Characteristics of Karst Ecosystems of Vietnam and Their Vulnerability to Human Impact
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Karst in Vietnam covers an area of about 60,000 km2, i.e. 18 % of the surface of the country. The country has an annual average temperature of 24°C, an annual average rainfall of 2300 mm and a relative humidity of about 90%. Karst in Vietnam is typified by peak cluster‐depression landscapes ranging in elevation from 200 to over 2000 m. Tower and coastal karst landscapes also exit. Because of naturally favourable conditions, karst ecosystems are diverse and very rich. Higher plants (cormophytes) are abundant. They are represented by approximately 2000 species, 908 genera, 224 families, 86 orders and 7 phyla. They form a thick vegetation cover of evergreen tropical rainforest. Knowledge about lower plants is limited. The fauna is rich and diverse. Phyla such as Protozoa, Vermes, Mollusca and Arthropoda are yet ill known. Preliminary results show that the phylum Chordata is represented by 541 species from 80 families, 40 orders and 5 classes. There exist many precious and rare mammals, in particular some endemic species such as Trachypithecus poliocephalus, T. delacouri, Rhinopithecus avanculus, Rhinolophus rouxi, Seotoma dineties and Silurus cuephuongensis. The class Insecta has about 2000 species. The fast population growth, particularly in the mountainous areas of the country, triggers an increasing demand for land and therefore threatens the ecosystem. To obtain land for farming, people have cut, burned and destroyed natural forest cover; resulting in occurrence of hazards such as soil‐loss, water‐loss, flash floods, mud‐rock flows, rock‐falls, severe drought, water logging and changes of karstic aquifers etc. Poaching precious animals and illegal logging are increasing. In contrast to other natural systems, karst ecosystems cannot be reestablished once damaged. Living karst landscapes will become rocky desert ones without life. Conservation of karstic environmental systems in general and karstic ecosystems in particular should not be the sole vocation of scientists but also a duty and responsibility of authorit
Karst, Ecosystem, Vietnam
Acta Geologica, Vol. 75, no. 3 (2001).
TUYET, Do, "Characteristics of Karst Ecosystems of Vietnam and Their Vulnerability to Human Impact" (2001). KIP Articles. 908.