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Location Vietnam, Kien Giang
Central coordinates 105o 5.00' East  9o 35.00' North
IBA criteria A1, A3, A4i
Area 22,918 ha
Altitude 0 - 2m
Year of IBA assessment 2002

BirdLife Indochina Programme (Country programme)



Site description The IBA is centred on U Minh Thuong Nature Reserve, which comprises semi-natural Melaleuca forest, seasonally inundated grassland and open swamp. The IBA also includes the buffer zone of the nature reserve, most of which consists of paddyfields with small patches of Melaleuca plantation. Finally, the IBA includes a large block of Melaleuca plantation to the north-west of the nature reserve, which supports an important breeding colony of wetland birds but which is currently under the management of the local prison.

Key Biodiversity 

Non-bird biodiversity: U Minh Thuong harbours a diversity of flora, including many rare and endemic species. Safford et al (1998) indentified 155 plant species. These comprised 52 species in forest, 49 in grassland, 34 on riverbanks and 66 aquatics. Among these is the duckweed, Lemna tenera, which is rare throughout its range in South-East Asia but common in U Minh Thuong. The forest and wetlands of U Minh Thuong support many rare and endangered animal species. There is evidence for the continued occurance of the globally threatened Hairy-nosed Otter Lutra sumatrana (Nguyen Xuan Dang verbally). Safford et al. (1998) recorded Sunda Pangolin Manis javanicus and Fishing Cat Prionailurus viverrinus. In addition, Safford et al. (1998) received annecdotal reports of the occurrence of Long-tailed Macaque Macaca fascicularis and also recorded the Malayan Snail-eating Turtle Malayemys subtrijuga and Yellow-headed Temple Turtle Hiermemys annandalii.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Lesser Adjutant Leptoptilos javanicus resident  2002  present  A1  Vulnerable 
Painted Stork Mycteria leucocephala non-breeding  2000  unknown  A4i  Near Threatened 
Glossy Ibis Plegadis falcinellus resident  2000  unknown  A4i  Least Concern 
Purple Heron Ardea purpurea breeding  2001  unknown  A4i  Least Concern 
Great White Egret Ardea alba unknown  2002  present  A4i  Least Concern 
Spot-billed Pelican Pelecanus philippensis non-breeding  2002  present  A1  Near Threatened 
Little Cormorant Microcarbo niger breeding  2000  unknown  A4i  Least Concern 
Rufous-winged Buzzard Butastur liventer resident  1997  unknown  A3  Least Concern 
Purple Swamphen Porphyrio porphyrio resident  1997  unknown  A4i  Least Concern 
Bronze-winged Jacana Metopidius indicus resident  1997  unknown  A4i  Least Concern 
Oriental Pratincole Glareola maldivarum unknown  2002  present  A4i  Least Concern 
Asian Emerald Cuckoo Chrysococcyx maculatus winter  2000  unknown  A3  Least Concern 
Common Woodshrike Tephrodornis pondicerianus resident  2000  unknown  A3  Least Concern 
Indochinese Cuckooshrike Coracina polioptera resident  1998  unknown  A3  Least Concern 
Small Minivet Pericrocotus cinnamomeus resident  1998  unknown  A3  Least Concern 
Racket-tailed Treepie Crypsirina temia resident  1999  unknown  A3  Least Concern 
Indochinese Bushlark Mirafra erythrocephala resident  1997  unknown  A3  Least Concern 
Streak-eared Bulbul Pycnonotus blanfordi resident  1999  unknown  A3  Least Concern 
Chestnut-tailed Starling Sturnus malabaricus resident  1999  unknown  A3  Least Concern 
White-shouldered Starling Sturnus sinensis winter  2000  unknown  A3  Least Concern 
Black-collared Starling Sturnus nigricollis resident  1999  unknown  A3  Least Concern 
Vinous-breasted Starling Sturnus burmannicus resident  1999  unknown  A3  Least Concern 
Plain-backed Sparrow Passer flaveolus resident  1999  unknown  A3  Least Concern 

