General goals of the project

The most significant impact of this project has been to establish connections between Vietnam's flora and the rest of the world, laying the foundation for more effective conservation measures and for modern analytical studies of its plant diversity. The project has helped to stimulate and support botanical research in that country and give a fresh impetus to botanical collecting and inventory efforts. The data rescued in the course of this project, especially for the target families discussed below, will make it possible to calculate regional collecting densities and identify geographic gaps in documentation of flora. The large numbers of identifications and feedback from the 11 project specialists, as well as from the extended specialist network, will help to quantify and characterize rare and endemic plant species, in addition to laying the foundation for biogeographic studies.

This project can help establish a sustainable management model for Vietnam's system of conservation areas. Vietnam's high level of plant diversity is unfortunately matched by severe threats to that diversity. It has the second highest rate of deforestation of primary forests in the world, and these have been reduced to only 0.26% of its land area, so it is urgent that the plant diversity of conservation areas be documented, analyzed, and protected. Vietnam's national parks are almost all very young and their floras are poorly documented or undocumented. Most suffer from a good deal of extraction of timber and other plant material, highlighting a critical need for public education and awareness in addition to maintaining the integrity of the vegetation and of plant populations of the parks.

At Bach Ma National Park, project participants trained staff and students in documenting flora, engaged them in locating and labeling populations of rare and/or endangered taxa identified by the project, and helped them compose interpretive signage and media for visitors to the park. Through IEBR, this effort can provide data and training for checklist projects under way in other national parks (Cuc Phuong, Pu Mat, