Bu Gia Map National Park: Leading Light in Forest Management and Biodiversity Conservation

9:56:42 AM | 7/11/2023

Since its establishment more than 20 years ago (in 2002), all the staff, from leadership to the rank and file, of Bu Gia Map National Park have always united and endeavored to build and develop it into a leading light in forest management, protection and development, biodiversity conservation and wildlife rescue.

Dak Mai Waterfall

Efforts to outdo all tasks

Director Vuong Duc Hoa said: At first, Bu Gia Map National Park had only 30 employees and outdated facilities, equipment and vehicles. Local people who were mainly indigenous and migrant from the north led a hard life. They largely relied on forest resources and forest protection was very weak and difficult at that time. The national park quickly consolidated its organizational apparatus and overcame all difficulties to work with all relevant agencies and local authorities to synchronously execute their assigned tasks.

Covering 25,598.18 ha, Bu Gia Map National Park is the only continuous forest area with large plant and animal reserves in Binh Phuoc province. This place preserves ecological standard samples and rare, valuable genetic resources of tropical fauna and flora, indigenous for the transition zone between the Central Highlands and the Southeast and unfound in other national parks. With that importance, the Management Board of Bu Gia Map National Park pays special attention to strengthening education and communications to raise awareness about nature conservation and environment protection for the local resident community. In this regard, Director Hoa said: “To date, the national park is proud and confident to have raised the perception and supported communities in the buffer zone to build, protect and develop forests and affirm its biodiversity values. Specifically, in 2003, it had a contractual area of 2,600 ha and engaged only two participating units. At present, its contracted area is up to 25,487 ha, with 15 contracted units. Nearly 600 households are contracted and paid an average income of VND2-2.5 million a month each. This is a significant income for contractual households to grow their family economy and cover their living expenses. As a result, it has helped reduce forest encroachment and boost the awareness of local communities in joining hands in forest protection and biodiversity conservation.

To raise the public awareness of forest protection, in addition to building and installing sign boards, slogans, panels and posters, the Management Board has launched various forms of communication and information such as meetings, film screenings, mobile communication, direct visits to every household, painting contests, question and answer sessions. The focus of communication events is to introduce important roles and values of the forest to people, guide them to figure out endangered and rare species of flora and fauna in the Red Book of Vietnam and the world, implement legal regulations on forest management and protection, and call on people to join hands in forest protection. The diversification of communication forms has inspired and engaged many people.

Powered by scientific and technological development, the Management Board has also applied science - technology and information technology to forest protection and biodiversity conservation. Not only bringing Technology 4.0 into forest fire management, protection, prevention and control, the agency also pays attention to scientific research. Up to now, five provincial projects have been implemented. The rescue, conservation and development of biological species has been a focus, as thousands of wild animals have been rescued, cared for and released into nature. After 20 years of operation, not only fulfilling its responsibility in forest biodiversity conservation and development, Bu Gia Map National Park has also completed an effective human resource structure. Currently, the forest ranger force of Bu Gia Map National Park is 54-men strong, including 30 full-time employees and 24 contract workers. They are located to work at the Forest Protection Office, a mobile ranger and forest fire team, 11 ranger stations and seven forest protection posts. Additionally, nearly 600 households in the buffer zone have entered into forest protection contracts at 12 guard posts.

In recognition of the effort made by all the staff since its inception, Bu Gia Map National Park has been awarded many certificates of merit by the Prime Minister, central authorities and Binh Phuoc province. In particular, it was awarded the Third-class Labor Order by the President of Vietnam. On the occasion of the 20th founding anniversary, Bu Gia Map National Park had 39 ancient trees recognized as Vietnam Heritage Trees by the Vietnam Association for Conservation of Nature and Environment (VACNE). This was a worthy reward for the ongoing effort of all the staff since its inception who did not hesitate any hardship and struggle to successfully complete all assigned tasks.

Unlimited potential

Over the years, Bu Gia Map National Park has developed many types of forest-based eco-tourism. Forest tourism has gradually attracted many tourists to explore and experience the wild nature. This activity has created a sustainable livelihood for local ethnic minorities and, above all, contributed to environmental education that aroused the love for nature of tourists.

Notably, on March 31, 2023, the Provincial People's Committee issued Decision 1030/UBND-NC on permission for Bu Gia Map National Park to receive foreign visitors and tourists. The park now can welcome domestic and foreign tourists to visit, experience and mingle with wild nature given that they must comply with current laws. This is considered a "boost" for local tourism development.

Bu Gia Map National Park is the largest continuous primeval forest of Binh Phuoc province. This place possesses not only many natural landscape values and diverse ecosystems but also many cultural and humanistic values in buffer-zone communes. In the past time, the park has achieved certain success in eco-tourism development. With great potential, on September 16, 2022, the Binh Phuoc Provincial People's Committee issued Decision 1693/QD-UBND in recognition of the eco-tourism area of Bu Gia Map National Park as a provincial tourist area.

Director Vuong Duc Hoa said, “To make Bu Gia Map National Park an attractive destination for domestic and international tourists, the Management Board will focus more on investing in facilities and training human resources. On the other hand, it will also need support from all sectors to deal with policy difficulties and procedures to facilitate visitors to register for sightseeing.

Upholding 20-year construction and development achievements, all the staff of Bu Gia Map National Park will continue to unite and stay harder-working more dynamic and more creative in forest management, protection and development and biodiversity conservation. They will strive to overcome difficulties and soon turn Bu Gia Map National Park into one of national and international centers of biodiversity conservation and eco-tourism. By 2025, Bu Gia Map National Park will be the ASEAN Heritage Park (AHP) and the World Biosphere Reserve will take Bu Gia Map National Park as its core area. Heritage trees will increase to 500.

Source: Vietnam Business Forum