Building peace in the minds of men and women

Xishuangbanna Biosphere Reserve, China

Located in the south-west tip of Yunnan province, in south-west of China, Xishuangbanna Biosphere Reserve borders Laos to the east and Myanmar to the west (Mekong region or upper Mekong basin). Currently, it comprises the largest and most comprehensive tropical forest in China. Due to its unique geographic and climate aspect, it contains the richest biodiversity in China. Tourism, agriculture, and fishing are the main economic industry in the Reserve.

Designation date: 1993

Photo gallery ǀ  Press release


Regional network: East Asian Biosphere Reserve Network (EABRN)

Ecosystem-based network:




    Surface : 242,510 ha

    • Core area(s) : 107,242 ha
    • Buffer zone(s) : 72,602 ha
    • Tansition zone(s): 62,484 ha

    Location: 25°25'6"N - 56°14'31"E

    Administrative authorities

    Xishuangbanna National Nature Reserve
    6, Galan North Road, Jinghong
    Yunnan 666100

    Tel.: +86 691-2127952


    Website ǀ Facebook ǀ Twitter

    Ecological Characteristics

    The Xishuangbanna National Nature Reserve is located in Xishuangbanna Dai Autonomous Prefecture of China's southern Yunnan and made up of five sub-reserves geographically disconnected, including Mengyang Sub-reserve, Menglun Sub-reserve, Mengla Sub-reserve, Shangyong Sub-reserve and Man’gao Sub-reserve, which are located from west to east in Menghai, Jinghong and Mengla, boasting a large comprehensive nature reserve focusing on protection of the tropical forest ecosystem and the rare wildlife, and being a tropical primitive forest area largest in China, complete in the tropical forest ecosystem and rich in biological resources.

    Moreover, it is rich in rare wild animals and plants, as well as rich rare and endangered species, boasting an area with the largest number of elephas maximus indicus population and relatively concentrated distribution in our country. The natural vegetation throughout the Reserve is divided into 8 natural vegetation types (i.e., the tropical rainforest, tropical monsoon forest, sub-tropical evergreen broad-leaved forest, deciduous broad-leaved forest, warm coniferous forest, bamboo forest, shrubbery and grass) and 38 formations. There are 2,772 species of vascular plants belonging to 1,003 genera and 212 families, including 262 species of ferns belonging to 90 genera and 40 families, and 2,510 species of seed plants belonging to 913 genera and 172 families. The reserve comprises 102 mammal species, 400 bird species, 63 reptile species, 38 amphibian species and 100 fish species. Besides, more than 90% of China’s wild elephant population is living in this region.


    Socio-economic characteristics

    Apart from its biodiversity, the reserve is also regarded as the richest ethnically diverse area. Among the total population of 880,000, there are Dai, Ahka, Lahu, Jinuo, Yi, Yao, Bulan, etc. They have been living in this region for generations, keeping the similar religion, culture and language with adjacent countries like Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Viet Nam. Most of them are still practicing their traditional slash and burn cultivation, which is one of the major threats to development due to low soil productivity. Currently, most ethnic groups receive cash income from paddy rice, tea, rubber plantations, fruits and some non-timber forest products (NTFP). The ecological tourism has got a rapid development recently, with the function of science popularization education increased in each scenic spot. At present, the Reserve has built up five tourist spots, accepting a total of 10.82 million person-times of tourists since 2004.

    A museum system has been set up in the Reserve and provided a good place for science popularization education targeting the primary and middle school students as well as the public throughout the Prefecture. The reserve has taken a series of protection measures to promote sustainable development, through reducing the interference within the reach of human activities in the main ecological landscape areas, strictly carrying out the fishing license system in the Reserve and controlling the fishing intensity, as well as developing the picking and sightseeing agriculture, adjusting the agricultural planting structure, implementing soil testing for formulated fertilization and using low-toxic and less-persistent pesticides to promote ecological agriculture.


    Back to Biosphere Reserves in China
    Back to Biosphere Reserves in Asia and the Pacific
    Back to World Network of Biosphere Reserves

    Last updated: July 2019