Sustainable Use of Cam Thanh Nypa Wetlands, Hoi An City, Quang Nam Province

Tourism boat in nipa wetland in Cam Thanh

Tourism boat in nipa wetland in Cam Thanh, Cam Thanh, Hoi An, Quang Nam © IUCN Vietnam


Local communities of Cam Thanh commune use the Nypa wetland in a sustainable way and getting economic benefits from them


Cam Thanh Commune of Hoi An City, Quang Nam Province situates in a lower Thu Bon River mouth, about 3km south-east of Hoi An City and 28 km southward from Da Nang City.Cam Thanh has a complex topography, which is fragmented by multiple rivers and channels, which account for up to nearly 40% of the total land acreage.The most well grown and common plants seen in Cam Thanh are Nypa palms (Nypa fruticans), which creates an unique and scenic mangrove ecosystem for Hoi An Heritage City. For people in Cam Thanh commune, Nypa wetland provide many values such as fish, shells, Nypa leaves and other products, and asthetic landscape for tourism. Nypa palm forest also provided very important function to local people as it serve as ideal refuge for boats during heavy storms and typhoons. Local people highly appreciate this value of the Nypa palm forest. However, Nypa palm wetland areas are degrading in term of both quanlity and quantity. According to information provided by local people, Nypa wetlands were more substantial until 1990s, but now only approximately 60 ha remain, due primarily to a number of key factors including:

Shrimp farming activity: Aquaculture has been still the main economic activities in Cam Thanh with 114 ha for aquculture. However, many farmers are looking for alternative or additional economic activities due to production unstable or even failure from shrimp farming caused by shrimp diseases and/or environmental pollution. The question is what could be the alternative or additional livelihoods which provide good income as well as sustainability.

Nypa leave processing: It was reported that Nypa palm wetland areas along the Thu Bon River estuary are being exploited at near maximum sustainable yield: the average density is around 1 tree/m2; leaves are cut from the trees twice per year; 3-4 leaves are left each time to enable the tree to survive and grow. According to current observation in field survey, Nypa leaves are cut from trees even 4 times per year and only 1-2 leaves are left for growing (Picture 1). In addition, all waste and other parts of Nypa leaves remained after each haversing time are thrown into the water causing pollution of the surface water. This is a real threat in maintaining both substantial area of Nypa wetland and quality of Nypa leave products.

Fisheries exploitation: Information from discussion with local parners shows that destructive methods such as electric shock or dense mesh fishing net are still being used by some households that lead to reduction of aquatic resources, especially small fish of valuable species, and further destruction of mangrove ecosystem.

Tourism is still a strong economic sector in Cam Thanh. Currently, there are a number of tours designed specifically for Cam Thanh Nypa wetland area, such as: boat tours of Hoi An Eco-tour, a commune tourism group (cooperative style) comprising of 25 households; bicycle tours around Bay Mau Nypa forest operated by Heaven and Earth Company, and Hoi An Photo tour operated by locally-based professional photographers to capture amazing sceneries and landscapes, especially in Cam Thanh. Most recently, there is a new Eco-tour model named “Discover Cam Thanh” established by Cam Thanh PC, and Cam Thanh communities and Action For The City. This Eco-tour model helps the tourists to discover and experience the taste of Cam Thanh on a bike. Commue tourism groups and Cam Thanh householders will be participate to “Discover Cam Thanh” under providing different kinds of service for tourists. This Eco-tour model is aimed to contribute to enhancing the livelihood of Cam Thanh people, protect the environment and preserve the cultural identity of this place. However this model is still being in the stage of improvement as a discussion with Cam Thanh PC.

From the above-mentioned context, key problems are identified to be addressed include:

+ Nypa wetland in Cam Thanh continues under threat of destruction due to unsustainable exploitation: over harvesting leaves, collection of aquatic animals using destructive methods. Climate change impact (sea level rise, extreme storm events) and pollution (from aquaculture and upstream development) also contribute additional threats to the wetland.

+ Lack of knowledge about values and functions of wetland in general, and of Nypa wetland in Cam Thanh in particular on which to base sustainable use activities.

+ Lack of regulations and mechanisms on sharing of benefits from ecotourism activities.

+ Lack of a long term tourism strategy for Cam Thanh.

+ Little additional and alternative income options which apply ecosystem-based and community- based approaches are introduced to local people.

Target beneficiaries

Local people in Cam Thanh Commune


- Awareness and capacity on sustainable use of Nypa wetland of stakeholders in Cam Thanh Commune is raised 

- A model for community-based ecotourim is created and operated 

Contributions to cross-cutting themes

 - Incorporate information on the potential impacts of climate change in awareness raising programs. The information to support awareness raising can be drawn from the outputs of the climate change risk assessment process

- Alternative livelihoods through sustainable use of Nypa wetland products and services and Nypa and mangrove plantation are designed for climate change adaptation

- Incorporate 
information on the 
potential impacts of 
climate change in 
awareness raising 
programs. The 
information to 
support awareness 
raising can be drawn 
from the outputs of 
the climate change 
risk assessment 
- alternative 
livelihoods through 
sustainable use of 
Nypa wetland 
products and 
services and Nypa 
and mangrove 
plantation are 
designed for climate 
change adaptation


Project Facts



Cam Thanh Commune, Hoi An City, Quang Nam Province



1st Apr 2013 to 31st Mar 2015

MFF Grant Amount


Implementing Partner


Centre for Natural Resources and Environmental 
Studies (CRES) - Vietnam National University 
19 Le Thanh Tong Street Hanoi - VIETNAM 
Telephone: +(84-4) 25 35 06 
Fax: +(84-4) 26 29 32 

Centre for Natural Resources and Environmental Studies (CRES) - Vietnam National University 

19 Le Thanh Tong Street Hanoi - Vietnam


Telephone: +(84-4) 25 35 06 

Fax: +(84-4) 26 29 32 

Related Images

  • Tourism boat in nipa wetland in Cam Thanh
  • Nipa Palm in Cam Thanh

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