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Con Dao National Park

Alternative site name(s)
Con Son, Poulo Condore
Ba Ria-Vung Tau
19,998 ha
8o37' – 8o48'N, 106o32' – 106o45'E
From Vung Tau City
Trekking, Bird watching, Snorkeling, Scuba diving and watching nesting turtles.
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Topography and hydrology

Con Dao National Park is centred on an archipelago of 14 islands, the largest of which is Con Son. The topography of Con Son island is mountainous, and dominated by a granite ridge, which runs from south-west to north-east, sheltering the bays on both sides of the island from strong winds. The highest points on the island are the summits of Mount Thanh Gia and Mount Chua, at 577 and 515 m respectively. The smaller islands reach a maximum elevation of 200 m.

There are no permanent watercourses on any of the islands of the Con Dao archipelago, only seasonal streams. In the rainy season, water is plentiful but, in the dry season, there is a serious lack of water. Three reservoirs collect water during the rainy season to supply the local population during the dry season.

The Con Dao archipelago is located on the boundary between two sea currents: a warm one from the south, and a cold one from the north.

Biodiversity values

Con Son island and many of the other islands of the archipelago are extensively forested. According to the revised investment plan, the national park supports 4,905 ha of forest, equivalent to 81% of the total terrestrial area. To date, 882 vascular plant species have been recorded at the national park, including 91 species of medicinal plant. One outstanding feature of Con Dao's flora is the 44 plant species that were discovered for the first time on the islands. A number of these species are named after the site, including Dipterocarpus condorensis, Ilex condorensis, Pavetta condorensis and Psychotria condorensis.

To date, 24 species of mammal, 69 species of bird and 42 species of reptile and amphibian have been recorded at the national park. Although the number of species is relatively low, the density of individual species is often high, and there are a number of endemic taxa, including an endemic subspecies of Black Giant Squirrel, Ratufa bicolor condorensis. The bird fauna of Con Dao National Park is not well studied. However, a number of bird species recorded at Con Dao are not known from any other site in Vietnam, including Nicobar Pigeon Caloenas nicobarica, Red-billed Tropicbird Phaethon aethereus, Pied Imperial Pigeon Ducula bicolor and Masked Booby Sula dactylatra.

The marine ecosystems at the national park include mangroves, coral reefs and seagrass beds. Mangroves cover a total of 15 ha, and are distributed around Ba island and along the west coast of Bay Canh island, and along the north and south coasts of Con Son island. The coral reefs at Con Dao are among the most pristine in Vietnam, and are distributed in shallow waters around the islands, covering a total area of around 1,000 ha. The coral reefs support high levels of biodiversity, including over 270 coral species. Surveys conducted by Nha Trang Institute of Oceanography have shown the presence of 1,323 species of marine fauna and flora, including 44 species listed in the Red Data Book of Vietnam. At 153 species, the recorded mollusc diversity of Con Dao is the highest of any of Vietnam's offshore islands. The national park supports around 200 ha of seagrass beds, which support a small population of the globally threatened marine mammal, Dugong, numbering around 12 individuals.

Con Dao National Park contains a number of nesting beaches for Green Turtle Chelonia mydas and Hawksbill Turtle Eretmochelys imbricata, two globally threatened marine turtles. More than 250 females visit a total of 14 nesting sites annually, forming over 1,000 nests. Nearly 80% of the nesting takes place between June and September. Furthermore, a number of cetaceans have been recorded in the marine component of Con Dao National Park.

Other documented values

The Con Dao archipelago has historical significance as the site of several prisons used by the French colonial regime and South Vietnamese regime. Many famous revolutionaries were imprisoned on the island prior to 1975, and the site is considered a national memorial. A 30 ha site incorporating the prisons has been formally recognised as a national heritage site.

The Con Dao archipelago has already been developed for tourism, which is now one of the most important sectors of the islands' economy. There is great potential to further develop ecotourism at the national park, in the form of hiking, birdwatching, snorkeling, diving and watching nesting turtles. Controlled and environmentally sensitive ecotourism development has the potential to raise awareness of conservation issues and generate revenue for management of the national park.
The waters off the Con Dao archipelago are an important fishery. Several marine products of high economic value, such as groupers and giant clams, occur in the area. The islands' mangroves are an important nursery area for the fishery.

Con Dao National Park

Con Dao National Park is located in Con Dao District, Ba Ria – Vung Tay Province in the South of Vietnam. It is made up of 16 big and small islands and the territorial waters around islands.

