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Bi Doup-Nui Ba Nature Reserve
Vietnam is one of the world’s top ten global conifer conservation hotspots. 
Bi Doup-Nui Ba Nature Reserve (above) and adjacent areas in Vietnam’s Central
Highlands have the country’s largest contiguous area of coniferous montane forests.


Vietnam is ranked as the 16th most important country for biodiversity and is widely recognized to have a globally significant proportion of rare and endemic species. An estimated 12,000 to 15,000 plant species, representing 3.2 percent of the world’s botanical diversity, occur in Vietnam, and nearly 20 percent of known plants are endemic. The country now supports ca. 10 to 12 percent cover of closed tropical forest; less than one percent is in a pristine state — restricted mainly to isolated mountain regions that are poorly studied but undoubtedly high in biodiversity and endemism. Many of Vietnam’s native plants and animals are endangered by one of the world’s fastest rates of deforestation and associated population growth. These stresses, together with the country’s rapid opening of an international market economy, bring particular urgency to the need for up-to-date biological information, training, and conservation to protect Vietnam’s unique biodiversity.

Nepenthes thorelii, Lo Go – Xa Mat National Park
Nepenthes thorelii,
Lo Go – Xa Mat National Park
Duperrea pavettifolia,
Ke Bang limestone massif
Duperrea pavettifolia,
Ke Bang limestone massif

In Vietnam, the Missouri Botanical Garden (MBG) has collaborated for more than fifteen years in a Vietnam Botanical Conservation Program of research, training, and conservation activities, initially

Utricularia delphinioides, Lo Go – Xa Mat National Park
Utricularia delphinioides,
Lo Go – Xa Mat National Park
with the Institute of Ecology and Biological Resources in Hanoi and subsequently with four additional partner institutions — the National Institute of Medicinal Materials (formerly, the Institute of Materia Medica); the Department of Botany, Vietnam National University; the Forest Inventory and Planning Institute; and the Forest Protection Department. Since 1999, MBG has maintained a permanent office in Hanoi, with an in-country resident botanist who leads the program. By strengthening collaboration among the partner institutions, as well as collaboration between them and international conservation organizations, MBG’s program has helped to establish a new, integrated approach to conservation of Vietnam’s rich biotic diversity, incorporating natural resource management in understanding of plants, which are critical to preservation of ecosystems and survival of other endangered organisms. The program has created strong links between research on the flora of Vietnam, its practical utility, and ongoing conservation planning and management. Within this context, the program, which focused initially on northern and central Vietnam, has extended its activities to southern Vietnam and to transboundary areas bordering Cambodia and Laos that together form an ecoregion of global biodiversity significance.

The objectives of the program are:

  • To conduct inventories of plants in threatened regions of high biotic importance and to disseminate the results
  • To build long-term institutional and intellectual capacity in Vietnam for science and conservation through a multi-tiered training program for university students, park rangers, forest protection officers, and technical staff of botanical institutions
  • Collaboratively with other conservation organizations, to engage a network of botanists and conservation biologists in assessing the status and distribution of globally threatened plant species in Vietnam and other countries in Indochina and in using the resulting knowledge to develop action plans for species of critical conservation concern
  • To improve biodiversity conservation and protected area systems management in Indochina by continuing to extend exploration, capacity building, and community-based natural resource management to protected areas spanning Vietnam’s boundary with Laos in the north and Cambodia in the south
  • To reduce pressures on wild plant populations by continuing community-based conservation activities and awareness programs in Vietnam, engaging and training residents of communities adjoining protected areas in both in situ and ex situ conservation, and assisting communities in developing ecologically sustainable economic activities that strengthen the incentive to conserve wild plants in their habitats
  • For more information, contact
    Jack Regalado

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    Director, CCSD, Missouri Botanical Garden, P.O. Box 299, St. Louis, MO 63166 Phone: (314) 577-0871 © 2014