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Ba Be - Na Hang Natural Heritage Area belongs to Bac Kan and Tuyen Quang provinces. Estimate World Heritage nominated area consists of four main parts:
In 2006, the nomination for Ba Be National Park as a World Natural Heritage was submitted to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). At the 31st Session in 2007, the UNESCO World Heritage Committee adopted Decision No. 31 COM 8B.13 which stated: "Defers the examination of the nomination of Ba Be National Park, Viet Nam, to the World Heritage List to allow the State Party to consider submitting a new nomination of a larger property and with a focus on criterion (x)".
In order to ensure the integrity and value of the site, in many years, Bac Kan and Tuyen Quang provinces have cooperated closely in forest protection, management, natural and cultural resource management in the area, simultaneously enhanced the research work and planning to create links among regions within the heritage site, turned to continue the purpose of Ba Be - Na Hang Natural Heritage Area’s nomination as the World Natural Heritage.
By means of researches, it can be seen that Ba Be - Na Hang Natural Heritage Area is a typical area of primeval forest on limestone mountains with abundant and diverse fauna and flora; this area also holds many biodiversity values. In particular, rare species of plants can be referred to as Kim Tuyen orchid (Anoectochilus setaceus), Hoang Dan (Cupressus tonkinensis D. Don/Cupressus tonkinensis Silba), Kim Giao (Nageia fleuryi), Bamboo pine (Podocarpus), Pa Co pine (Pinus fenzeliana)...; animals with Tonkin Snub-nosed Monkey (Rhinopithecus avunculus), Francois’ Leaf Langur (Semnopithecus f. francoisi), White-eared Night Heron (Gorsachius magnificus), Chestnus-necklaced Partridge (A.Charltonii), Silver Pheasant (Lophura nycthemera), Grey Peacock Pheasant (Polyplectron bicalcaratum), Brown Hornbill (Anorrhinus tickelli), Phoenix, Wood Snipe (Gallinago nemoricola), Slow Loris (Nycticebus coucang), Lesser Slow Loris (Nycticebus pygmaeus), Stump-tailed Macaque (Macaca arctoides), Pig-tailed Macaque (Macaca nemestrina), Asiatic black bear (Ursus thibetanus), Sun bear (Helarctos malayanus), Banded civet (Chrotogale owstoni), Golden cat (Catopuma temminckii), Clouded Leopard (Padofelis nebulosa), Sumatran Serow (Naemohedus sumatraensis), Tam Dao Salamander (Paramesotriton deloustali), Ram xanh fish (Sinilabeo lemassoni), Anh Vu fish (Semilabeo notabilis)… Especially, the Tonkin Snub-nosed Monkey has been listed in the Red List of International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) which contains global extinction risk. This has become a high priority area for conservation of Viet Nam and the World.
Ba Be - Na Hang Natural Heritage Area with majestic mountains, numerous caves, waterfalls and landscapes, is converged by Gam River, Nang River and which is also famous for Ba Be Lake on karst mountain. It becomes a land of inspiration associated with the myths of humanity, where variety ethnic communities live together in harmony with wild nature. It has a lot of special cultures, which absolutely attracts researchers and visitors to visit and learn about heritage values. The interference of different ethnic cultures creates a fascination with indeed traditional indigenous cultures of the Tay, Nung, Dao, Mong, Pa Then ethnic minorities... In Ba Be - Na Hang Natural Heritage Area, it can be found many magnificent natural caves with high aestheticism in which many caves still exist the mark of human development history over 10,000 years (Tham Thinh cave and Puong cave, Tien cave - Ba Be district, Phia Vai cave - Lam Binh district, Phia Muon cave - Na Hang district).
It is planned that the World Heritage nominated area will consist of four main regions, namely:
1. Ba Be National Park (Ba Be district, Bac Kan province)
Ba Be National Park is located in the Northwest of Ba Be district, 68 km Northwest of Bac Kan city and 250 km North of Ha Noi.
According to the nomination dossier for Ba Be National Park in 2006 sent to the UNESCO World Heritage Center, Ba Be National Park is located in five communes: Nam Mau, Khang Ninh, Cao Thuong, Quang Khe, Cao Tri (Ba Be district, Bac Kan province), with 10,048 hectares nominated area.
