Research by the University of Leeds and Utrecht University has helped secure the highest government protection for internationally-important Vietnamese forests. Over the past five years, conservation organization Viet Nature, and its partners World Land Trust, IUCN National Committee of the Netherlands (IUCN NL), Birdlife International and researchers from the University of Leeds and Utrecht University have been working to protect the Khe Nuoc Trong forests—the last substantial area of lowland forest in Vietnam.
In August, the Vietnamese government agreed to formally protect Khe Nuoc Trong’s 22,132-hectare tract of Annamite lowland evergreen forests as a Nature Reserve, the country’s highest standard of protection.
The move delivers a safer home for 40 globally threatened species brought to brink of extinction by loggers and poachers. This includes singing gibbons, the spectacular peacock-like crested argus birds and the critically endangered saola antelope. Discovered only in 1992, the saola is one of the world’s rarest mammals, earning it the nickname of the “Asian unicorn.”
Maartje Kouwen, Utrecht University