VietNamNet Bridge – Son Tra Nature Reserve, just 10km away from downtown Da Nang, is home to incredible biodiversity, but rapid development threatens the plant and animal life there. The story of the local people fighting to protect Son Tra has never been told — until now.
|The cover of Ky Su Son Tra (Notes of Son Tra). The book on the history and rich biodiversity of the Son Tra Nature Reserve, by Bui Cong Dung, will be published this September.
Bui Cong Dung will publish a 320-page book, Ky Su Son Tra (Notes of Son Tra), on the history and rich biodiversity of the Son Tra Nature Reserve this September.
The local-born writer told Viet Nam News the Notes had been written in the five months since the illegal construction of a villa project was discovered by local residents in March 2017. Unfortunately, the villa project was not unprecedented: over the past two decades, development has encroached on the reserve.
Son Tra is known for its rich biodiversity, with 287 animal species and 985 plant species. Since 1977, the reserve has shrunk from more than 4,400ha to 2,500ha to make room for dozens of resorts and hotels in the area.
Dung said the Notes focuses on efforts made by generations of Da Nang people to protect the uniquely rich biodiversity in Son Tra Peninsula during wars and peace. It also describes how local people have fought against property developers seeking to exploit natural resources in the reserve – which is home to more than 1,300 endangered red-shanked douc langurs (Pygathrix nemaeus).
Dung, 67, has previously published five books, including three novels in topic of anti-corruption in the last five years. The latest novel, The Dug-out, was published in 2015.
Josh Kempinski, director of Fauna and Flora International (FFI), said in the book’s foreword: “With its rich biodiversity, Son Tra is really a unique place in the world that Da Nang should protect. The city could develop tourism from the rich biodiversity and sustainable development of the reserve. The development plan of the Son Tra that is based on nature conservation is common in the world. But all actions and activities in the area must respect the natural value and the interaction of people and nature.”
Dan Ringelstein from the US-based Skidmore, Owings & Merill Planning and Architecture company wrote in the foreword: “Too many resorts and restaurants were built in the Son Tra mountainside. The Son Tra is a sensitive site of Da Nang. The city has many land areas to develop before thinking of building in the Son Tra. You should respect the Son Tra Mountain as a national treasure, a place to conserve endangered wildlife species and a centre of biodiversity research.”
|Author Bui Cong Dung of Da Nang Writers’ Association. — Photos courtesy of Bui Cong Dung