Ba Be National Park is considered as the most important and meaningful natural habitat for biodiversity conservation and it is also a home of many rare endangered flora and fauna. The forest cover of Ba Be contains a typical sample of limestone vegetation and is scarce in other countries in the region.
In Ba Be National Park, there are over 1,800 living species of flora and fauna, including endemic species such as: Tonkin Snub-nosed Monkey (Rhinopithecus avunculus), Francois’ Leaf Langur (Semnopithecus f. francoisi), Slow Loris (Nycticebus coucang), Lesser Slow Loris (Nycticebus pygmaeus), Stump-tailed Macaque (Macaca arctoides), Pig-tailed macaque (Macaca nemestrina), Asiatic black bear (Ursus thibetanus), Banded civet (Chrotogale owstoni), Clouded Leopard (Padofelis nebulosa), Sumatran Serow (Naemohedus sumatraensis), Wood Snipe (Gallinago nemoricola), White-eared Night Heron (Gorsachius magnificus), Tam Dao Salamander (Paramesotriton deloustali)... and other rare plants. Inside Ba Be National Park, Ba Be Lake is 150 meters above sea level. Ba Be Lake is 450 hectares width; formed about 10,000 years ago, from 17 to 23 meters average depth, the deepest is 35 meters, which contains about 90 million cubic meters of water. On the clear green lake are Karts Islands, around the lake is the evergreen tropical forest on limestone and is an important living habitat of rare plants and animals, at the same time, also creates beautiful natural scenery in the mountains and forests. So far, many beautifully caves in the area have been discovered which are extremely esthetic. Dau Dang waterfall is a famous landscape with 53 meters height, pouring water of the entire alley of Nang River down from the height of 85 meters which captivated people’s hearts.
With these typical values, Ba Be National Park has been recognized as the ASEAN Heritage Garden (2004), the World's 1938 Ramsar (Wetlands of International Importance) and the 3rd Ramsar of Viet Nam (2011), and recognized as the National Important Landscape Site by Prime Minister of Viet Nam (2012). On November 15, 1997, Ba Be National Park was listed into the Tentative Lists of World Heritage nomination of UNESCO.
2. Nam Xuan Lac Nature Reserve (Cho Don district, Bac Kan province)
According to the Decision No. 109/QD-UBND dated January 14, 2014 by the People's Committee of Bac Kan province, Nam Xuan Lac Nature Reserve is located in Xuan Lac, Ban Thi and Dong Lac communes (Cho Don district, Bac Kan province) with the forest area under the strict protected zone of 2,552.5 ha.
The Nam Xuan Lac Nature Reserve has plant and animal resources with many rare species listed in Viet Nam Red Book and IUCN Red List, such as: Black Monkey, Assam Macaque (Macaca assamensis), Slow Loris (Nycticebus coucang), Lesser Slow Loris (Nycticebus pygmaeus), Sun Bear (Helarctos malayanus),, White-eared Night Heron (Gorsachius magnificus)... and other rare and precious plants.
It also preserves Burretiodendron hsienmu hundred-year primitive forests in combination with cultural, historical and ecological tourist sites such as Na Da waterfall, Nghien cave, special mountainous hamlets villages of Mong, Dao, Tay ethnic minorities; and a system of hundred-year mining road system built by the French, French housing, cable-car system to carry ore from the top of mountain to be down... still be maintained quite the status quo which are evidences for a historical period associated with the biggest zinc lead mine in Viet Nam and the French workers’ generation under the French colony.
3. Na Hang Nature Reserve (Na Hang district, Tuyen Quang province)
Na Hang Nature Reserve is located in the South-East of Na Hang district, 110km North-East of Tuyen Quang, 270km North-West of Ha Noi.
According to the Decision No. 1770/QD-CT dated December 31st, 2012 of the Chairman of the People's Committee of Tuyen Quang province, Na Hang special-use forest covers an area of 21,238.7 ha located in 04 communes and 01 town: Thanh Tuong, Son Phu, Khau Tinh, Con Lon and Na Hang town (Na Hang district, Tuyen Quang province).
Na Hang Nature Reserve is characterized by the bow-shaped topography of Lo - Gam Limestone Mountains in the Northeast of Viet Nam, at stretch-accumulated mountains following the Northwest - Southeast direction. Its terrain has a complex karst structure with many caves. The average height is 400m, the average slope is 250 - 300. The lowest point has an absolute height of 120m (the riverside area of Gam River has its highest peak is 1,074.2m (Khau Tep peak in Khau Tinh commune).
