The southern province of Long An is undertaking efforts to protect its Lang Sen Wetlands Reserve, which lie in the pristine Dong Thap Muoi (Plain of Reeds) in the Mekong Delta.

Lang Sen literally means wetlands with many lotus flowers. Located in Vinh Loi and Vinh Dai communes in Tan Hung district, the reserve covers approximately 5,030ha, including a 1,500-hectare island and 50 ha of lotus plants.

According to studies conducted by the Institute of Tropical Biology from 1989-2011, the Lang Sen Wetlands Reserve is rich in biodiversity.

It is home to 156 kinds of plants, over 160 species of animals and 114 plankton species, with 20 species listed in the Red Book of Vietnam and several included in the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red List of Threatened Species.

In addition, Lang Sen provides an ideal habitat for migratory and non-migratory birds, like storks, cranes, and cormorants.

However, agricultural production is reducing the area of natural wetlands, thus impacting on the populations of flora and fauna.

The rapid development of alien species such as pistia stratiotes and water hyacinth is also negatively affecting the reserve’s ecosystem.

Besides, timber exploitation, fishing and illegal hunting are pushing several animal and plant species into the brink of extinction, including pythons, grass snakes, cobras, and yellow turtles.

To protect the reserve, the provincial People’s Committee instructed the management board to restore the natural landscape and ecosystem, and promote scientific research and tourism.

The province encouraged local residents and communities to participate in conservation by providing housing and land for cultivation.

It also invested in upgrading infrastructure to support the development of ecotourism.

In the near future, the Lang Sen Wetland Reserve management board will continue its sound management of plant and animal species, improve the capacity of the reserve’s staff, and prohibit production and exploitation methods that harm the sustainability of the reserve and the integrity of the ecosystem and biodiversity.

The province also pledged to accelerate education and communication efforts in the local community, to intensify international cooperation and to use foreign assistance in effective environmental protection.-VNA