The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) has outlined the criteria for designating national preservation parks, affirming that a locale should contain, rare plants and animals listed in Vietnam's Red Book or other important characteristics, such as coral reefs.
A park should also have a suitable environment for eco-tourism without endangering preservation aims, and a park's acreage should be at least 5,000ha, and over 3,000ha for a marine area and 1,000ha for wetlands, MARD reported.
Natural bio-diversity should comprise at least 70 per cent of each park's total area, while residential and agricultural land should account for less than five per cent of the park's total area, the ministry added.
Vietnam currently has more than 60 preservation parks, with a total area of 1,369,058ha, including 49 national parks and 11 for the preservation of species and biodiversity, according to MARD's Department for Forest Protection.
The Ministry of Natural Resouces Environment reported that Vietnam was one of the world's top biodiversity centres, with more than 30,000 species of plants, 7,750 species of insects, and 9,203 species of other invertebrates.
Six new animal species have been discovered in Vietnam in recent years, but over-exploitation of biological resources is causing the country's wild animal population to dwindle each year. The country's biodiversity has also been rapidly diminished by forest fires and unplanned land use, including the construction of dams for aquaculture and the clearing of forests for agriculture, said the ministry.
Vietnam's marine life is also in trouble, as fish species and coral reefs have significantly declined over the last decade, according to a report from the World Wildlife Fund (WWF).
"The WWF is working with local governments and communities to increase their ability to use marine and coastal resources in a sustainable way," the report said, adding that "restorative efforts should focus on maintaining eco-systems like coral reefs, seagrass beds and mangrove forests."
VIETNAMNET - (31/08/2005)