Land and soil of Na Hang Nature Reserve are quite variety and divided into many groups, land types and soil are good, which are suitable for many kinds of forestry plants, specialty trees (tea, cinnamon...) providing high productivity. It is a cool climate here, especially in elevation areas from 800m to above; temperate climate is well matched many tropical and subtropical plants, as well as many living animals’ habitat.
According to the study results, Na Hang Nature Reserve’s vegetation consists of seven main vegetation types: (1) Evergreen rainforest on limestone at the elevations over 700 meters; (2) Evergreen rainforest on limestone at the elevations lower 700 meters; (3) Evergreen tropical lowland scrub; (4) Tropical low-lying grassland; (5) Forestry plants; (6) Short-term agricultural plants; (7) Long-term agricultural crops.
In recent years, Tuyen Quang province has made much effort to protect Na Hang Nature Reserve as a model of the wildlife sanctuary. Therefore, there are nearly 2,000 species of animals and plants living in Na Hang special-use forest, including rare and precious plant and animal species listed in the Viet Nam Red Book and the World. Fauna is including Tonkin Snub-nosed Monkey (Rhinopithecus avunculus) which is listed as a “Critical Endanger” by IUCN and species: Francois’ Leaf Langur (Semnopithecus f. francoisi), Slow Loris (Nycticebus coucang), Lesser Slow Loris (Nycticebus pygmaeus), Stump-tailed Macaque (Macaca arctoides), Pig-tailed macaque (Macaca nemestrina), Banded civet (Chrotogale owstoni), Clouded Leopard (Padofelis nebulosa), Sumatran Serow (Naemohedus sumatraensis), Tam Dao Salamander (Paramesotriton deloustali), Golden cat (Catopuma temminckii), Leopard (Panthera pardus), Particolored Flying Squirrel (Hylopetes alboniger), White-eared Night Heron (Gorsachius magnificus), Wood Snipe (Gallinago nemoricola), Big-headed Turtle (Platystern megacephalum), Black-breasted Leaf Turtle (Geoemyda spengleri)… and other rare plants.
4. Lam Binh Protection Forest (Lam Binh District, Tuyen Quang Province)
Lam Binh Protection Forest is located in three communes: Thuong Lam, Khuon Ha and Lang Can (Lam Binh district, Tuyen Quang province), covering an area of 19,829.61ha.
Lam Binh Nature Protection Forest not only plays an important natural ecological environment, in which is living habitat for many animal species watershed protection forest, but also be a riverhead protection forest to keep, regulate water source for protecting soil, preventing soil erosion, and providing irrigation water of lower-landed agricultural activities.
Lam Binh Protected Natural Forest has plant and animal resources with many rare species listed in the Viet Nam Red Book and the World. Beside the value of biodiversity, Lam Binh Protection Forest is evaluated by marvelous natural scenery, such as Thuong Lam area with 99 legendary stretched mountains described in poetry and legend, that is compared with "Ha Long Bay on land admist mountains and forests"; beautiful caves such as Song Long cave with magical stalactites, Phia Vai cave where archaeologists have discovered ancient Vietnamese burial relics dated over 10,000 years ago. This place also concentrates different cultural nuances of highland ethnic minorities such as Phuc Lam Pagoda and Pu Bao Temple which have been ranked as national heritage Sites by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism of Viet Nam, traditional villages of Tay, Dao, Pa Then ethnic groups... including a house-on-stilt village of Tay ethnic cultural village in Na Tong, hundreds of houses on stilts of Thuong Lam commune also preserves both high conservation value and potential tourism to contribute community development for improving the living standard of local people.
Ba Be - Na Hang Natural Heritage Area is considered to be a high priority area for conservation of Viet Nam and the World with many valuable and rare species of flora and fauna, details as follows:
Diversification of forest flora:
The forest flora of the area is characterized by the tropical forest ecosystems on land mountains and limestone mountains. The species composition of the flora is extremely abundant. According to research results, the flora of this area has 4 branches with a total of 1,162 plant species belonging to 614 genera and 159 families; with many valuable and rare plants listed in the Red Book of Viet Nam as well as abundantly worth and uncommon species of plants such as: Excentrodendron tonkinense, Garcinia fagraeoides A.Chev, Cinnadenia paniculata, Madhuca pasquieri, Manglietia fordiana, Aquilaria crassna, Parashorea chinensis, Sargentodoxa cuneata, Calamus platyacant… Besides, there are also some famous rare and worth species of Northern flora of Viet Nam, such as: Chukrasia tabularis A.Juss, Hopea ferrea, Fagaceae, De xanh, Aglaia spectabilis, Magnolia hypolampra and other high valuable wood with large quantity.
