Bach Ma National Park
|Bach Ma National Park|
Bach Ma National Park (Vietnamese: Vườn quốc gia Bạch Mã) is a protected area in central Vietnam, near the city of Hué. It covers 220 km² and comprises three zones: a strictly protected core area, an administrative area and a buffer zone.
As of 2004, the park is being considered for expansion in order to create a larger protected area that will create a corridor from the border with Laos to the sea.
In 1932, the summit of Bach Ma selected by the French chief engineer Girard to become a hill station for the colonial administration of Hue. In the following years, a village including 139 villas and hotels was created. For accommodating holiday makers and to avoid commuting on the steep, 19 km long road to the next major town, there were even a post office, a market, and a hospital.By 1937 the number of holiday homes had reached 139 and it became known as the ‘Dalat of central Vietnam’. Most of the visitors were high-ranking French VIPs. Not surprisingly the Viet Minh tried hard to spoil the holiday – the area saw some heavy fighting in the early 1950s. After independence from the French, Bach Ma was soon forgotten and the villas abandoned; today they are in total ruin and only a few stone walls remain.At an elevation of 1250 metres above sea level,the National Park is a popular summer retreat for the Vietnamese, who come to relieve the cooler temperatures of Bach Ma. The area around the National Park was first protected as a series of forest reserves in 1937, and was declared a protected area by the government of South Vietnam in 1962. In 1986 the area was established as a national park. The forests of the park, like Cat Tien National Park, suffered from the use of defoliants like Agent Orange during the Vietnam War.
 Biodiversity of Bach Ma
Bach Ma National Park is situated in the Annamite Mountains and is one of the wettest places in Vietnam. Its mountains are composed mainly of granite, and the topography of the park is generally very steep.
Bach ma's position, at the biogeographical border between northern and southern Vietnam, combined with its variety of habitats, ranging from the coast to high mountains, means the park is rich in biodiversity. It is located in an area that is considered a 'Centre of Plant Diversity' in Vietnam. The main vegetation type is moist evergreen forest and montane forest, as well as areas of scrub and grassland where human disturbance has been high.
The mammal fauna of the park is not well known, though historically it held important species such as Asian Elephant, White-cheeked Gibbons and Red-shanked Douc langurs. It also protects important bird species, ezpecially Vietnamese endemics such as the Crested Argus, the Annam Partridge, as well as the previously considered extinct Edward's Pheasant.