Biosphere reserves, especially buffer zones surrounding the reserves, are “living museums” and “green corridors” which can serve scientific research in an effective way.
SIDA, the international development agency of the Swedish government has been funding a programme on improving resistance and resilience to climate change.
“Every biosphere reserve is a laboratory large enough for scientists to conduct research about biodiversity to find out nature’s secrets,” said Dr. Nguyen Hoang Tri, chair and secretary general of Vietnam’s MAB National Committee.
Many discoveries found recently by Vietnamese scientists in biosphere reserves have caught the attention of the international science community.
Ducampopinus Krempfii, a plant species living during the dinosaur era which was thought to be extinct, for example, has been found at Bidoup Nui Ba National Park, which is part of Langbiang Biosphere Reserve, 1,600 meters above sea level.
A Japanese researcher, who was with a group of scientists visiting the national park, burst into tears when seeing the plant species in the wild, and not at a museum.
With the support of many organizations, the project to preserve Ducampopinus Krempfii has kicked off and young trees have been planted on a trial basis in the forest.
Trigonobalanus verticillata Forman, Pinus dalatensis, Taxaceae, Magnolia bidoupensis, Rhacophoridae and Leptobrachium leucops have also been found at Bidoup Nui Ba park.
Le Van Huong, director of Bidoup Nui Ba National Park, said 13 new species have been discovered in the park with the support and cooperation of international scientists.
In 2014 alone, five species were found in the park, including Camellia inusitata and Rhacophoridae which was named on the IUCN’s red list.
Serving as “green corridors”, the biosphere reserves also help minimize the influence of extreme weather phenomena, including sea water rise, salinity intrusion and desertification. The reserve authorities have also joined forces with national campaigns to adapt to climate change.
The Kien Giang Biosphere Reserve’s Management Board, for example, with the German GTZ and Australian AusAID, is implementing a component project on protecting the coastal areas and mangrove forests in the Mekong River Delta.
Many projects have also been implemented in the north, where the Red River Delta Biosphere Reserve plays a very important role. They include one on improving resistance and resilience to climate change funded by Swedish SIDA, and a project on helping people adapt to climate change in the forest and deltas of Vietnam, funded by USAid.
Unlike other countries, where biosphere reserves are under the management of either the ministry of natural resources and environment or the ministry of agriculture, in Vietnam biosphere reserve management has been decentralized and is under the control of local authorities.