Connecting students to their world through natural history science

TEAM 2

Team 2: Vu Minh and Nhat Minh

1. How did you choose your topic?

We have chosen to examine how the deforestation of Son Tra affects the current population of Pygathrix Nemaeus and what can be done to protect them. The Pygathrix Nemaeus, known as doucs, is one of 25 primate species living in Vietnam and is one of the most prime species of Indochina. Although they are spread from the North central region to the Central Highlands in Vietnam, only the doucs in Son Tra can be accessed and thoroughly researched. The species is a gregarious animal and live with their families in packs. The trees are crucial for the survival of the pygathrix nemaeus because the trees are their homes and also their source of food.

There are currently 550 individuals of the Pygathrix Nemaeus (red-shanked douc) living in Vietnam, which makes up 83% of the species’ worldwide population, and they are most populous in the Son Tra nature reserve. According to research, the number of pygathrix nemaeus on the Son Tra peninsula has been stable since 2007 at around 300 individuals.

The pygathrix nemaeus is valuable for the recovery of both primary and secondary forests, while simultaneously being a key factor in the ecosystem. They play an essential role in biological control. For example, the doucs eat the convolvulus plant, a fast growing plant which can have negative effects on the natural ecosystem in Son Tra if it is not constrained.

The deforestation at Son Tra on 25/2/2016 has caught our attention as scientists assume that this deforestation has made a huge impact on the pygathrix nemaeus’ life. The ecosystem has been ruined, trees have been cut down and consequently, it makes it impossible for pygathrix nemaeus to live in this ruined environment.

We think it is a serious issue since illegal deforestation is an on-going problem in the Son Tra nature reserve. Due to illegal hunting, road construction, resort and restaurant establishments, cultivation and fruit tree growing, the habitat of Pygathrix Nemaeus is reduced which forces them to live in narrow and isolated areas. As a result they do not have opportunities to interact with other populations and exchange genetic sources, leading to the long-term risk of genetic degeneration.

The research conducted by GreenViet – a NGO based in Da Nang – shows that there were about 13-14 packs of pygathrix nemaeus with more than 135 individuals living in the three areas that have been destroyed recently. In addition, recent deforestation cases have had a large negative impact on pygathrix nemaeus, resulting in the emigration of 75 individuals. At the moment there are no signs of them in the nearby area.

It is an urgent matter to monitor the surviving doucs as well as protecting the forests to ensure that the doucs will return to their natural habitat. Due to this, we wish to examine the deforestation of Son Tra and its impact on the pygathrix nemaeus. Based on this research we will propose solutions on how and what our young students can do to save them.

2. How did you conduct your research?

With the subject protection of Pygathrix Nemaeus in Son Tra, Vietnam, our team will focus on examining two key questions:

To what extend does the recent deforestation revealed at Son Tra on 25/2/2016 affect the current population of Pygathrix Nemaeus?

How can we as student help protect the Pygathrix Nemaeus and ensure their survival?

We examine these questions by looking at a number of articles from Vietnamese newspapers, ask staff from NGOs and scientists for more information on the pygathrix nemaeus. We will also conduct our research by studying in the field, where we will conduct interviews with scientists at the museum of nature in Vietnam and other scientist in Hanoi to find out more information on pygathrix nemaeus. We will also have a field trip to Son Tra and interview people there to get information for our research. Based on our research, we will present our results in a report as well as through our exhibition.

3. How did you select your entry category and create your project?

We have chosen to share our findings in an Exhibition and below is an example of how we will present our project exhibit:

team-2

We will follow the instructions of the guide book to prepare for our exhibition. We have chosen to present our project in an exhibit because we think it is the best way to provide the audience with all the information needed. We will have done a lot of research and will provide a lot of information, where we believe that an exhibit is a better method to give all the information to the audience and also allow the audience to read more and multiple times, if they have further questions.

4. How does your project relate to GNHD annual theme?

This proposal is very relevant to this year’s theme: Relationships in Nature. We can clearly see the relations and impact in biodiversity and the forest to the lives of pygathrix nemaeus. We can also see the effect of recent deforestation in Son Tra. This year, the GNHD annual theme is “The relationship in nature” and our project examines and describes the relationship between pygathrix nemaeus and the nature of Son Tra very clearly. Our involvement in the world does not only affect us, but it also affects our environment, our community and our planet and this is the reason why we think our project is important to examine.

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