Cat Tien national park is located 150km away from Ho Chi Minh City in the north and 40km in the south of Buon Ma Thuot city and straddles the border of three provinces – Lam Dong, Dong Nai and Binh Phuoc. It is an important national park located. It has an area of about 720 km² and protects one of the largest areas of lowland tropical rainforests left in Vietnam.
Cat Tien national park is a range that links two types of terrains: from South Truong Son highland to the South Delta, making it rich in biodiversity resources including forest ecosystems, flora, fauna, which is characteristic of Southeast Delta ecosystems.
Flora in Cat Tien national park is divided into five main forest types:
- Broad-leaf evergreen forest: mainly composed of Dipterocarpaceae, Fabaceae such as Dipterocarpus alatus, Dipterocarpus intricatus, Dalbergia bariensis, Dalbergia mammosa, Afzelia xylocarpa, and Pterocarpus macrocarpus.
- Broad-leaf forests/semi-evergreen: composed of species which are deciduous during the dry season such as, Lagerstoemia calyculata, Tetrameles nudiflora, and Anogeissus acuminata.
- Mixed forests of wood and bamboo: this is a revegetated forest of evergreen and semi- evergreen trees due to fire, toxic chemicals, canopy opened and bamboo introduced forest. The common species are Mesua sp., Lagerstoemia calyculata and the two main bamboo species are Bambusa procera and Gigantochloa sp.
- Pure bamboo forest: this is also secondary forest, which was caused by number of factors including, deforestation for cultivation, abandonment, and species invasion from bamboo.
- Wetland vegetation: the dominant vegetation are comprised of water-resistant species such as Colona sp., Barringtonia racemosa, and mixed with Erianthus arundinaceus and Saccharum spontaneum.
Several ethnic groups living in Cat Tien, including the Chau Ma (Maa’) and Stieng people have lived in the central valley of the reserve for several centuries, and several hundred people are currently resident. Visitors to the Park may wish to take a day trip to visit one of these communities around Talai, to the south of the park.
The Mammals in Cat Tien national Park:
- Gibbons, including tthe Golden cheeked gibbon and black-crested gibbons, Dao Tien island in the Dong Nai River has become the site of an important new ape rehabilition center This is one of the few locations where douc langurs are still recorded. The best way to conserve many of these species is to maintain a health forest eco-system including wild fruits for food.
Tiger and leopard have been recorded, but there have been no recent sightings, although cloudleopard may still be found.