July 13, 2008 Climate change is happening, and we must develop ways for all life to be able to cope, environmental advocates urge. WWF Vietnam Programme is looking at this through the development of resilient multifunctional landscapes that also work as forest corridors, assisting with species dispersal and adaptation, by changes in land-use practices.
The Central Annamites forests, an area known to have existed as continual forest despite climatic fluctuations of the past, stretches from evergreen forests in Vietnam and to the drier parts of the Annamite chain, which has encouraged high degrees of biological diversity. The landscape has become regarded internationally as a critical conservation priority in Southeast Asia as this biological diversity may be the key to mitigating the effects of climate change.
Population pressure on top of fragmented forest habitats mean that species trying to move and adapt to rapid climactic changes may have little option. At the same time, continuing forest loss means that people are losing important watersheds and protection from new more violent weather patterns.
Mitigating climate change: Creation of a robust landscape
WWF has been conducting a number of activities as part of the pilot Central Annamites Initiative. The aim of this fledgling initiative is to create partnerships - from local communities to international organisations – for working together to secure biodiversity conservation and sustainable development in the Central Annamites.
In order to create resilient ecosystems and livelihood opportunities for local people, a mosaic of protected area, watershed forest, and production forest is being created, combining existing nature reserves and three new protected areas in central Vietnam, which strengthens forest conservation through the creation of protected area forest corridors. This is particularly strong in Hue and Quang Nam Province where there is an east-to-west corridor connecting the coastal areas of Vietnam to the forests of Lao PDR.
However, the area also has large spaces of degraded and bare land, and there is a need to promote restoration that encompasses ecological approaches, livelihood and income generation, carbon storage, and improvement of landscape connectivity.
With large tracts of diverse forest systems, both protected and revitalized, the robustness and resiliency of the land will be maintained. This will help to ensure a more stable environment for the people, the plants, and the animals in the face of ever more unstable climactic events.
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