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About Vietnam: Environment

Introduction General Facts Culture Environment History

Vietnam borders Cambodia, Laos and China and stretches over 1,600km along the eastern coast of the Indochinese Peninsula. The countrys two main cultivated areas are the Red River Delta (15,000 sq kin) in the north and the Mekong Delta (60,000 sq kin) in the south. Three-quarters of the country is mountainous and hilly; the highest peak is the 3,143m high Fansipan in north-west Vietnam.

Vietnam has five national parks: Cat Ba, Ba Be Lake and Cuc Phuong national parks in the north; Bach Ma National Park in the centre; arid Nam Cat Tien National Park in Lam Dong Province in the south, a short distance from Da Lat. In an attempt to prevent an ecological and hydrological catastrophe, the government has plans to set aside tens of thousands of sq km of forest and to create 87 national parks and nature reserves.

Vietnam is made up of equatorial lowlands, high temperate plateaus like those found in Dalat, alpine peaks, and miles of beautiful white sandy beaches. Although Vietnam’s wildlife is rich, it is in precipitous decline because of the destruction of habitats and illegal hunting. Less than 20% of the country remains forested, and what remains is under threat from slash and burn agriculture and excessive harvesting. Fauna includes elephants, rhinoceros, tigers, leopards, black bears, snub-nosed monkeys, crocodiles and turtles.

Although Vietnam lies in the inter-tropical zone, local conditions vary from frosty winter in the far northern hills to the year-round subequatorial warmth of the coastal beach areas. At sea level, the mean annual temperature is about 27° C in the south, falling to 22°C in the North.