The country, already home to more than 12,000 species of plants and 7,000 species of animals, is discovering new species all the time. The muntjac
, 2 large mammals, are just 2 examples of the many species which have been discovered in Vietnam during the past 10 years.
Recognizing the significance of the country's biodiversity, the government of Vietnam has set aside large portions of the country as protected areas, including national parks and nature reserves.
But, in spite of these efforts, many habitats and their associated flora and fauna, are being threatened.
Human activity negatively impacts biodiversity
The rapid development of the country has narrowed or wiped out important, but non-protected areas; forest fires do irreparable damage to the landscape; illegal wildlife poaching (and trade)
exploit delicate species; and pollution of the environment (from a variety of sources) have all taken their toll on Vietnam's biodiversity.
Marine areas severely affected
During the past 50 years, 96% of Vietnam's coral reefs have been seriously damaged, 80% of the total area of mangroves has been decimated, and many species of wildlife have been lost forever. More on the oceans and coasts of the Greater Mekong./a>