Cat Ba Island Heritage Area includes Cat Ba Biosphere Reserve, Cat Ba National Park and Long Chau Archipelago, Marine Protected Area of Cat Hai District, Hai Phong City with a total area of 33,670 hectares, including 388 limestone islands, the largest is Cat Ba island with an area of 144 km.
Advantages of a biosphere reserve
Currently, the Government of Vietnam is proposing UNESCO to recognize the Cat Ba Island Heritage Area as a World Natural Heritage Site as meeting the following criteria of the UNESCO World Heritage Committee:
Criteria ix: “to be outstanding examples representing significant on-going ecological and biological processes in the evolution and development of terrestrial, fresh water, coastal and marine ecosystems and communities of plants and animals;”
The fact is that the Cat Ba Island Heritage Area is an outstanding example of the typical tropical, sub-tropical island ecosystems of Asia with seven successive ecosystems developing in the archipelago from over 300 m high limestone cliffs to the edge of the island. Those includes the primary tropical rainforest ecosystem on Vietnam’s largest limestone island and typical of the world; the cave ecosystem representing karst terrain at sea; the largest and most intact mangrove ecosystem in Vietnam; the ecosystem of the intertidal area with unique and rare species; the most developed coral reef ecosystem in the Gulf of Tonkin; the relatively flat seafloor ecosystem covered by clear blue seawater and the salt lake ecosystem with 26 lakes expressing the evolutionary history of the seawater only in Cat Ba – Halong and some countries in the world.
Ecological and biological processes have been going on for 18,000 years, with the formation and development of animal and plant communities on the islands and in the sea, the formation of new species represented by 21 endemic flora and fauna species for the area.
Criterion x: “to contain the most important and significant natural habitats for in-situ conservation of biological diversity, including those containing threatened species of outstanding universal value from the point of view of science or conservation.”
The Cat Ba archipelago is a center of high biodiversity with 3,860 terrestrial and marine species and plants, including 130 rare species in the Red Book and 76 species in the IUCN Red List.
Of the 76 species listed in the IUCN Red List, 1 species of primate, 2 species of marine turtle and 6 species of critically endangered species including white-headed langur (Trachypithecus poliocephalus), Dermochelys coriacea, Eretmochelys imbricate, Aquilaria crassna, Mun (Diospyros mun), Vatica diospyroides, Parashorea chinensis, Hopea chinensis and Disterocarpus dyeri. The white-headed langur (Trachypithecus poliocephalus) is an endemic species with only 63 individuals distributed in Cat Ba, no longer found in any other part of the world. Therefore, IUCN has put the white-headed langur on the list of rare and precious species of global importance that are highly endangered and need urgent protection and Vietnam honors the white-headed langur as a symbol of the Cat Ba Archipelago.
Meanwhile, Cat Ba Island Heritage meets both the ix and x criteria, with high biodiversity values, globally prominent with many endemic species, especially white-headed langurs.
The islands of Cat Ba are related to the sea in both the ix and x categories, so the UNESCO World Heritage Committee has a higher priority.
The future of a smart eco-tourism center
Traffic is always a top priority for real estate investment choices of investors. The first is the redevelopment of the transport system in Cat Hai Island – the satellite for Cat Ba and intra-island transport in the ecological direction. In the area, unique thematic zones are planned, designed to bring the ecotourism products to Cat Ba Island. The public bathing beaches are for local residents and visitors to immerse themselves in nature. Cat Ba villas with modern facilities and amenities, world class parks will help life more comfortable.
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