Dong Nai Biosphere Reserve covering an area of 969,993ha was designated by UNESCO on June 29, 2011 to be the 580th biosphere reserve in the world, and the 8th in Vietnam.
The designation brings honor as well as responsibility for Party, Government, and people of Dong Nai Provinces and other provinces sharing the reserve to pursue the goal of “Preserve to Develop and Develop to Preserve”.
Dong Nai Biosphere Reserve encompasses provinces of Dong Nai, Lam Dong, Binh Duong, Binh Phuoc, and Dak Nong.
The Core Zone: 172,502ha including Cat Tien National Park (72,208ha), and Dong Nai Culture and Nature Reserve (100,294 ha.)
          The Buffer Zone: 349,995ha.      
         The Transition Zone: 447,496ha
Outstanding values of the Dong Nai Biosphere Reserve
- High level of biodiversity resources representing the tropical rainforests in the South East of Viet Nam.
- Centrally located, Dong Nai Biosphere Reserve is 40km from Bien Hoa City, 70km from Ho Chi Minh City. 
- Used to be a revolutionary base with many historical and cultural relics such as the Headquarters for Eastern Region Party Committee, The Central Committee for South Vietnam, and Suoi Linh Tunnel.
- 13 ethnic minorities with distinct cultures have lived in here.
Development orientation
- Dong Nai Biosphere Reserve serves as a multipurpose conservation model for sustainable development, the harmonization between human and nature based on the biodiversity and traditional customs maintained a long time ago. The model is promising viewpoint of “preserve to develop, develop to preserve.”
- Inter-department coordination: Together, the management agencies, local communities, industries, business, and international community share the benefits and responsibilities in the management of the natural resources.
- Economic quality: The brand Biosphere Reserve promotes and encourages the economic investment in green economy with a strong emphasis on resource sustainability and environmental friendliness.
Dong Nai Biosphere Reserve is willing to join hands with scientists, research institutes, universities, investors, organizations and individuals nationally as well as internationally to promote the exploration of the hidden potentials.
Action Plan
- Raising people’s awareness through education and communication.
- Improving quality of life for local people.
- Research on biodiversity and cultural heritage to find solutions for conservation and development.
- Branding of local products.
- Investing in tourism development.
- Training of human resources.
Management mechanism in Dong Nai Biosphere Reserve
Dong Nai Biosphere Reserve has organized its management personnel as follows:
- The Management Board of Dong Nai Biosphere Reserve includes 1 Manager and 4 Deputy-Managers. Manager of the Board is Vice Chairman of Dong Nai Province People’s Committee.  The Deputy-Managers are leaders of the Department of Culture, Sports, Tourism, and Agriculture and Rural Development, Director of Cat Tien National Park and Director of Dong Nai Culture and Nature Reserve. Members of the Management Board are the leaders of related departments, organizations, agencies, and local authorities.
- Advisory Board includes the Chairman, Vice Chairman and members.
- Secretary Board: assist the Management Board and Advisory Board of Dong Nai Biosphere Reserve, these secretaries work on a part-time basis, and are from Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism, Cat Tien National Park, and Dong Nai Culture Nature Reserve.
Coordination between Dong Nai Biosphere Reserve and relevant departments and organizations
The Biosphere Reserve spans several districts of provinces of Lam Dong, Binh Phuoc, Binh Duong, Dak Nong.  Hence the cooperation among those provinces in the management, protection of biodiversity, natural resources, historical, and cultural relics are necessary.
Operation of Dong Nai Biosphere Reserve relates to the operation of relevant departments, agencies, local authorities, the socio-political organizations, socio-professional organizations and the Management Board of special-use forests. These organizations based on their functions and duties will work together under the  management regulations of Dong Nai Biosphere Reserve.
Responsibilities of the people living in the Dong Nai Biosphere Reserve
- Protect the environment, conserve the biodiversity and maintain the cultural heritage.
- Be friends with the environment.
- Protect and preserve varieties of plants, wild animals, biodiversity, forest and ecosystems.
“Biosphere reserve” is the term the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization grants to natural reserves which have variously unique faunas and floras systems.
