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Quang Tri Forest – Sanctuary for endangered and unique animal species

Quang Tri Province boasts a variety of habitats, making it a haven for numerous endemic and rare animal species. In order to safeguard biodiversity, species diversity, and genetic resources, Quang Tri has designated two nature reserves, Dakrong and Bac Huong Hoa, along with a marine conservation area on Con Co Island.

Quang Tri Forest – Sanctuary for endangered and unique animal species

Patrolling the Dakrong Nature Reserve. Photo: T.T

Rich and diverse ecosystem

Covering an expansive area of over 23,456 hectares, Bac Huong Hoa Nature Reserve stands as the only region in Vietnam that showcases both the Eastern and Western Truong Son mountain ranges, with peaks reaching over 1,000 meters in height.

Encompassing five communes in Huong Hoa District, namely Huong Phung, Huong Linh, Huong Son, Huong Viet, and Huong Lap, this reserve boasts over 90% forest coverage, with a plethora of limestone mountains and towering peaks. Notable attractions within this area include the enchanting Brai cave, the historic Ho Chi Minh road cutting through pristine forests, and the renowned Voi Mep mountain, fondly referred to as the “roof of Quang Tri.”

Bac Huong Hoa Nature Reserve is one of Quang Tri Province"s four special-use forests and houses a lowland subtropical moist evergreen rainforest ecosystem.

The reserve is home to an impressive array of biodiversity, with 1,296 plant species, 110 mammal species, 33 fish species, 206 bird species, and 81 amphibian species. Many of these flora and fauna are of international conservation importance, with 11 species listed in the World Red Book and five endangered species, including the Ha Tinh langur, brown-shanked douc, white-cheeked gibbon, bear, and saola. Additionally, six species are classified as critically endangered, such as the Java pangolin, red-faced monkey, clawed fish puppet, large gill, gaur, and chamois.

Within Bac Huong Hoa Nature Reserve, the fauna comprises 110 species across 30 families and 10 orders, with 38 species listed in the Vietnam Red Book, 33 species in the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List, and 39 species protected under Decree No. 06/2019/ND-CP issued by the Government.

The bird population includes 206 species from 49 families and 12 orders, featuring eight species in the Vietnam Red Book, 11 species in the World Red Book, and 21 species protected by Decree No. 06/2019/ND-CP. The reserve"s fish fauna encompasses 33 species from 28 genera, 17 families, and six orders, with one species listed in the Red Book of Vietnam.

Furthermore, the recorded reptile and amphibian count comprises 81 species, 56 genera, 18 families, and three orders, with 14 species listed in the Vietnam Red Book, 12 species in the World Red Book, and 15 species protected by Decree No. 06/2019/ND-CP.

Recognizing wildlife as an exceptionally scarce and invaluable resource, vital for maintaining ecological balance and ensuring a habitable environment for humans, the Management Board of Bac Huong Hoa Nature Reserve collaborates closely with the Vietnam Forestry University and the University of Agriculture and Forestry - Hue University. They engage in regular exchanges, coordination, and the implementation of six research projects focused on animal conservation.

These projects include surveys and monitoring of the Gaur population, investigations of fish and amphibian fauna, studies on forest insect fauna, monitoring of endangered and rare bird and animal species, as well as surveys to evaluate the distribution and status of siki gibbons.

Spanning an extensive area of over 37,666 hectares, Dakrong Nature Reserve is situated along the administrative boundaries of seven communes: Trieu Nguyen, Ba Long, Dakrong, Ta Long, Huc Nghi, Ba Nang, and A Bung in Dakrong District. It is approximately 70 kilometers southwest of Dong Ha, the city center. This reserve showcases a remarkably diverse and abundant biological system, representing a prime example of the tropical forest ecosystem found in the lowlands of North Truong Son, Vietnam.

Dakrong Nature Reserve houses a variety of terrestrial vertebrate species, including 91 mammal species from 28 families and 10 orders, 193 bird species from 43 families and 15 orders, 32 reptile species from 13 families and 2 orders, and 17 amphibian species from 5 families and 1 order. Out of a total of 333 terrestrial vertebrate species recorded, 56 species are listed in the Vietnam Red Book, and 40 species are listed in the World Red Book.

Dakrong Nature Reserve, recognized by Birdlife International as an endemic bird area within the low mountainous terrain of Vietnam“s Central region, is part of one of the country”s three regions known for endemic bird species.

Quang Tri Forest – Sanctuary for endangered and unique animal species

Installing camera traps in Bac Huong Hoa Nature Reserve. Photo: T.T

Applying technologies to natural conservation

Truong Quang Trung, the Director of Dakrong Nature Reserve Management Board, highlighted that the reserve currently comprises two units dedicated to the management, protection, and conservation of biodiversity. The Management Board of Dakrong Nature Reserve assumes responsibility for the management, protection, and sustainable development of special-use forests. Their tasks involve preserving and promoting unique natural values, standard ecosystem models, biodiversity, genetic resources, historical relics, cultural heritage, and landscapes.

Furthermore, the board engages in scientific research, international cooperation, organism rescue and development, provision of forest environmental services, and ecological development in accordance with the law and within their assigned management scope. The Forest Protection Department of Dakrong Nature Reserve plays a crucial role in advising and organizing forest protection activities, ensuring compliance with forestry laws.

In 2022, in collaboration with the Project on Sustainable Forest Management and Biodiversity Conservation (VFBC), the Dakrong Nature Reserve Management Board plans to implement a camera trap system across the reserve. This system will consist of a systematic grid layout, with 132 cameras installed at 66 stations spaced 2.5 kilometers apart. Each station will have two camera traps, positioned at least 20 meters away from each other, allowing for data collection on forest animals within the reserve.

Concurrently, a comprehensive threat survey was conducted within a radius of 200 meters around the camera trap stations.

“Through the data obtained from camera traps and threat surveys, we gain insights into the distribution, population status, and wildlife-related threats. This enables us to propose protective measures and conservation plans. Additionally, the camera trap data allows us to identify additional species to include in the reserve”s animal list," said Trung.

In Bac Huong Hoa Nature Reserve, effective wildlife monitoring and protection efforts have been established through collaboration with the Vietnam National University of Forestry and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) - World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF). A survey was conducted to strategically deploy 77 camera traps throughout the entire reserve. These camera traps possess automatic image capture and video recording functions, designed to operate in extreme temperature conditions.

The program utilized 40 camera traps placed across various areas and locations, primarily focusing on four main habitat types: rich evergreen mountain forests, medium evergreen mountain forests, poor evergreen mountain forests, and restored mountain evergreen land. In 2021, the camera traps were positioned in sub-zones 611, 612, 613, and 652A. For the year 2022, the 40 camera traps will be relocated to sub-zones 643A, 645, 652, 657, 666, 667A, 667B, and 670A.

Ha Van Hoan, the Director of Bac Huong Hoa Nature Reserve Management Board, shared the preliminary findings, stating, “The initial results reveal images of 18 mammal species and 14 bird species, all of which are classified as endangered, precious, and rare (11 species are listed in the IUCN 2019 Red List and 18 species are listed in the 2007 Red Book of Vietnam). Moreover, two new species have been recorded in Bac Huong Hoa Nature Reserve, namely the Rufous-cheeked Laughingthrush and the Rufous-throated Partridge.”

Ngoc Mai - Tran Tuyen

Ngoc Mai - Tran Tuyen

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