Tram Chim National Park in southern Dong Thap Province has been hailed for its wetland conservation in the lower part of the Cuu Long (Mekong) River.
The park was selected following a study run by Oxfam and the Centre for Social Research and Development based in Thua Thien – Hue Province.
Six other sites in the lowland areas of the giant river were also applauded for their nature conservation efforts, including Tonle Sap and Beug Yeak Loam Lake in Cambodia, Sangthong District and Phongsaly Province in Laos, and Bung Binh Thien Lake in Viet Nam.
Covering 7,313 hectares of cajeput forest, wet grasslands and canals, the park has succeeded in developing a mechanism for locals in the buffer zone to share the benefits from the land.
According to Nguyen Hoang Minh Hai, one of the park managers, locals were allowed to fish in the park from August to December, and use dead cajuput trees for fuel.
“We work with selected families stating clearly their rights and responsibilities when they are inside the park. People that violate regulations are prohibited from entry,” Hai said.
“This has worked well since 2006 and helped to protect the bird communities living in the park.
The park is home to 147 bird species, of which 13 are listed as rare and precious birds by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.
Tram Chim is also home to 100 vertebrates and 40 species of fish, and is a wetland site listed under the Ramsar Convention.
Experts said that preserving these wetland and water sites was important given the negative impacts of hydropower dams further up the Mekong River..
“The market economy and climate change have had a negative impact on our natural resources, so good practices like this should be honoured,” said Lam Thi Thu Suu, director of the Centre for Social Research and Development.
When people gained an insight into nature conservation, the environmental situation would change, she said.