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U Minh Thuong National Park, Kien Giang Province – a unique and rare forest in the world

This is not only the 5th biosphere reserve in Vietnam recognized by UNESCO until now, but also the second largest reserve out of 8 biosphere reserves in Vietnam.

Located about 65km southwest of Rach Gia city, U Minh Thuong National Park is one of the three protected areas of the World Biosphere Reserve in Kien Giang province, with many levels that are almost non-existent. No other protected area of wetlands in Southeast Asia can match. Formed and concentrated in the west of Ca Mau peninsula, adjacent to the mangrove range along the Gulf of Thailand, U Minh Thuong is a special type of alum flooded forest in Vietnam, and is even recognized. on the list of unique and rare forests in the world.

Visiting the forest by boat

It is including both the world’s biosphere reserve and the ASEAN Heritage Park and Ramsar U Minh Thuong National Park was established under Decision No. 11/QD-TTg dated January 14, 2002 of the Prime Minister. U Minh Thuong National Park is surrounded by a closed dyke system with a length of 60km, with about 21,122ha of area in communes such as An Minh, Minh Thuan Bac (U Minh Thuong district), including 8,053ha of core area (of which 7838ha is a strictly protected area, 200ha is an area combined with revitalization) conservation and conservation of historical relics, 15ha is the administrative subdivision) and 13,069ha buffer zone.

On October 27, 2006, during the 19th session held in Paris, UNESCO recognized the Kien Giang Biosphere Reserve including the sea and island boundaries as a World Biosphere Reserve. This is not only the 5th biosphere reserve in Vietnam recognized by UNESCO until now, but also the second largest reserve out of 8 biosphere reserves in Vietnam, after Biosphere Reserve in the west of Nghe An province. The area dedicated to the biosphere of Kien Giang province includes the territory of several districts such as Phu Quoc, Kien Hai, Kien Luong and U Minh Thuong (established on May 10, 2007) with an area of ​​more than 1.1 million hectares, including three core areas belonging to U Minh Thuong National Park, Phu Quoc National Park and Coastal Protection Forest in Kien Luong-Kien Hai, bringing together the richness, diversity and distinctiveness of nature. both landscape and ecosystem, from Cajuput mangroves and karst-limestone forests to marine ecosystems with seagrasses and endangered dugongs considered as typical species.

In the alum forest ecosystem of the Mekong Delta, only the forest flora of the core zone of U Minh Thuong National Park has the characteristics of primeval forest. These are mixed melaleuca forests and melaleuca forests on peat land, with an area of ​​​​nearly 3,000 hectares. This was also the base of the revolution during the resistance war. With this feature, U Minh Thuong National Park is one of the two most important areas of the remaining peat swamp forest in Vietnam (the other area is U Minh Ha). On the peat, there are still natural landscapes of the ancient U Minh forest with ancient melaleuca trees in the U Minh region. The melaleuca forest ecosystem on peatland has become an ecosystem of special importance, as a place of nourishment and shelter for hundreds of species of wild animals, including birds, mammals, reptiles, amphibians, and amphibians. , fish, insects and many aquatic species distributed at different depths in the ecosystem.

U Minh Thuong possesses the most biodiversity of plant species in the Mekong Delta, besides the growth of Melaleuca trees, there are more than 254 species belonging to 84 families, with many endemic species such as land orchids, pointed duckweed, fern… According to survey data from the forest inventory in 1995, U Minh Thuong Biological Reserve owns 8,053ha of primeval forest, of which 3,000ha of primary forest was formed about 6,000 years ago with a thickness of 0 ,3-1.5m.

The fauna is also very rich with 32 species belonging to 10 families, 7 genera including 7 species of bats, 10 species listed in the Red Book of Vietnam and the world such as hairy-nosed otters, fish cats, civet civets, Finlayson squirrel, Java pangolin (Sunda); 188 bird species belonging to 39 families and 12 genera, accounting for 16.6% of the 828 species recorded in Vietnam, of which 12 are of conservation value, and 8 are globally threatened such as the gray-footed pelican , old wolf bird, black-headed stork, weaver bird, gray-headed fish kite, black eagle; 54 species of amphibian reptiles, including 8 species listed in the Red Book of Vietnam such as pythons, kraits, cobras, cobras, rat snakes, geckos, ..; 34 species of fish, in which, two species are called: white catfish and strabismus are listed in the Vietnam Red Book, other typical species are snakehead fish, giant snakehead, perch, mudskipper. .

At U Minh Thuong, there are 72 precious and rare species of flora and fauna recorded in the Vietnam Red Book 2007 and the IUCN Red List 2012. In particular, scientists discovered that the hairy-nosed otter (Lutra sumatrana) is a rare species recorded in the Vietnam Red Book of Animals and the World Red Book (IUCN). Scientific surveys show that the Cajuput forest ecosystem on the peatlands in the park is of particular importance, providing both nourishment and shelter for many rare and endangered wildlife species. extinction. They play an essential role in ecological balance, regulating flows, maintaining global climate levels, water quality and even rock formation.

Over the years, Kien Giang province has made great efforts in carrying out the process of conserving and restoring natural resources in the peatlands, ensuring the naturalness, wildness and integrity of the ecological system. , diversity and outstanding value in U Minh Thuong National Park. In 2012, U Minh Thuong National Park was recognized as the first ASEAN Heritage Park on the peatlands of Southeast Asia and the 5th National Park of Vietnam to be recognized as a Heritage Park. ASEAN.

Tourist attraction

In recent years, U Minh Thuong National Park has been known to tourists as an attractive eco-tourism destination in the Southwest region and more and more tourists are coming.

One site of U Minh Thuong National park

As a land of special ecological environment with many archaeological relics, historical sites, as well as described by many great writers of the South such as Son Nam, Doan Giay in interesting works bearing bold rustic, then the filmmakers also chose this place. As the backdrop for movies like Beside the Trem River… it’s no wonder that U Minh Thuong National Park has become a favorite destination for tourists and researchers alike.

The first destination that visitors can visit is a verdant and wooded mound, where a flock of crows bats hover above the incredibly tall Cajuput trees, inhabited by several species of large crow bats (Pteropus vampyrus Linnaeus). ) is threatened with extinction. Leaving the bats, separated from the canal, a vast surface of water covered with soft water ferns appeared before the eyes. This likes a beach for many species of birds, visitors can watch or take pictures of birds quite easily because they are very human-friendly. Along with that is Hoa Mai Lake, a swamp that is flushed out in the form of a flower with five petals, its surface covered with beautiful ferns like a spreading carpet, and it is also a tourist center. of U Minh Thuong National Park.

Visitors can relax and entertain themselves by pedaling a swan boat on the lake, carrying a fishing rod around the lake to experience like a real fisherman, or renting a boat to paddle along the lily-filled canals, Consider a great location for drop-down attraction. Located next to Hoa Mai Lake, the houses on the culinary stilts are an extremely interesting destination where visitors can enjoy many specialty dishes with a rustic but bold flavor of U Minh Thuong

Collected by Nguyen Viet Nghi

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