Biodiversity in Quang Ngai Aspiring Geopark

Sunday - 05/08/2018 11:51
The Quang Ngai geopark covers an area over 2,000 square kilometers including Ly Son, Binh Son, Son Ha, Tra Bong and Tay Tra districts; parts of Tu Nghia, Mo Duc, Duc Pho districts and Quang Ngai City. This geopark covers areas of diverse terrain from high mountains to coastal plains and islands. Therefore, the Quang Ngai geopark is expected to contain various typical biodiversity values.

Biodiversity is the variability among genetic sources, species, organisms and ecosystems. In order to secure UNESCO Global Geopark label, in addition to geological heritage significance, the territory is expected to link the geoheritage to natural, culture values and other intangible heritages. Biodiveristy in the Quang Ngai geopark territory is not only indipensable parts but also supplementary values to the area.

The Quang Ngai geopark includes protected areas that have been approved or planned by the competent authorities, such as Ly Son Marine Reserve, West Ba To and West Tra Bong Nature Reserve, Central Region Tortoise Reserve, and Sa Huynh - Quang Ngai World Biosphere Reserve. Due to the diverse terrain, the geopark contains coastal lagoons, mangroves, tropical forests, and primitive forests, which are rich in biodiversity.

Ly Son island and its adjacent high biodiversity, typical ecosystems such as coral reefs, seagrass beds with over 700 species of marine fauna and flora have been identified. There are 150 species of coral, 202 species of marine fish, 137 species of seaweeds, 96 species of crustaceans, 40 species of echinoderms, 6 species of seagrass. In addition, there are 25 species listed in the category of aquatic endangered species in Vietnam, especially four of five species of threatened sea turtles in the world are reported in this area. Other rare marine species such as black coral, sea cucumber, lobster, mussel, etc. are also found in the Quang Ngai geopark territory. Most of the Ly Son island coastal tidal area is made up of fine sand, coral fragments, mollusc, on the surface of the original rock or low tidal coral shelf. Ly Son island coastal ecosystems are of great value to the local community, especially for garlic and shallot production on the island.

 Among of 478 terrestrial vertebrate species found in the ecosystems of the Quang Ngai geopark, 53 species of rare animals have been recorded by Vietnam Red Book at different levels, including 22 species of mammals, 14 species of birds, 15 species of reptiles and 2 species of amphibians. The rarity of this area is relatively high compared to other biodiversity areas in Vietnam. The initial survey of biodiversity in Ba To district by WAR reported nearly 60 species of amphibians, 32 mammal species (including 15 species of bats) and 52 species of dragonflies. Two species are noted in the territory including Taylor frog (Theloderma stellatum) - one of the species listed in the IUCN Red List and species of amphibian, Leptobrachium xanthospilum - the endemic species of Vietnam. Some rare animals such as Normascus sp., Macaque leonine are also recorded. A list of 89 species of 27 families, 10 animal families, including 30 species in the Vietnam Red Book and 71 species in the IUCN Red List, especially gray-shanked dugong (Pygathrix cinerea) recorded in Tra Bong district are rare and endemic species.

There is an impressive variety of precious plant on the natural forests in the aspiring Quang Ngai geopark including lauan meranti, white meranti, menghundor, iron-wood, apitong, techicai sitan, merawan giaza. Also, it is home of many kinds of valuable plants such as precious medicinal plants as amomum, flowery knotweed, ginger, cinnamon, orchid, etc.; and raw materials for handicrafts as calameae, conical leaves. The endemic plants for southern flora and plateaus such as lagerstromia, apitong, golden oak, techicai sitan, and northern flora such as cinnamon, champaca are also recorded.        

Although the biodiversity of the aspiring Quang Ngai geopark has been initially recognized, further scientific research is required to fully assess the biodiversity values. The educational program for local communities should be strengthened on the subjects of not only the significance and importance but also the conservation and sustainable exploitation of biodiversity values in their area. In addition, the planned natural reserve areas should be quickly established in order to protect, preserve and sustainably exploit which supports for the successful application of the global geopark in Quang Ngai.

Author: Dr. Le Hoang Duy

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