Cat Ba Island, Vietnam
The Cat Ba Islands in northern Vietnam, consist of a large limestone island with a maximum height of 322 m above sea level and 366 small limestone islets with a total area of about 180 km2. The islands are relicts of karst limestone mountains that became submerged during the Holocene transgression 7000 - 8000 year ago. The ecosystems on the Cat Ba Islands that support very high species biodiversity include tropical evergreen rainforests, soft bottoms; coral reefs, mangrove forests, and marine karst lakes. A total of 2,380 species have been recorded in the Cat Ba Islands, included 741 species of terrestrial plants; 282 species of terrestrial animals; 30 species of mangrove plants; 287 species of phytoplankton; 79 species of seaweed; 79 species of zooplankton; 196 species of marine fishes; 154 species of corals; and 538 species of zoobenthos. Many of these species are listed in the Red Book of Vietnam as endangered species, included the white-headed or Cat Ba langur (Trachypithecus poliocephalus), a famous endemic species. Human activities have resulted in significantly changes to the landscape end ecosytems of the Cat Ba islands; however, many natural aspects of the islandsd have been preserved. For this reason, the Cat Ba Islands were recognized as a Biological Reserved Area by UNESCO in 2004.
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