Dong Van Karst Plateau Global Geopark: Huge Tourism Potential

Published:  03:48 Wednesday - February 20, 2013

Dong Van Karst Plateau Global Geopark: Huge Tourism Potential

Dong Van Karst Plateau Global Geopark joined the Global Geopark Network on October 3, 2010. Its administrative area covers 2,356 sq. kilometres in four districts of Quan Ba, Yen Minh, Dong Van and Meo Vac. The plateau features geological heritage, cultural heritage and biodiversity.

In their initial assessments, scientists have investigated and identified 139 expressions of geological heritages, including 15 international geological heritages, 68 national geological heritages and 56 local geological heritages dating back about 541 million years. The plateau witnesses many important regional and global geological events, especially two out of five major life-world extinction events that caused the disappearance of 90 per cent of marine genera and species, even palaeontology.

The Late Devonian extinction event occurred at the Frasnian – Famennian boundary, about 364 million years ago, causing 19 per cent of all families and 50 per cent of all genera to go extinct. The Permian – Triassic extinction occurred at the boundary between the Permian and Triassic geologic periods, about 251 million years ago. It is the earth’s most severe known extinction event. According to scientists, a lot of geological heritages have not been surveyed, researched and evaluated.

Dong Van Karst Plateau is inhabited by 17 ethnic groups with rich traditional ethnic cultures, histories, customs and festivals. One of their particular characteristics is their adaptability and harmony with the nature in labour, as well as social and cultural activities. The clearest expression is the planting of food crops in rock holes – the most popular and special initiative of ethnic groups on the rock plateau. Filling rock holes with earth to plant crops has become a unique culture and agricultural civilisation rarely seen in any other places in the world.

Dong Van Karst Plateau is also a unique biodiversity hotspot, consisting of Bat Dai Son Nature Reserve, part of ​​Du Gia Nature Conservation Park, and Khau Ca Species and Habitat Conservation Area. Therefore, the geopark has very rich flora and fauna systems, comprising 289 species of vascular plants belonging to 83 families. The fauna system on limestone mountains has 171 species belonging to 73 families and 24 orders. 27 species, including 17 species of mammals, two species of birds and eight species of reptiles, are endangered animals listed in the Red Book of Vietnam.

Especially, Tonkin snub-nosed monkey species (Rhinopithecus avunculus) is one of five endemic primate species in Vietnam and one of the world’s 25 mostendangered primates. Besides, the plateau also has bare rocky mountain ecosystems, regenerating forest ecosystems, and ground mountain ecosystems. Although they do not have as rich biodiversity as natural conservation areas, they significantly contribute to the biodiversity of the geopark

Dong Van Karst Plateau Global Geopark has diverse resources for tourism development. Geological heritages, karst caves and others are special resources for geological tourism development. Unique cultural heritages are huge potentials for general tourism development combined with cultural tourism, ecological tourism and geological discovery tourism. Scenic landscapes, terraced fields, fresh cool climate and highly dense biodiversity are valuable potentials for the development of sightseeing, relaxation and medical tourism.

Geopark tourism products are novel. This is a new tourist destination which is almost primitive and unaffected by adverse impacts of tourism development. It is feasibly connected with other tourist destinations such as Moc Chau, Dien Bien and Sa Pa to form an East – West tourism arc in northern mountainous provinces of Vietnam. The geopark is to be gradually connected with other tourist sites in the country, especially marine tourism, to enhance the attractiveness of its tourism products.

To promote and exploit tangible and intangible heritage values from natural and social endowments, the government and the people of Ha Giang province are making every effort and seeking the assistance and cooperation of domestic and international friends and partners to ensure the sustainable development of the geopark. Dong Van Karst Plateau Global Geopark will give a helping hand to Ha Giang province in the process of international integration.

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