Thua Thien-Hue to build bird sanctuary in O Lau estuary area hinh anh 1Thua Thien-Hue province will build a bird sanctuary in O Lau estuary area. (Photo: VNA/VN)

Thua Thien-Hue (VNA) - The central province of Thua Thien-Hue's plan to build a bird sanctuary in O Lau estuary area has been met with a groundswell of local support.

The new bird sanctuary is planned to cover more than 157ha in two communes of Quang Thai (Quang Dien district) and Dien Hoa commune (Phong Dien district).

Cajuput and coconut trees planted since 2017 by the provincial Forest Protection Sub-department, covering nearly 20 hectares, are growing well, creating good conditions for birds in the area.

Vice Chairman of the Quang Thai communal People's Committee Pham Cong Phuoc said 60ha of the planned bird sanctuary is managed by communal authorities so land acquisition will be easy and fast.

However, Nguyen Dai Anh Tuan, Deputy Director of the provincial Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, also head of the provincial Forest Protection Sub-department, said the restoration and construction of the bird sanctuary would require deep scientific knowledge.

Because birds are very sensitive species, if the ecosystem is not suitable they will not return, he said.

Currently, the department is working with a consultant agency to evaluate the impacts when the bird sanctuary is built.

According to Tuan, Cua Lac irrigation dam supplies water to a large area of Thua Thien-Hue province and part of Quang Tri province but it prevents natural ebbs and flows in the O Lau estuary area, keeping the natural marshes flooded and stopping trees from growing well, which affects food sources of some bird species.

Additionally, the Khe Moi reservoir construction project in the upstream O Lau River will also impact the bird sanctuary.

The selection of suitable trees to plant in the wetlands and changing the production and daily life activities of local people also need to be considered thoroughly.

If we restore about 70 percent of the original nature in the O Lau estuary area as before, surely the birds will return, Tuan said, adding that in the long term, the area will also be important for ecotourism development, contributing to the livelihoods of local people.

O Lau estuary area is a flooded area in the Tam Giang-Cau Hai lagoon system, the largest lagoon system in Southeast Asia.

The area has many floating dunes, creeks and rich ecosystems, and used to be home to many native birds and rare migratory birds.

However, the prolonged process of improving the land for production has altered the natural environment, seriously reducing the number of birds.

According to Thua Thien-Hue province's Forest Protection Sub-department, a survey in 1998 revealed that at that time there were about 73 species of birds in the O Lau estuary, among total 103 species of birds in the whole Tam Giang-Cau Hai lagoon area.

However, a survey conducted from late 2016 to the middle of 2017 showed there were only 31 species of bird in the O Lau area./.