Kien Giang

©Wikimedia Commons/Nguyen Thanh Quang
Kien Giang Biosphere Reserve

The Kien Giang Biosphere Reserve is located on the southwestern tip of Viet Nam. It comprises 105 islands the biggest of which is Phu Quoc Island. The reserve has a maritime equatorial and monsoon climate. In shallow waters there is a high abundance of coral reefs. The island beaches were formerly nesting sites of Hawksbill (Eretchmochelis imbricate) and Green turtles (Chelonia mydas) but no nesting has taken place in recent years.

The waters around the islands are considered some of the best fishing grounds in the southwestern region of Viet Nam of which the most important resources are squid and cuttlefish.

Designation date: 2006
Administrative authorities: Kien Giang Biosphere Reserve
Surface area (terrestrial and marine): 1,188,105 ha
Core area(s): 25,899 ha (terrestrial: 12,037 ha; marine: 13,862 ha)
Buffer zone(s): 172,578 ha (terrestrial: 116,791 ha; marine: 55,787 ha)
Transition area(s): 978,591 ha (terrestrial: 189,439 ha; marine: 789,152 ha)

09°23’53”N – 10°31’49”N
Longitude: 103°44’24”E – 105°19’51”E
Midpoint: 09°57’54”N – 104°32’03”E

Ecological Characteristics

©Wikimedia Commons/Julien Willem
Seacow or Dugong (Dugong dugon)

The biosphere reserve has three core zones overlapping with three National Parks and one nature reserve. These contain parts of the Mekong River basin, Phu Quoc Island and several protected marine areas, some of which host coral reefs.

The reserve contains various tropical forest ecosystems including primary and secondary forests with dominant Dipterocarpaceae families, Limestone and Karst forests with dominant species of Trestonia mergvensis and Dacrydium pierrei, seasonally flooded forest (Melaleuca cajuputi), mangrove ecosystems (Rhizophora, Aegiceras, Bruguiera and Avicennia genuses, especially Lumnitzera rosea), coastal mudflats and lakes, coral reef and seagrass ecosystems.

There are 89 hard coral species, 19 soft corals, 125 coral reef fishes, 132 mollusks, 32 echinoderms and 62 seaweed species.

The seagrass beds are important for foraging marine turtles, a population of globally threatened dugong (Dugong dugon), the scaly clam (Tridacna squamosal), Trochus Shell (Trochus nilotichu) and the critically endangered hawksbill turtle (Eretmochelys imbricate) and green turtle (Chelonia mydas).

Socio-Economic Characteristics

©Wikimedia Commons/Tho nau
Mac Cuu tomb

Kien Giang is recognized as an area of very rich marine resources which play an important role in the livelihoods of local people and the provincial and district economy. Fishery production ranks top among all provinces in Viet Nam. Agriculture is another key economic activity, followed by tourism, which has increased strongly in recent years.

The three main ethnic groups in the region are the Kinh, Kh’me and Hoa. The area is home to several famous historical monuments, including the temple of the hero Nguyen Trung Truc and Mac Cuu tomb.

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