Tam Đảo National Park

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Tam Dao National Park
IUCN category II (national park)
Tam Dao mountain range.jpg
Location North Vietnam
Nearest city Vĩnh Yên
Coordinates 21°31′0″N 105°33′0″E / 21.51667°N 105.55000°E / 21.51667; 105.55000Coordinates: 21°31′0″N 105°33′0″E / 21.51667°N 105.55000°E / 21.51667; 105.55000
Area 368.83 km2
Established 1996

Tam Dao National Park (Vietnamese: Vườn quốc gia Tam Đảo)[1] is a protected area zone in North Vietnam. It was established in 1996,[2] succeeding from the Conservation Forest Tam Dao which was formed in 1977. The park is about 85 km northwest of Hanoi.

Its exact location is at 21°21’ to 21°42’ North latitude, 105°23’ to 105°44’ East longitude. It spans a large area along the Tam Đảo range and administratively belongs to 6 districts and 1 city: Lập Thạch, Tam Dương, Bình Xuyên and the city of Vĩnh Yên of Vĩnh Phúc Province; Sơn Dương of Tuyên Quang Province; Đại Từ and Phổ Yên of Thái Nguyên Province.

Natural condition[edit]

Tam Dao National Park is based in the Tam Đảo range, which is one of the terminal spurs of a larger mountainous area in the Northwest region of Vietnam. It runs 80 km from north west to south east, and has more than 20 peaks with altitudes of over 1000m. The highest summit is Tam Đảo North with an altitude of 1592 m. Three other peaks with beautiful scenery are Thien Thi at 1375 m, Thach Ban at 1388 m and Phu Nghia at 1300 m. Sharp peaks with sloping sides and numerous, deep partitions are characteristic of the topology.

At an elevation of 930 metres, Tam Đảo town was established by French colonists in 1907 as a tranquil hill resort in northern Vietnam. Several luxurious villas designed for the French still remain.[2] It is now an enclave administratively belonging to Vinh Yen city.

The boundary of the national park is located at an altitude of 100 m around the Tam Đảo range. There is a larger buffer zone (which has area of approximately 535 km2) which surrounds the national park which has an altitude below 100 m. Seventy per cent of the area of the park is covered by natural and artificial forest. The natural forest is about 220 km2 and the human altered forest is about 30 km2.

Due to the tall mountainous range that splits the area into two parts, the national park's climatic condition is divided into two areas with different rainfalls. This difference and some other factors such as the effect of human activity divide the park into some smaller climatic zones which increase the bio-diversity in the park.

Flora[edit]

According to research, Tam Dao park has eight kinds of forest types distributed in different topographic and climatic areas :

  • The tropical moist evergreen forest covers most of Tam Đảo Range below the altitude of 800 m. Some rare and precious species include Shorea chinensis, Michelia, Cinnamomum sp. and Pavviesia annamensis.
  • The subtropical moist evergreen low mountain forest covers the areas over 800 m and includes the species of the families: Lauraceae, Fagaceae, Theaceae, Magroliaceae, and Hamamelidaceae. In places with altitudes of over 1000 m there are some species of conifer such as Dacrycarpus imbrricatus, Fokieria hodginsii, Podocarpus neriifolicy, and Nageia fleuryi. Below the canopy there are species of coffee family (Rubiaceae), Myrsinaceae family or Euphorbiaceae family.
  • The high mountain short forest is a dwarf variety of two aforementioned forest types including species of these families: Ercaceae, Lauraceae, Fagaceae, Illiciaceae, and Aceraceae.
  • The bamboo forest only covers 8.84 km2 and sparsely appears at altitudes of 500 m to 800 m.
  • The restored forest was created after the establishment the national park. Before that, this area was exploited to harvest wood by forest management and was cultivated by farmers. Now this area has been replanted with species such as Symplocos, Litsea cubeba, and a species of Xylopia.
  • The plantation forest was established in the French colonial period with Pinus massoniana (Horsetail Pine).
  • The bush appears in some dry and sun exposed areas including Aporosa dioica, Bridelia tomentosa, species of Helicteres, and Phyllanthus embrica.
  • The grass land appears in areas of exploited forest, and includes Saccharum spontaneum, Thysamolema maxima, Chromolaena odorata (over 2 m) Imperata cylindrica, Paspalum scrobiculatum, and Setaria viridis (under 2 m) .

Out of over 2000 plant species, 904 species are considered useful to humans. They have been classified into eight groups:[1]

Group Use Number of species Scale(%)
I Wood 379 41.92
II Fruit 25 2.76
III Fibre 20 2.21
IV Medicine 311 34.40
V Essential oil 32 3.54
VI Vegetable 30 3.32
VII Aesthetic purpose 102 11.28
VIII Starch 5 0.55

There are 42 species endemic to Tam Dao National Park and also 64 other species considered rare including Dendrobium daoensis, Camellia longicaudata, Camellia petelotii, Asarum petelotii, Mosla tamdaoensis, and Paris delavayi.

Fauna[edit]

The national park has diverse animal species, with 840 species in total (listed below).:[1]

Class Number of orders Number of families Number of genus Number of species
Mammal 8 25 48 64[3]
Bird 16 50 140 239[3]
Reptile 3 14 46 75
Amphibian 3 7 11 28
Insect 8 48 271 434
Total 38 144 516 840

Eleven of these species are endemic to Tam Dao National Park including the snake species Amphiesma angeli and Boiga multitempolaris, the amphibian Paramesotriton deloustali and eight species of insects; 22 species are endemic to North Vietnam including nine bird species, four reptiles, three amphibians and six species of insect; six are endemic to Vietnam (five bird species and one species of amphibian).

Guide books report that some of this bio-diversity can be seen in the restaurants which have been known to serve endangered species.[2] [3]

Tourism[edit]

There are two sites for tourists in the park. The first is Tam Đảo town which was established in 1907. Tam Đảo is nestled in a valley covering only 3 km2. There now remain a stone church, some villas and palaces built by French colonists. It has Thac Bac (The Silver Fall), Rung Rinh peak and Tam Đảo 2, a remnant of another resort built many years ago.

The second tourist location is Tay Thien site. It includes Tay Thien Quoc Mau Temple (literally The "Temple of East Heaven National Mother") and many pagodas. Along with Thien Vien Truc Lam (literally: "Dhyana Palace in Bamboo Forest") in Da Lat and Yen Tu, Thien Vien Truc Lam Tay Thien is a center of Vietnamese Buddhism.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c tchdkh.org - not in English, accessed 30 July 2008
  2. ^ a b c Vietnam: A Natural History, Eleanor Jane Sterling, Martha Maud Hurley, Le Duc Minh, Minh Duc Le, Joyce Powzyk, 2006, p.208, ISBN 0-300-10608-4
  3. ^ a b c Vietnam, Nick Ray, Wendy Yanagihara, ISBN 1-74059-677-3