IBA Monitoring

2008 medium very unfavourable medium
  Habitat
Medium - based upon reliable but incomplete / partially representative data

Agricultural expansion and intensification annual & perennial non-timber crops - shifting agriculture happening now some of area/population (10-49%) slow but significant deterioration medium
Agricultural expansion and intensification marine and freshwater aquaculture - industrial aquaculture happening now some of area/population (10-49%) slow but significant deterioration medium
Invasive and other problematic species and genes invasive non-native/alien species/diseases - named species happening now small area/few individuals (<10%) slow but significant deterioration low
Over-exploitation, persecution and control of species hunting & collecting terrestrial animals - unintentional effects (species is not the target) happening now some of area/population (10-49%) slow but significant deterioration medium
Transportation and service corridors roads and railroads happening now small area/few individuals (<10%) slow but significant deterioration low

Forest   22918 8038 36 95 very unfavourable

Leptoptilos javanicus Lesser Adjutant 142 112 individuals 79 near favourable
Pelecanus philippensis Spot-billed Pelican 14 14 individuals 100 favourable

Most of site (50-90%) covered (including the most critical parts for important bird species)  A management plan exists but it is out of date or not comprehensive  Substantive conservation measures are being implemented but these are not comprehensive and are limited by resources and capacity  medium 

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
U Minh Thuong National Park 0 protected area overlaps with site 0  
U Minh Thuong Nature Reserve 8,509 protected area contained by site 8,038  

Habitats

IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Forest Mangrove forest (tropical); Peat swamp forest (tropical)  20%
Grassland   15%
Artificial - terrestrial Abandoned farmland, disturbed ground; Improved pasture land; Perennial crops, orchards and groves; Rice paddies; Small settlements, rural gardens  50%
Wetlands (inland) Artificial wetlands; Permanent swamps; Rivers and streams  15%

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
agriculture 50%
Notes: Permanent Agriculture.
forestry 9%
nature conservation and research 36%
Notes: 8038 ha core area
not utilised 6%

Protection status U Minh Thuong Nature reserve was established in 1993 and is contained by the IBA (overlap = 8509 ha).The core zone of U Minh Thuong Nature Reserve, which covers an area of 8,509 ha, is currently under the management of the provincial Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (DARD) and protected by the provincial Forestry Protection Department (FPD). The core zone is surrounded by a bufferzone of 13,291. The bufferzone was defined in 1993, when a government- sponsored land allocation programme resulted in the settlement of nearly 20,000 landless people into the area. It is unclear whether the buffer zone is included within the nature reserve or not. The project document for the CARE U Minh Thuong Conservation and Community Development Project gives the total area of U Minh Thuong as 21,800 ha, which incudes both the core and buffer zones. According to the Ministry of Forestry, however, buffer zones are contiguous to, but outside of, special-use forests.

Further web sources of information 

Site account from Directory of Important Bird Areas in Vietnam: key sites for conservation (Tordoff 2002)

References Birdlife International and the Forest Inventory and Planning Instutute (2001) Sourcebook of existing and proposed protected areas in Vietnam. Hanoi, Vietnam: BirdLife International Vietnam Programme and the Forest Inventory and Planning Institute.Buckton, S. T., Ngyuyen Cu, Nguyen Duc Tu and Ha Quy Quynh (1999) The conservation of key wetland sites in the Mekong delta. Hanoi: Birdlife International Vietnam programme.CARE International in Vietnam (1998) U Minh Thuong Nature Reserve Conservation and Community Development Project. Unpublished report to the U Minh Thuong Nature Reserve Conservation and Community Development Project.Safford, R. J., Tran Triet, Maltby, E. and Duong Van Ni (1998) Status, biodiversity and management of the U Minh wetlands, Vietnam. Tropical Biodiversity 5(3): 217-244Nguyen Phuc Bao Hoa in prep.Safford unpublished 1996-1997.

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2014) Important Bird Areas factsheet: U Minh Thuong. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 25/12/2014

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