Environment, Development and Sustainability

, Volume 20, Issue 6, pp 2463–2485 | Cite as

Sustainable livelihoods development by utilization of geomorphological resources in the Bai Tu Long Bay, Quang Ninh Province, Vietnam

  • Nguyen Hieu
  • Hoang Thi Thu Huong
  • Luc Hens
  • Do Trung Hieu
  • Doan Thu Phuong
  • Pham Xuan Canh


Located in the humid tropical zone and endowed with carbonate sedimentary formations, Vietnam has unique karst landscapes where caves, limestone, and dolines are common. If well managed, these are valuable geomorphological resources for a sustainable socio-economic development. Although publications on sustainable livelihoods associated with conserving biodiversity and local culture are plentiful, there is still a lack of studies linking livelihood quality with the conservation of geomorphological resources, in particular in karst areas. This study assesses the geomorphological resources in Vietnam’s Bai Tu Long Bay and studies the relationship between livelihood and these resources. The current research area Bai Tu Long Bay is adjacent to the natural World Heritage site of Ha Long Bay in the Vietnamese part of the Gulf of Tonkin. Bai Tu Long is characterized by a karst landscape, which is at the same time similar but also different from Ha Long Bay. A field survey and interviews with 153 households allowed assessing people’s perception of the value of the geomorphological resources and their importance for local income. The results show that Bai Tu Long Bay has abundant, diverse, and unique geomorphological resources, which are valuable for tourism development. However, the local people are unaware of these values likely because they have no direct benefit from them. Further a sustainable development strategy for Bai Tu Long Bay is recommended. The outcome is a proposal for tourism initiatives aiming at realizing more sustainability in the area.


Sustainable livelihoods Karst Geotourism Vietnam 



This research was supported by project: “Study and propose the multi-benefit solutions for sustainable use of original karst caves and landscapes in Quang Ninh Province,” code: QG.14.10. We thank the Vietnam National University Ha Noi for financially supporting this project. We also thank anonymous reviewers and editors for their valuable and instructive comments which helped to improve our manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nguyen Hieu
    • 1
  • Hoang Thi Thu Huong
    • 2
  • Luc Hens
    • 3
  • Do Trung Hieu
    • 2
  • Doan Thu Phuong
    • 2
  • Pham Xuan Canh
    • 2
  1. 1.Vietnam National University (VNU)HanoiVietnam
  2. 2.VNU-University of ScienceHanoiVietnam
  3. 3.Flemish Institute for Technological Research (VITO)MolBelgium

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