonyx cinera), soc do (callosciurus finlaysoni), doi (rhinolopus marshalli), and khi duoi dai (macaca fascicularis).
The region has more than 300 species of animal and 61 species of bird, including those listed in the Vietnamese and world red books such as seu dau do (grus antigone) and sa mo rong (pelargopsis capensis).
Viet Nam now has five world biosphere reserves – Can Gio in HCM City, Cat Tien (Dong Nai, Lam Dong and Binh Phuoc provinces), Cat Ba (Hai Phong), the Song Hong (Red River) Delta and Kien Giang. — VNS