A nature preservation project in Vietnam was introduced at a UN biodiversity press briefing in New York Friday after it successfully combined ecological protection with projects that raised local living standards.
The United Nations Development Program, which called the briefing, said the Phu My Nature Preservation Project had effectively protected biodiversity in the Mekong Delta province of Kien Giang.
Project director Tran Triet said the initiative to protect bang weed (Lepironia articulata), part of the habitat of endangered red-head crane, began in 2004. He told the briefing local residents were allowed to plant bang in the area while protecting it.
The project helped 300 local families triple their income through added value as participants were instructed on how to make handicraft products from the weed for export to 12 countries instead of selling the material raw as they had been doing.
He said the project, which also aimed to maintain 2,000 hectares of wetlands in Phu My Commune, Kien Luong District, has raised the local crane population to more than 200, among the largest population in the Mekong Delta region.
Triet said the project would continue to encourage residents to plant bang.
The project is supported by the World Bank and UNDP but is now seeking support from local firms, he said.
In the past 50 years, a number of fauna and flora species have vanished thousands of times faster than their natural speed of development, the UN said at the briefing.