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Vietnam Research and Conservation

Vietnam Research & Conservation

Introduction
The Socialist Republic of Vietnam finds itself at a critical juncture in current efforts to survey and identify its rich floral and faunal resources, and to conserve them for coming generations. Stretching more than 1,650 kilometers north to south along Tonkin Bay and the South China Sea, Vietnam encompasses three major biogeographic zones, four Endemic Bird Areas (EBAs), and a wide variety of unique habitats. Because of its size, location, and the historical interaction of complex topographic, climatic and ecological factors, the country has high levels of both species diversity and endemism. Vietnam is currently recognized as having a significant proportion of rare and endemic species from both regional and global conservation perspectives.

Vietnam's people and natural resources face many of the same pressures and threats as other developing countries at the start of the 21st Century. A growing population of almost 80 million people, the flowering of an open market economy, and accompanying increases in deforestation rates and the wildlife trade threaten the preservation of Vietnam's unique biodiversity. Today, many of Vietnam's native plants and animals are threatened or endangered by these combined pressures: the 2000 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species ranking of countries with the largest number of threatened species placed Vietnam 6th, 15th and 18th for reptiles, mammals and birds, respectively.

Vietnam is strongly committed to the conservation of its biodiversity and natural resources in the face of these various challenges. This commitment includes:

  • The maintenance and continued development of a widespread protected area network of National Parks, Nature Reserves, and Cultural and Historical Sites.
  • Training a cadre of dedicated biologists to record and study Vietnam's biodiversity.
  • Gathering and maintaining basic collections of plants and animals for training and research.
  • Long-term institutional commitment to collaboration with foreign scientific and conservation organizations.

 

Despite increasing national and international attention, both Vietnamese species diversity and conservation efforts rest in a precarious place. Much of Vietnam's rich and unique biological diversity is only now being explored. In the past decade new genera of mammals have been discovered in Vietnam and Lao PDR, and several new species of rodents and birds are currently being described. The extent to which both known and unidentified biodiversity is conserved by the current protected areas network is insufficient: only 4% of Vietnam's total land area is currently protected. Detailed information about the distribution of biodiversity and endemism in Vietnam is needed for making realistic decisions on existing protected area boundaries and the design and placement of new protected areas. Continued research into Vietnamese biodiversity and recommendations for additional conserved areas are urgently needed.

Project Objectives
The Center for Biodiversity and Conservation at the American Museum of Natural History (CBC-AMNH) and the Missouri Botanical Gardens (MBG) have joined with the Institute of Ecology and Biological Resources (IEBR) and the Vietnam National University (VNNU) in Hanoi in a multi-year collaborative research, education and training effort to measure the extent and distribution of Vietnamese species diversity and to identify conservation priorities and potential new protected areas.

The principle objective of the project is to develop a core of knowledge and expertise in biodiversity and conservation necessary to protect and manage Vietnam's most important and highly endangered ecosystems. To this end the CBC and its North American and Vietnamese collaborators conducted extensive multiple-taxa biotic inventory surveys in three different biogeographic regions of Vietnam. These areas and the specific study localities within them were chosen because they were historically under-surveyed, potentially of high biodiversity and conservation value, and represented ecosystems either not currently part of the protected areas network or inadequately represented within it.

In addition to research aimed at measuring Vietnamese biodiversity and endemism, we are concentrating our efforts on education and conservation initiatives increasing the capacity of scientific research facilities, and making a commitment to training students in both Vietnam and North America in evolutionary biology, conservation biology and systematics.

Results
The CBC and its research partners are committed to the publication of results produced through the project's research, education and training efforts in both electronic and traditional formats.

These web pages on our biodiversity and conservation research in Vietnam include descriptions of the study areas, research site maps, and methods and summary results from our multi-taxa biotic surveys. Additionally, searchable web-based collections databases from these surveys which are cross-referenced by research site and year. A complete list of published reports, peer-reviewed papers, monographs, manuals, needs assessments, and other results from the project are available in the Resource Directory. Links to these results and other information on our collaborative efforts in Vietnam are accessible through the sidebar navigation buttons. For further information on Vietnam, its people, geography and natural resources, please visit our list of references and web-based resources in the Publications and Reports.

For detailed reports and databases from the project's botanical research, please visit the Missouri Botanical Garden's Vietnam Research Web Site.

Acknowledgement and Disclaimer
This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. 9870232 ("Collaborative Research: Multi-Taxa Inventory of Threatened Conservation Areas in Vietnam") and the Center for Biodiversity and Conservation at the American Museum of Natural History. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.

If you have any questions or comments please contact the Center for Biodiversity and Conservation by sending an Email to biodiversity@amnh.org

Citation
Hurley, M.M., comp. "Multi-Taxa Biotic Inventories of Three Unprotected Forested Ecosystems in Vietnam." Retrieved  [Today's Date] from the Center for Biodiversity and Conservation at the American Museum of Natural History, New York, USA: http://amnh.org.

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