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Introduction to Vietnam

The Socialist Republic of Vietnam (331,000 km2) is situated in the South Eastern margin of the Indochinese Peninsula, spread over 16,000 km. The population of Vietnam is over 80 million, about 87 percent of which are the Viet (Kinh) people and the remaining belong to 53 other ethnic minority groups who mainly live in the mountainous areas of the country. 75 percent of the Vietnamese population live in rural areas. Vietnam is still a developing country with 29% of households living under international poverty line (2002). The annual income per capita is USD485 (2003). Thus, the highest priority of the Government is poverty reduction and social development. In recently years, the country has been highly appreciated for their success in poverty alleviation

Vietnam is rich in culture, history and biological diversity. The country has a long history that dates back about three thousand years ago and famous for its hard-working and intelligent people. However, in its contemporary history, the country has undergone several prolonged wars which have had devastating impacts on the economy as well as the environment.

Basic geophysical description

Vietnam’s varied topography and hydrology account for its rich biological diversity. Three quarters of Vietnam is hilly or mountainous. Montane areas in Vietnam fall into three distinct regions: the Hoang Lien Mountains in the north-west, a mountain region in the north-east which represents a southern extension of the South China Platform and the Truong Son or Annamite Range in central Vietnam which extends for nearly 1,200km from the north to the south along the Vietnamese border with Laos and Cambodia. Other distinct regions of the country include the vast Red River Delta in the north, the Mekong River Delta in the south and a number of small coastal plains in central Vietnam.

Environmental context

Vietnam, given its tropical location and diversified topography, is one of the global biological hotspots. However, the devastation of wars in the past and currently the pressures of population and economic development have seen the ecosystems in Vietnam heavily degraded. Main threats to biodiversity loss include conversion of forestland to agriculture, wetlands to aquaculture, poor land use planning, weak regulatory enforcement, logging, hunting and wildlife trading. In addition to that, the high population density and relatively high population growth place extra pressures on the use of forests for livelihoods.

Operational context

The origin of the protected area system in Vietnam dated back to the 1960s, however, there are still numerous gaps, and weaknesses in the natural resource and biodiversity conservation management in the country. Currently, the protected area system (or Special Used Forests) covers about 2.4 million hectares or over 7% of the country’s land area, which mainly comprises terrestrial forest sites. Wetlands habitats are considerably under-represented. There are not yet any decreed marine protected areas even though Vietnam has over 3,000 km of coastlines. Institutionally, the country is still struggling to deal with a lack of technical capacity and financial resources, a lack of integration of biodiversity conservation objectives in its overall socio-economic development plans and weak conservation regulatory enforcement.

Key government policies on biodiversity

Over the past 40 years, the Vietnamese government has increasingly recognized the need for management and protection of natural resources and biodiversity conservation in sustainable development. Their efforts are reflected in major legal/strategic documents such as the Law on Forest Protection and Development and the National Biodiversity Action Plan. Vietnam also participates in four of the five global conventions related to biodiversity and the management of protected areas and wildlife species: the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), the Convention on Wetlands (the Ramsar Convention), the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) and the World Heritage Convention (WHC). However, investment by the Vietnamese government on biodiversity conservation is limited. The donor community for biodiversity conservation is diversified in scope and origin. Funds come from a variety of organisations, unilateral and multilateral agencies and governments.


Shamrock Adventures

22 Phan Dinh Giot St., Nha Trang City, Khanh Hoa Province, Vietnam
Hotline: From abroad:(+84) 905 150 978. In VietNam: 
0905 150 978
info@shamrockadventures.vn or shamrockadventures@gmail.com








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