What does the World Biosphere Reserve mean?
According to UNESCO’s definition, “biosphere reserves are the areas of terrestrial and coastal ecosystems promoting solutions to reconcile the conservation of biodiversity with its sustainable use”. These areas have outstanding values and internationally recognized.
Establishment of biosphere reserves is to solve one of the most important issues that people are facing today. That is how to create a balance between the conservation of biodiversity, the natural resources, and socio-economic development, and to maintain traditional cultural values to meet the increasing needs of the people.
What are the functions of biosphere reserves?
Biosphere Reserves have three major functions.
- Conservation: to contribute to the conservation of landscapes, ecosystems, species, and genetic variation;
- Development: to foster economic and human development which is socio-culturally and ecologically sustainable;
- Logistic: to provide support for research, monitoring, education, and information exchange related to local, national and global issues of conservation and development.
Criteria for designation as a Biosphere Reserve
There are 7 general criteria for an area to be qualified for designation as a biosphere reserve:
1. Encompass a mosaic of ecological systems representative of major biogeographic region, including a gradation of human intervention.
2. Be of significance for biological diversity conservation.
3. Provide an opportunity to explore and demonstrate approaches to sustainable development on a regional scale.
4. Have an appropriate size to serve the three functions of biosphere reserves. 
5. Through appropriate zonation:
+ A legally constituted core area or areas devoted to long term protection, according to the conservation objectives of the biosphere reserve, and of sufficient size to meet these objectives?
+ A buffer zone or zones clearly identified and surrounding or contiguous to the core area or areas, where only activities compatible with the conservation objectives can take place.
+ An outer transition area where sustainable resources management practices area promoted and developed.
6. Organizational arrangements should be provided for the involvement and participation of a suitable range of inter alia public authorities, local communities and private interests in the design and the carrying out of the functions of a biosphere reserve.
7. Mechanisms for implementation: mechanisms to manage human use and activities in the buffer zones or zones; a management plan or policy for the area as a biosphere reserve; a designated authority or mechanism to implement this policy or plan; programmes for research, monitoring, education and training.
What are the components of a biosphere reserve?
All biosphere reserves have 3 distinct zones:
- Core Zone: this area is for biodiversity conservation and monitoring of ecosystem, research, monitoring which do not affect the biodiversity.
- Buffer zone: The areas surrounding the Core Zone limiting the affection of human on the conservation in the Core Zone. In the Buffer Zone, activities of economic development, legal exploitation of natural resources, eco-tourism, research, education, training, helping the people earn a living are allowed in certain manner.
- Transition Zone:  models of economic development and cooperation are encouraged to promote with the participation of managers, economic organizations, unions of religion, culture, society, researchers, educators, etc.  
World Network of Biosphere Reserves (WNBR)
Network of the World Biosphere Reserve was formed in 1976.  By May 31, 2013, there are 621 biosphere reserves belong to 117 countries and territories. By December 2012, the countries have the most number of biosphere reserves are The United States (47), Spain (42), Russia (41), Mexico (41), and China (31).
Vietnam has 9 biosphere reserves designated by UNESCO.
9 Biosphere reserves in Vietnam
Designation Date
Total area (ha)
Administrative boundary
Can Gio Biosphere Reserve
(Mangrove forest)
21 January 2000
Ho Chi Minh City
Dong Nai Biosphere Reserve
The first recognition dated10 November 2001
The second designation dated: 29 June 2011
Dong Nai, Binh Duong, Binh Phuoc, Lam Dong and Dak Nong Province
Cat Ba Biosphere Reserve
2 December 2004
Hai Phong City
Red River Delta Biosphere Reserve 
20 December 2004
Thai Binh, Nam Dinh, Ninh Binh Province
Kien Giang Biosphere Reserve
27 October 2006
Kien Giang Province
Tay Nghe An Biosphere Reserve
18 September 2007
Nghe An Province
Ca Mau Biosphere Reserve
26 May 2009
Ca Mau Province
Cu Lao Cham Biosphere Reserve in Hoi An
26 May 2009
Quang Nam Province
Lang-Biang Biosphere Reserve
9 June, 2015
Lam Dong Province