Also called “green lungs,” mangroves are more than just remarkable natural environments. They are essential for the Vietnamese biodiversity and the society. Also called “green lungs,” mangroves are more than just remarkable natural environments. They are essential for the Vietnamese biodiversity and the society.
The Vietnamese mangrove, with his incredible flora and wildlife, can be observed in Can Gio, only about 2h from Ho Chi Minh City. The Mangrove forest is an exceptional natural environment, which rests upon a particular ecosystem that can be found in few other Asian countries as Indonesia, Malaysia, Birmanie, India, and Philippines… Unique characteristics are the presence of swamps and countless natural canals with a mix of freshwater and saltwater. This has a surprising effect on the wildlife inhabiting it, where monkeys can be observed eating crabs under giant trees with big appearing roots. More than being just astonishing natural surroundings, mangroves also have an important economic value and help to create “green walls” to the rising sea level and tsunamis. Vietnam as one of the most concerned countries regarding the rising sea level has developed a national strategy for climate change by emphasizing on restoring and developing mangroves in the country. In 1943, Vietnam used to possess more than 400 000 ha of mangroves. However, most of it got wiped off and got reduced to 155 000 ha in 2006 because of the war.
Recognized by UNESCO as a worldwide biosphere in 2000, the Can Gio mangrove forest is considered as the “green lungs” of Saigon’s population. Acting as huge natural filters to clean the air and waste water coming from industrial zones along Dong Nai and Saigon rivers, mangroves are essential for the everyday well-being. On an experimental level, the government made a decision a few years ago to share the benefits from the development, management and long-term protection of mangroves. Thanks to this agreement, people have now the right to exploit and use these resources, grow plants and raise animals there but they have to protect and develop mangroves in return.
Ecotourism has emerged as well, improving the lives of hundreds of local inhabitants. Creating new job opportunities, families living around mangroves turned into hosts welcoming tourists from all around the world. Ecotourism is also changing the way these families view and treat the environment as they have a better understanding of it and their responsibility is to protect the forest and biodiversity. Today with such positive impacts, many park officials are working to get the required legal certification to promote the homestay businesses.