Press Release: Green Forest No.18

Vietnam’s Disappearing Wetlands

Wetlands comprise some of the most productive ecosystems in the world.  Wetlands include aquatic and semi-aquatic habitats ranging  from coastal mangrove marshes and mudflats to seasonally flooded grasslands, shallow lakes and ponds, and peat swamp forests.  Wetlands provide important habitat, feeding, and nursery areas for a diverse variety of wildlife, including many rare migratory bird species, and even large mammals such as the Javan rhino. 

Wetlands are also important to our human livelihood, supporting vast marine, coastal, and freshwater fisheries, including bivalves and crustaceans.  In addition, wetlands shelter inland residential and agricultural areas from storms, mitigating the impacts of floods, recharging groundwater, and provide a fresh source of water for daily living. 

However Vietnam’s wetlands are disappearing.  Conversion to agriculture, cutting of coastal mangrove forests to establish shrimp ponds, pollution, and development are just some of the impacts that threaten to alter these unique wetland ecosystems forever, and ultimately impact the benefits that wetlands provide to our livelihood. 

Our future and our way of life depends upon our ability to protect these important natural wetland systems.   This will be achieved in part when people come to realize the links between wetlands and their livelihoods, and take active measures to become involved in sustainable use and protection of these valuable natural systems for our future.

Release of Green Forest (Rung Xanh) on Wetlands
This newest edition of ENV’s student activity book introduces students to the life and ecology of wetlands, illustrating why they are important to humans, and characterizing the major threats to Vietnam’s wetlands.

As usual, Green Forest includes contributions from students and educators from throughout the country, but also comprises activities, games, cartoons, and stories that provide an enjoyable way for students to learn about key issues relating to nature and the environment.  It also provides a forum through which students can exchange their ideas and contribute to efforts to raise awareness among their peers about the need to protect their environment.

ENV wishes to thank representatives from the following projects, organizations, and institutions for facilitating local contributions to this issue; Cuc Phuong National Park Conservation Awareness Program, Cat Tien National Park EEEC, PARC Ba Be, PARC Na Hang, Xuan Thuy National Park, Cat Ba – Ha Long Marine Conservation Project (FFI), Hoang Lien Conservation Projects (FFI), Birdlife International, Phong Nha National Park Conservation Awareness Program, Frontier Bai Tu Long, Hue Nature Care, Care International, Pu Mat National Park education program (Nghe An), Tam Dao National Park, Con Dao National Park and the SOS Village.

Green Forest is distributed free to participating community-based environmental education programs throughout Vietnam. ENV would like to encourage other school children and environmental education programs in Vietnam to contribute to the next issue of Green Forest(deadline November 15) which focuses on bears.

ENV wishes to thank the Whitley Awards Foundation, Cat Tien National Park, and the Netherlands Embassy for supporting this important educational resource. 

ENV would also like to thank Professor Phan Nguyen Hong of the Mangrove Ecosystem Research Division (MERD), Vietnam National University, Hanoi and Professor Pham Nhat of the Xuan Mai Forestry College for their input and assistance on this issue.

For further details about Green Forest, please contact Ms. Do Hai Linh (04) 7753685 (email:


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