Assessment and conservation of Orchid species

With the goal of updating the situation, building a list of threatened orchid species in Vietnam and proposing measures to protect these orchid species, Dr. Tran Huy Thai and the research team of Institute of Ecology and Biological Resources cooperated with Komorov Botanical Institute, Russian Federation to implement the project: "Assessment of orchid species (Orchidaceae) in Vietnam and the current status of conservation." (Project code: QTRU01.09/21-22). The project was graded Excellent by the Acceptance Council of Vietnam Academy of Science and Technology.

Orchids are a family of flowering plants, monocotyledons, with the largest number of species in Vietnamese plant families (about 870 to over 1000 species). Orchids of the Orchid family (Orchidaceae) are herbs, mostly living as additives on trees in the forest, with thriving aerogenic roots covered with thick layers of spongy tissue to store water. In some species, the roots are capable of photosynthesis, some species grow in soil with rhizomes or tubers. The body swelled in the practitioners, doing reserve duty. The leaves are close to each other at the base or alternate, of different shapes. Inflorescences or bunches, long slouched. Orchids are widely distributed but concentrated mainly in some mountainous forest areas of the North, Central, Central Highlands and Southeast. Orchids play an important role in Vietnam's economy and culture such as ornamental plants, decorative plants and medicinal plants (cough, bronchitis, hepatitis, wound treatment).



Orchid species of the Orchidaceae

Vietnam has many rare orchid species, but they are exploited to near an extermination and not well preserved, so many species are gradually disappearing. According to domestic studies, which have not yet been updated and this is enough, the number of threatened orchid species includes 68 species according to the Red Book of Vietnam (2007), with 54 species at classification E (Endangered), 10 species at VU level (Endangered) and 04 species at CR level (Very Endangered).  

The research team conducted field investigations in some provinces in the north of Vietnam (Lao Cai, Dien Bien, Cao Bang...) to collect data on newly assessed species that need additional assessment (classification, distribution and current conservation status, number of individuals, photos), threatened species according to the revised IUCN Red List (2018) and Averyanov (2011) and Averyanov (2011) 2019a, b). Next, the team assessed the status of threatened orchid species in Vietnam according to IUCN (2018) and Averyanov (2011, 2019) standards and rankings, making a List of Threatened Orchid species (Critically Endangered - CR, Endangered - EN and Will Endangered - VU).

After 2 years, the mission has developed a list of 200 selected orchid species in Vietnam, including 75 species in the Critically Endangered (CR) classification, 74 species in the Endangered (EN) classification and 51 species in the Vulnerable (VU) classification. There are 16 species in the Red Book of Vietnam, the rest are newly assessed at 184 species, bringing the total number of threatened orchid species in Vietnam to 252 species, of which 114 species are endemic to Vietnam, 27 species are in Appendix IA and 173 species are in Appendix IIA under Decree 84/2021 of Vietnamese Government.

These are new high-value data, serving as a basis for developing conservation plans according to their distribution area, proposing some solutions to protect the above-mentioned orchid species. Research on assessing threatened species should continue at a more detailed level of classification according to distribution area, residence, and number of individuals and populations of the species.

Translated by Phuong Ha
Link to Vietnamese version

Related news