The research has been carried out in parts of Quang Tri, Quang Binh and Thua Thien Hue provinces that have been affected by the operation of Ho Chi Minh Highway in the past two years. After the highway came into operation the regions have undergone significant socio-economic changes and the ecological environment has been also affected. The vegetation cover has significantly increased for the period of ten years before the road construction. For example, by the year 1997, the total forest cover was 54,875ha, but in the year 2007, the total forest cover has increased to 103,892ha. The percentage of the rich forest was reduced (4%). In the contrast, the forest of medium quality was increased (3%). In addition, total inhabitant area increased to over 3,052ha. Meanwhile, the agricultural land decreased by 45,000ha, from 59,000ha by the year 1997 to 13,000ha by the year 2007. Moreover, the management, policies and the regulations were not suitable; therefore the rare plant species and the valuable forest products were significant reduced. Hence, the most negative effects of Ho Chi Minh Highway are harsh on the natural environment and biodiversity, especially on plant diversity. On the other hand, the relation between vegetation cover and land types in these areas shows the connection between vegetation types and the socio-economic development. However, the effects of Ho Chi Minh Highway on vegetation cover are less discernible, since the period of road operation is rather short. We need more research to better understand the positive and negative effects of the Ho Chi Minh Highway.
Do Huu Thu, Dang Thi Thu Huong, Le Dong Tan
(Proceedings of 3rd National Scientific Conference on Ecology and Biological Resources, Hanoi 22th October 2009 - IEBR)