Updating water management strategy for restoring wetland habitats in Tram chim National park in the context of climate change and upstream development

Updating water management strategy for restoring wetland habitats in Tram chim National park in the context of climate change and upstream development

Tram Chim National Park (TCNP) is one of the important biodiversity conservation areas in the system of protected areas of Vietnam. TCNP is the largest remaining natural area of ​​the Plain of Reeds region, the floodplain ecosystem of the Mekong River. Biodiversity conservation in TCNP is therefore of importance not only for Vietnam but also for the entire Mekong Basin. In Tram Chim, flood water and acidic soil are the two most unique and important environmental conditions. During the year, water can vary from neutral pH to very acidic (pH lower than 4). The difference in water level between the flood season and the dry season in Tram Chim can be up to 4 meters or more. Floodwater is also the road connecting Tram Chim with the Mekong River. At the peak of the flood season, water from the Mekong River flows into Tram Chim in a large volume, full of nutrients. At the end of the rainy season, water from Tram Chim flows back to the river, helping to discharge a lot of residues from the forest. Along with the movement of water is the movement of phytoplankton, fish and shrimp, contributing to the diversity and uniqueness of the biological system. The alternation between dry and flooded, between “sour” and “sweet”, and the connection with the Mekong River are the most basic ecological features of TCNP. Biodiversity conservation in Tram Chim is based on the restoration and maintenance of these basic ecological conditions.

Biodiversity management in Tram Chim is therefore not limited to the statistics of the composition and richness of biological species, but also requires a deep understanding of environmental conditions, especially hydrological regime or forest fire, soil and water environmental conditions. In addition, climate change is increasingly showing serious impacts on the biodiversity of TCNP. In recent years, climatic factors such as heat, rainfall, and works on the upper Mekong River have led to sudden and unpredictable changes and the hydrological regime no longer follows natural law. The management to meet all goals of biodiversity conservation, forest fire prevention and attracting Sarus cranes to TCNP requires specific and flexible new plans, especially the water regime management in the park. This study was conducted to update water management strategy for restoring wetland habitats in TCNP in the context of climate change and upstream development.