According to statistics, the ecosystem of tropical evergreen humid closed rain forests in Ha Long Bay and Bai Tu Long Bay has 477 magnolia species, 12 fern species and 20 mangrove species. There are four amphibian species, 10 reptile species, 40 bird species and 14 animal species. There is a type of petty monkey (with a small body) that is raised by special methods on Khi Island (Monkey Island).
The ecosystem of sea and coastline is mostly composed of green vegetation growing on limestone islands. In Ha Long, this ecosystem includes the wetland sub-ecosystem and the sea sub-ecosystem with their specific traits.
– Wetland sub-ecosystem: This is the tidal and mangrove ecology in Ha Long Bay, including 20 species of mangrove plants. The wetland sub-ecosystem of Ha Long is also home to 169 species of polychaete worms, 91 species of seaweed, 200 species of bird, 10 species of reptile and six species of other animals. The ecological type of “hard seabed and coral reefs” is mostly located in the Hang Trai, Cong Do and Van Gio areas. 232 species of coral have been found here. The part of the hard seabed and coral reefs are home to 81 species of gastropods, 130 bivalve species, 55 species of polychaete worms and 57 crab species. The sub-ecosystem of caves, grottos and island lakes in Ha Long Bay is very unique and rarely found elsewhere. The Tung Ngon area is a particular habitat for 65 species of coral, 40 species of animals living on the seabed and 18 species of seaweed. Here there are also four rare animal species recorded in the Viet Nam Red Book. The ecological type of “soft seabed” is the habitat of five species of seagrass, 140 species of seaweed, three polychaete worm species, 29 mollusk species and nine crustacean species. There is the ecology of “tidal grounds without mangrove forests” where mainly live species of bivalve mollusk and highly nutritional marine worms such as sipunculida, stichopus japonicus selenka and meretrix meretrix L.
– Sea sub-ecosystem: There are 185 species of phytoplankton plants in Ha Long Bay. There are 140 species of phytoplankton animals in the whole Ha Long-Cat Ba area. There are 500 species of “seabed” animals, of which are 300 mollusk species, 200 polychaete species and 13 echinoderms species. There are 326 species of self-traveling animals in Ha Long Bay.
Scientists evaluate that there are now about 347 plant species in Ha Long Bay, 16 species of which are endangered or will be endangered; they are listed in the Viet Nam Red Book. Among rare plants are 95 herb species, 37 bonsai species, 13 fruit tree species and 10 plant groups able to be used for different purposes.
Invertebrate species are diversified on islands of Ha Long Bay, especially those living in rocky hollows. There are 60 endemic animal species. In Ha Long are raised kinds of haliotidae sea snails, sea cucumber, sipunculida, shrimp, fish, and several kinds of squid, octopus, oysters and abalone. According to data of the Hai Phong Oceanographic Institute, among 1,151 animal species in Ha Long Bay there are nearly 500 fish species and 57 crab species. They are a rich source of animals of high economic value to be preserved and multiplied.
In 1937 Mr. Vu Xuan Tao discovered by chance a stone axe on Ngoc Vung Island, which aroused much interest of contemporary French archaeologists. This fact showed that Ha Long was not only a natural wonder but also a cradle of prehistoric people. Works of French archaeologists then proved that stone tools, ceramic containers, stone and bone jewelry in Ha Long Bay dated from the late Neolithic era. The French scientists also said that archaeological sites in Ha Long Bay were of the Danhdola Culture (Danhdola was the French name for Ngoc Vung Island).
In 1954 North Viet Nam was liberated. After that, Vietnamese and Soviet archaeologists conducted large-scale surveys in Ha Long Bay and surrounding areas. In 1960 smashed rock pieces and bronze arrows of the time of the Hung kings were found in the Tan Mai archaeological site of Ha Long Bay. These findings have confirmed the existence of the Ha Long Civilization of 3500-5000 years ago.
Since 1960 extensive archaeological and cultural surveys have been carried out in over 40 sites. An important conclusion was made that prehistoric men lived in Ha Long Bay in even more immemorial times. There was not only the Ha Long Culture of about 3-5 millennia ago, but there was also the Soi Nhu Culture dating 18,000 to 7000 BC. Soi Nhu Culture was expanded in the areas of Ha Long Bay and Bai Tu Long Bay. The most typical archaeological sites of Soi Nhu Culture are Me Cung, Tien Ong and Thien Long Caves. Primitive labor tools are the main remnants in these sites. Mountain snails (cyclophorus), stream snails (melania), and some fossils of mollusks living in fresh water were also found.
Scientists show that the principal methods of living of Soi Nhu inhabitants were catching snails, gathering plants and digging for plant tubers and roots. They already caught fish but the occupation of fishing was not yet in existence. Compared with the life of the inhabitants of the contemporary Hoa Binh and Bac Son Cultures, the life of Soi Nhu inhabitants was more affected by the sea because they lived closer to the sea.

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