In particular, the medicinal plants in the area are also abundant and diverse as the families of Asteraceae, Acanthopanax aculeatus, Lamiaceae, Apocynaceae, Acanthaceae, Rubiaceae, Fabaceae… Large quantity families including Polygonatum Kingianum Coll.Et Hemsl, Lasia spinosa, Homalomena occulta, Stemona tuberose, Smilax glabra, Stephania, Dioscorea hamiltonii, Loranthaceae…
Other forest resources besides wood are Bamboo and Neohouzeaua. Most of them have high use value, such as: Bambusa bambos/Bambusa blumeana, Bamboo, Indosasa angustata, Indosasa parvifolia, Bambusa textilis, Storks, Chimonobambusa microfloscula, Schizostachyum pseudolima, Schizostachyum funghomii... There are bamboo forests which not only have their own use value but also be objects of scientific researches.
Threatened plant species are threatened with extinction listed 48 species, including 4 Critical Endangered, 18 Lower Risk, 14 Rare, 05 Threatened and 07 Near-threatened species. Typical species are Dracrydium elatum (Roxb), Nageia Wallichiana (C.Presl.) Kuntze, Garcinia fagraeoides A.Chev, Chukrasia tabularis A.Juss and Excentrodendron tonkinense (Gagnep)...
Diversity of forest fauna:
According to research results, there are about 730 species of fauna in the area including:
In particular, the Tonkin snub-nosed monkey (Rhinopithecus avunculus) is a species of IUCN listed in the Critically Endangered Species (CR) of an importance global conservation.
In addition to the value of biodiversity, this area is also the home of wild marvelous natural scenery. That is:
Criterion (vii): Ba Be - Na Hang Natural Heritage Area is a magnificent sculpture of nature. Thousands of big and small limestone mountains together with Gam River, Nang River, Ba Be Lake create a wild picturesque scenery with thousands of shapes. Ba Be - Na Hang Natural Heritage Area is still kept as primary natural features and not deteriorated despite the presence of human beings for a long time. The prominent features of Ba Be - Na Hang Natural Heritage Area are magnificent limestone towers together with the system of the vault-shaped, most special dome and caves in the World which are covered by the primary rainforests all year round.
Criterion (x): Ba Be - Na Hang Natural Heritage Area is the World's Biodiversity Center with many rare and valuable species of global classified by the IUCN. Of these, 85 species of rare animals and plants are listed in the Viet Nam Red Book and the IUCN Red Lists. Specially, two species of Tonkin Snub-nosed Monkey (Rhinopithecus avunculus) and Francois’ Leaf Langur (Semnopithecus f. francoisi) are particularly endangered species which are being concentrated by the World protection. In particular, the Tonkin Snub-nosed Monkey (Rhinopithecus avunculus) is considered as the valuable global conservation importance by the IUCN. Moreover, there are also many plant and animal species ranked as the Critically Endangered (CR) Species by IUCN.
(1) The proposed nomination is full of aesthetic values, along with being a high biodiversity center, containing many rare and worth species that are appreciated as the outstanding universal value. These values meet criteria (vii and x) of the World Natural Heritage.
All necessary elements necessary to express the outstanding universal value of Ba Be - Na Hang Natural Heritage Area are described in the above nominated areas and protected by a large surrounding area. The heritage located in the area has not affected much from community activities of residences living in the area. Therefore, the natural landscape, aesthetic values, bio-diverse and typical features of mountains, forests and caves in the heritage site are still maintained and preserved intactly.
With a long history of development, Ba Be - Na Hang Natural Heritage Area has the terrain’s features of Lo - Gam bow-shaped Limestone Mountains in the Northeast of Viet Nam, at stretch-accumulated mountains following the Northwest – Southeast direction. This terrain has a complex karst structure with many caves. The average height is 400m, the average slope is 250-300. The highest peak is 1,074.2m (Khau Tep peak in Khau Tinh commune, Na Hang district).
