Ex Situ Conservation of the Vietnamese
Golden Cypress (Xanthocyparis vietnamensis)
Xanthocyparis vietnamensis is a newly discovered species and genus of conifer — only the third new conifer genus to be discovered in the last 50 years. It is known to occur in the wild only in a restricted area of limestone mountains in Vietnam’s northernmost province, Ha Giang, where selective logging, forest habitat loss, and degradation by fire and agricultural encroachment threaten the already small, severely fragmented population. Xanthocyparis vietnamensis has been designated as Critically Endangered globally according to the Criteria of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
The Center for Conservation and Sustainable Development (CCSD) and the Institute of Ecology and Biological Resources (IEBR) of the Vietnam Academy of Science and Technology in Hanoi are implementing a conservation action plan for the species. Among local communities and government agencies, we have raised awareness of threats to the species and promoted its stewardship. We collaborate with a nursery in Bat Dai Son Nature Reserve to cultivate seedlings and cuttings, and we are involving local residents in reintroducing saplings in degraded limestone areas where the species may have existed in the past. We are also developing ex situ conservation programs in Dong Van and Meo Vac districts, where the new native populations of the species were recently discovered. Nationally, we have secured its inclusion in the first priority group of the National List of Rare and Precious Flora and Fauna, a government decree that provides full legal protection and strictly prohibits exploitation and use for commercial purposes.