Landscape at the U Minh Thuong National Park (Photo: WWF Vietnam)

Kien Giang (VNA) – The U Minh Thuong National Park in the Mekong Delta province of Kien Giang was recognised as Vietnam’s 8th Ramsar site at a ceremony held on February 22.

The park is the 2,228th Ramsar site in the world.

The recognition shows Vietnam’s commitment to preserving the significant bio-diversity values of a special wetland, which comprises a cajuput forest one peat land and a wide range of species.

Becoming an international Ramsar site, the park will have opportunities to popularise its image to the public and become an attractive destination for both domestic and foreign tourists.

The recognition also gives a chance for the country to call for international support to research, conserve and sustain the wetland eco-system amid critical challenges from climate change.

The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) Vietnam will work with management agencies at all levels to look for financial and technical support to protect bio-diversity, recover peat bogs and develop eco-tourism in the park, while encouraging efficient use of the wetland’s resources, said Country Director of WWF Vietnam Van Ngoc Thinh.

Covering 21,800 hectares, the U Minh Thuong National Park is home to 243 species of plants, 32 species of mammals, 186 species of birds, 50 species of reptiles, 60 species of fish and 203 species of insects. The park’s peat bog forest plays a crucial role in the prevention of acidification of topsoil and surface water. It also serves as a spawning and nursery area for fish and shellfish, while filtering surface water.

The park served as a revolutionary base during the war. Three years ago, it became the first peat wetland to be recognised as an ASEAN Heritage Park.

Ramsar, or the Convention of Wetlands, is an intergovernmental treaty that provides a framework for conservation and wise use of wetlands and their resources. It was adopted in the Iranian city of Ramsar in 1971 and came into force in 1975.-VNA