Xuan Thuy National Park is located in Nam Dinh, in Red River Delta of Vietnam. This was the first Ramsar site in Vietnam proposed by Prime Minister (Anon. 1993), known for the mangrove forest, spacious sand dunes, and marshes for aquaculture. The regional habitats are diverse and pristine that ensures biodiversity as well as rich characteristics of avifauna. Besides ecotourism, Xuan Thuy has great potentials for environmental education and training the security staff regarding the conservation of the submerged areas.
Scientific Information about Xuan Thuy National Park
- Xuan Thuy is located in Giao Thuy District, Nam Dinh Province. It belongs to the coastal areas of Red River Delta, in the estuary where the Red River flows into the ocean (also called Ba Lat estuary). Its map coordinate is 20o11′ – 20o16’N, 106o29′ – 106o37’E
- The major topography of the national park includes the sandbanks and the intertidal mudflats. “Con Ngan” is the largest sandbank in the area, which is covered by the mangrove forest and marshes for aquaculture. The southern border of the Site is Vop estuary. Within the reserved area, the highest elevation is 3m while the deepest marine zone is 6m.
- It has an area of 7.100 hectares.
- On 06 August 1988, according to Document No. 1302/KG of Chairman of the Council of Ministers, the Xuan Thuy submerged area was proposed to be the first Ramsar site in Vietnam (Anon. 1993).
- On 20 September 1988, the Convention of Wetlands (Ramsar Convention) officially recognized Xuan Thuy as a Ramsar site with an area of 12.000 hectares (Ramsar 2000).
- On 20 January 1989, Vietnam became a member of the Ramsar Convention (Anon. 1993).
- On 05 September 1994, Xuan Thuy Wetland Nature Reserve was established in pursuant to Decision No. 4893/KGVX of the Prime Minister, with an area of 7.100 hectares.
- In 1995, the Forest Inventory and Planning Institute modified the investment project and proposed the area of the reserve as 7.680 hectares. The project was approved by MARD according to Decision No. 26/KH-LN dated 19 January 1995. Based on the approved project, the management board was established on 01 October 1995.
- On 02 January 2003, the Nature Reserve was upgraded to Xuan Thuy National Park in pursuant to Decision No. 01/TTg of the Prime Minister. The Park was managed by Nam Dinh Provincial People’s Committee.
- On 20 October 2003, the new investment plan for this National Park was approved according to Decision No. 2669/QD-UB. The management board included 06 members of staff and 01 headquarter.
- Xuan Thuy National Park Nam Dinh was addressed in the list of Special-use forest in Vietnam to be established in 2018 with an area of 7.100 hectares, prepared by FPD of MARD (FPD 2003). This article has not been approved by the government.
Biodiversity and Conservation Topics in Xuan Thuy National Park Nam Dinh
Xuan Thuy National Park has 14 types of habitats, including the natural and the artificial ones (Pedersen and Nguyen Huy Thang 1996). The habitats with the highest biodiversity are the less-influenced mangrove forest and “aggradation bank”. The dominant species of the plantation is Kandelia candel. Also, there find the Sonneratia caseolaris, Aegiceras corniculatum, and Acanthus ilicifolius that are scattered in the area. The primitive mangrove forest covers some marshes for aquaculture. Particularly in “Con Lu”, there is a large number of Cassuarina equisetifolia which creates habitats for the migratory birds.
With the relatively pristine habitats and biodiversity, Xuan Thuy National Park Vietnam is an important stopover and wintering shelter for the migratory water birds. Through surveys made in 1988 (Scott et al. 1989) and in 1994 (Pedersen et al. 1996), there observed more than 20.000 water birds in the area. In the 1996 spring, there were around 33.000 sea birds flying past the national park. What’s more, the Site often recorded 08 species of birds which were globally endangered: Platalea minor, Egretta eulophotes, Tringa guttifer, Larus saudersi, Pelecanus philippensis, Calidris pygmeus, Mycteria leucocephala, and Limnodromus semipalmatus (Tordoff 2002). Among these, the bird community of black-faced spoonbill in Xuan Thuy was most remarkable. With the international importance in protecting bird species, Xuan Thuy was recognized as a significant bird sanctuary in Vietnam.
Though being known as the unique Ramsar site in Vietnam, Xuan Thuy receives insufficient investment budgets which drive to the lack of equipment, limited staff training, and low-quality infrastructure. Due to these difficulties, the conservation of the biodiversity doesn’t bring effective results. Along with that, the ill-planned forest plantation aiming to reform soil and protect coastal zones threatens the natural habitat and food resources of the migratory birds. And, the increase of the artificial marshes for aquaculture in an unstable way disturbs the birds. The population density in the buffer zone of Xuan Thuy is 575 people/km2 which puts stress on the natural resources.
In connection with the conservation topics, it needs to solve three issues: (1) training programs for the staff and personnel; (2) effective management plans to compromise the values of economy, society, biodiversity, and coastal protection, and to improve the stable use of land; (3) solutions to solve financial issues of the Park and limit the plantation of mangrove forest to replace the natural mudflats which are important habitats for the threatened birds.
Tourism in Xuan Thuy National Park in Nam Dinh
You might know about Nam Dinh for many historical and cultural tourist attractions, but perhaps, tours to Xuan Thuy National Park still sound new. Around 160km from Hanoi, Xuan Thuy National Park in Nam Dinh welcomes visitors and encourages them to get immersed into fresh Nature. This Site is considered as a “station for the internationally migratory birds,” making sure it is a fantastic ecotourism site.
The Park offers lots of interesting experiences in a wild environment to meet the birds, mangrove forest, mudflats, etc. One interesting activity is that you can try the 1-hour boat trip on the river around the Park. The best time for this boat trip is late afternoon when you can view the beautiful sunset and join the wild atmospheric ambiance. You can also enjoy a home-made meal with the locals in the thatch-roof stilted houses. Contact us Vietnam Tour Operator to start a new trip!