Total natural area of Con Dao National Park is about 19,990.7 ha including 5,990.7 ha of islands and 14,000 ha of water area around the islands. There are two functional subdivisions located in national forest including 4,272.7 ha strict protection subdivision and 1,718 ha ecology rehabilitation subdivision. The resources of flora and fauna in Con Dao National Park are quite abundant and diverse. Vein flora system has 1.077 species from 640 lines, 60 families and 6 different branches. Especially, there are 44 species with geographical names as “Con Dao” such as Con Son Amoora poulocondorensis, Con Son Psychotria condorensis, Con Son Dipterocarpus condorensis. Three are 160 species of animals from 64 families, 32 groups, 4 classes including 29 species of mammals, 85 species of birds, 38 species of reptiles and 8 species of amphibians.

In Con Dao National Park, 60 ha of coastal protection casuarinas forest have been planted. 572 ha of reforestation have been assigned to 4 collective units.

At present, Con Dao National Park has been under good management, the protection capacity of forest has been promoted, especially, the store of freshwater resource for the life in island district has been maintained. With regards to fire prevention and fighting issue in Con Dao National Park, forest fire fighting force has been established with the participation of local people in coordination with military and public security force. Propaganda programs have been carried out for local people and also introduced in schools with the aim of improving the consciousness about forest protection.

Regarding the task of reforestation and repairing the damage caused by Linda hurricane 1997, the forest cover has increased from 81.7% after the hurricane up to 86.8% in 2005. According to casuarinas afforestation for coastal protection forest, the sapling plants have grown well and timely covered the space caused by the hurricane. The race plants have grown rapidly, especially the seed reproduction plants such as coastal casuarinas plants which are somehow about 6-7m high.

Con Dao National Park has implemented 14 coordination researches under 5 million ha afforestation Project which mainly concentrate on rehabilitation of precious and rare animals and plants such as: (1) Research on the method for rehabilitating Chukrasia tabularis on the areas affected by the Lida hurricane in 1997, (2) Caring and monitoring the growth of segment fruit plants in Hon Cau. (3) Survey on the quantity and varieties of medicinal herbs, (4) Making survey and moving Cycas (thiên tu?), (5) Survey on the distribution of Manikara hexandra (Gang Néo). (6) Survey on bird species in Con Dao, (7) Survey on Ratufa bicolor condorensis (Sóc Ðen) in Con Dao, (8) Survey on Nicoba pigeon, (9) The program on enticement and experimental breeding of Maccaca fascicularis (Kh? duôi dài) (1O) Experimental breeding of Gecko, (1 1) Experimental breeding of Callosciunis filaysoni (Sóc Mun) (12) Breeding red-faced monkey (13) Planting and taking care of some species of orchids, (14) Experimentally raising the breeds of some medicinary herbs species. The themes have made a great contribution to the preservation of natural resources especially the precious and rare species, and environment protection.

The experimental research program on rehabilitating Chukrasia tabularis (Lát hoa Côn Ð?o) carried out by Southern Sub-Institute for Forest Planning in co-ordination with Con Dao National Park by applying natural regeneration promotion method shows good result. From this program, it is shown that Chukrasia tabularis A.Juss (Lát Hoa) has grown very well. Especially, according to the result of replanting method, the ratio of alive plants reaches 99% and they grow well. The ecological afforestation program in So Ray area also has very good result. Total planting forest area in this So Ray is 20ha with 17 species of endemic, precious and rare plants and other fruit plants. Total number of plants is 8.000 ones. The objective of this program is to preserve gene resources of precious and rare plants in Con Dao. Also, fruit plants will create food source for animal species.

The activities of forest protection and development in 2006 - 2010.

In the period of 2006 - 2010, the objective of management task over forest protection in Con Dao National Park is to invest in the following activities: to define and set up landmarks for the national park; to invest in upgrading protection station system and protection patrol ways; to further invest in forest fire prevention and fighting equipments. Beside, propaganda task will also be concentrated on.

With regards to ecological rehabilitation: assignment for protection management will be carried out for 1.137 ha as well as localization for rehabilitation in combination with supplementary afforestation in poor area in ecological rehabilitation sub-division which is 748 ha.

The scientific research programs include: following up, monitoring the forest rehabilitation process; making research on rehabilitation of precious and rare plants species; making survey on the members and building sample insect class; proposing the 5 Million Ha Afforestation Project in order to support Con Dao National Park in building 3- region North, Central, South orchard in Hang Duong Cemetery for collecting wooden plant species originated from natural forests in three regions. This will attach the value of forest resources with Con Dao’s historical significance. This works will have great significance in preserving and bringing into play the cultural and historical value of Con Dao as well as making contribution in protecting biodiversity and scientific research.

Con Dao is one of the National Parks in Vietnam. Forest resources in Con Dao National Park are not only diverse in quantity, species but also have special characteristics of island area. The project on forest protection and development in Con Dao National Park in the period 2006-2010 under the 5 million ha afforestation project confirm again the significance of biological resources in the forest as well as improve the forest’s function in protecting, preserving environment. This also makes contribution to preserving gene resources of precious and rare fauna and flora, especially the species originated from Con Dao.



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