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Can Gio Mangrove Biosphere Reserve, Viet Nam

The Can Gio Mangrove Biosphere Reserve is located in the coastal district southeast of Ho Chi Minh City. The reserve provides opportunities to advance environmental protection across a continuum of habitats, ranging from coastal areas to the boundaries of Ho Chi Minh City, the biggest industrial city in Viet Nam. The mangrove forest hosts the highest diversity of mangrove plant species, mangrove-dwelling invertebrates and mangrove-associated fish and shellfish species in the sub-region, and is regarded as the ‘green lungs’ of the city.

Designation date: 2000


Regional network:  SeaBRnet

Ecosystem-based network: Tropical Forest and Mangroves




    Surface : 75,740 ha

    • Core area(s): 4,721 ha 
    • Buffer zone(s): 41,139 ha (terrestrial: 37,339 ha; marine: 3,800 ha)
    • Transition zone(s): 29,880 ha (terrestrial: 29,310 ha; marine: 570 ha)

    Location: 10°31’12”N – 106°53’35”E

    Administrative Authorities

    Management Board of Can Gio Mangrove Biosphere Reserve

    Mr. Lê Đ3c Tuân

    Can Gio Mangrove Biosphere Reserve
    51A5, Nguyen Oanh Street, Ward 17 
    Go Vap District
    Ho Chi Minh City
    Viet Nam

    Tel.: +84 0903820139

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    Ecological Characteristics

    The Can Gio mangrove forest grew out of a comparatively recent brackish swamp with soil foundations created by the Saigon and Dong Nai Rivers. The development of the mangrove forest is dependent on high precipitation and a high density of rivers interweaving the area, which provide a rich and plentiful supply of alluvium in the estuarine regions. The soil formed in Can Gio has been created by a combination of clay alluvial depositions, vitriolic processes and a brackish water table.

    Can Gio encompasses diverse habitats including mangroves, wetlands, salt marshes, mud flats and sea grasses. The ecosystem functions as the ‘green lungs’ of Ho Chi Minh City absorbing carbon dioxide and other polluting agents on a daily basis.

    The mangroves contain a high diversity of floral and faunal species. These include mangrove species such as Rhizophora apiculate, Thespesia populnea and Acanthus ebracteatus. A high number of faunal species appear in the biosphere reserve including king cobra (Ophiophagus Hannah), saltwater crocodile (Crocodilus porosus), spot-billed pelican (Pelecanus philippensis) and fishing cat (Felis viverrina).

    Socio-Economic Characteristics

    There are no communities living in the core area and buffer zone with the exception of forest protectors and their households, forestry staff and a few fishermen who operate traditional shrimp-trappers in some canals within the mangrove forest. A permanent population of almost 70,000 inhabitants lives in the transition zone of the biosphere reserve. These include groups of non-indigenous local people, the majority of whom are Vietnamese. Minorities located in the reserve include Chinese and Khmer communities living together in concentrated communes and towns in the transition zone.

    The main economic activities are agriculture, aquaculture, fishing, salt-pan, trading and tourism. Revolutionary forces made active use of the region during the wars against France and the United States of America in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.


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    Last updated: December 2018