Scientists Discover 3 New Plant Species in Vietnam

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The Southern Institute of Ecology has discovered three new plant species unknown to the world in the Sơn Trà Nature Reserve during a three-year research and revaluation of its biodiversity, Dr Lưu Hồng Trường told a recent scientific conference in Da Nang.

“These may be the newest plants found in the world as we have yet to hear any reports of these plants, and they have not been given an official name,” Trường said.

“We found these plants in 2016. We plan to send our scientific research on these plants to the Global Science Journals as an official report and recognition of the world newest-found plant species,” Trường said.

He said the research project had updated the rich biodiversity of the Sơn Trà Reserve, listing 370 animal species and 1,010 plant species, compared to 287 animal species and 985 plant species previously recorded.

The reserve, 1958 feet above sea level, is rare given its rich population of fauna and flora spreading from jungle to ocean over a relatively small area. He said the 4,439 hectare reserve will be a draw for biologists, conservationists and scientists worldwide.

According to the latest report about the reserve which is 10km away from downtown Da Nang, 43 plant species are listed as endangered in Vietnam’s Red Book and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

The report said five wild species, including the endangered red-shanked douc langurs (Pygathrix nemaeus); Pygmy slow loris (Nycticebus pygmaeus); pangolin (Manis Javanica); lesser short-nosed fruit bat (Cynopterus brachyotis); the Indian muntjac or red muntjac (Muntiacus vaginalis) were found living in the reserve.

Two species – the red-shanked douc langurs and pangolin – are listed as endangered species by the IUCN. In 2016, IUCN agreed to promote the red-shanked douc langur as a Critically Endangered (CR) species, granting it termless protection status in the world.

The endangered species living in the Sơn Trà Nature Reserve were also declared as deserving special protection by Vietnamese law, including Government Decree No 32 issued in 2006 and Government Decree No 160 of 2013 on management of endangered, precious and rare forest plants and animals.

More than 1,300 endangered red-shanked douc langurs can be easily found in the Sơn Trà Nature Reserve. According to the latest report from GreenViet – the centre for biodiversity research and conservation, more than 237 herds of red-shanked douc langurs, comprising over 1,300 individuals, are living in the Sơn Trà Nature Reserve.

Biologists and scientists warn that the development of concrete buildings around the reserve, mostly holiday beach resorts, would soon push the endangered primates into extinction.

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