An international workshop was held in Hanoi on September 4 on the draft proposal for the Lang Biang Biosphere Reserve, which will be submitted to UNESCO.

Co-organised by the Vietnam National Commission for UNESCO and the People’s Committee of Lam Dong province, the event brought together a group of national and international scientists and experts, as well as representatives from several international organisations.

The Lang Biang Biosphere Reserve will span 260,000ha, with its core area of 56,000ha encompassing Bidoup-Nui Ba National Park.

An 86,000-hectare buffer zone, in which human settlement is permitted, will surround the reserve’s core.

The remaining 118,000ha comprise a wide transitional area covering parts of Da Lat city and Lac Duong, Lam Ha, Duc Trong and Don Duong districts.

The Lang Biang Biosphere Reserve's core area, a national centre for biodiversity conservation, is home to more than 2,000 plant species and nearly 400 animal species, of which 127 are rare species included on Vietnam's red list.

Speaking at the workshop, Vice Chairman of Lam Dong provincial People’s Committee Pham S highlighted the need to conserve the reserve’s biodiversity, saying it plays a vital role in preserving protective forests and providing environmental services, which in turn promote socio-economic development in the locality.

Nguyen Hoang Tri, Secretary General of the National Man and Biosphere Programme said the value of Lang Biang lies in its connection to the culture of the Central Highlands region.

Participants agreed that in order to complete the scientific database new data on the reserve should be collected.

Experts said it is vital to collect more information on the reserve's flora and fauna, as well as environmental protection measures, due to their essential contributions to sustainable ecosystems.

Additional surveys on the participation of the community in conserving and developing the reserve were considered important, particularly with regard to green economic growth.

According to schedule, all the necessary English and Vietnamese documents will be completed and submitted to UNESCO in September.

Vietnam currently has eight UNESCO-recognised Biosphere Reserves: Can Gio Mangrove Swamp, Cat Ba, Cat Tien, Cu Lao Cham-Hoi An, Kien Giang, Mui Ca Mau, the Red River Delta, and Western Nghe An.-VNA