The high gradation is a favorable condition for primeval forests to develop on thousands of limestone mountains, meandering rivers and lakes which creates spectacular scenery.
(2) Enough broad nominated legacy and favorable environment ensure for maintaining and developing aesthetic, ecological and bio-diverse values.
(a) The nominated heritage site has enough space to preserve heritage values
All aesthetic values, typical ecosystem values, recorded species, rare species are inside the boundary of Ba Be - Na Hang Natural Heritage Area and all are well protected. It contains whole entire area of primeval forest on the limestone island, where 85 rare species ranked are living and distributing, including exceptional global value herds of Tonkin snub-nosed monkeys (Rhinopithecus avunculus). Its place is also home of migratory birds from the North.
(b) Environment of the nominated heritage site is favorable for developing evergreen rainforests and other organisms
Ba Be - Na Hang Natural Heritage Area has features the topography of Lo - Gam Limestone Mountain Range in the North - East of Viet Nam, with consecutively mountains via Northwest - Southeast. The subtropical monsoon climate of Ba Be - Na Hang Natural Heritage Area with two rainy and dry seasons is a good condition for expanding evergreen rainforests.
Land and soil of Ba Be - Na Hang Natural Heritage Area are quite multiform groups and types, with good soil, which are suitable for a wide range of agriculture, forestry, and specialty crops (Shan, Que tea...) getting high productivity. It has a cool climate, especially in areas with elevations of 800m and above, temperate climate are favorable for many sub-tropical tree species to be born and grown.
The surrounding water environment has good quality, which is completely unpolluted and is a good condition for developing species.
(3) Ba Be - Na Hang Natural Heritage Area’s nomination as the World Heritage Site receives the consent of the local community and different authorities from local to center government for long-term protection of outstanding universal values on ecological biological processes, biodiversity and environment.
The proposed Ba Be - Na Hang Natural Heritage Area has become the World Natural Heritage is getting high unanimity of local residences, local authorities of Bac Kan province and Tuyen Quang province and central ministries and sectors. Determining to protect the value of Ba Be - Na Hang Natural Heritage Area has been the will of the Vietnamese community and authorities for many years.
The protection, management and sustainable promotion of heritage values are strongly committed and supported by the Central Government, Bac Kan, Tuyen Quang authorities and other relevant local agencies on forest protection, biodiversity protection, natural landscapes, cultural landscapes and local communities protections. Accordingly, Ba Be - Na Hang Natural Heritage Area protected by Law on Cultural Heritage, Law on Protection and Development Forest; Law on Conservation of Biodiversity; Law on Environmental Protection... helps to ensure that the values of Ba Be - Na Hang Natural Heritage Area are long-term protected. Especially, support and protection of the Tay, Nung, Dao, Kinh, Mong, Pa Then ethnic groups... and others living in the area also play very important role in preserving this unique heritage.
In order to compare Ba Be - Na Hang Natural Heritage Area with other World Heritage Sites, a number of location criteria need to be taken to select a comparable site as follows:
With such above criteria, Ba Be - Na Hang Natural Heritage Area can be compared to the World Natural Heritage Sites as Puerto Princesa Subterranean River Natural Heritage Site (Philippines), (its area is 22,202 ha, has been listed on the World Heritage Lists since 1999 with the criteria vii and x). Accordingly, Ba Be-Na Hang Natural Heritage Area and Puerto Princesa Subterranean River Natural Heritage are formed based on karst structures with the largest common feature as being the primeval tropical forest ecosystem on limestone mountains. This leads to a high level of biodiversity in both areas with many endemic species, primary tropical forest on limestone, but the fact is that Ba Be - Na Hang Natural Heritage Area is much larger than Puerto Princesa Subterranean River Natural Heritage Site. The terrestrial fauna and flora of Ba Be - Na Hang Natural Heritage Area are more diverse than Puerto Princesa Subterranean River ones. Counting only in Na Hang, there are 1,160 species of vascular plants, while Puerto Princesa Subterranean River Natural Heritage Site only records 800 species. Similar to mammals, there are 88 species of Ba Be - Na Hang Natural Heritage Area, and 30 species in Puerto Princesa. Ba Be - Na Hang Natural Heritage Area also has Tonkin Snub-nosed Monkey (Rhinopithecus avunculus), which is recognized as a rare and valuable species worldwide.
In addition, Ba Be - Na Hang Natural Heritage Area can be compared with the following World Heritages: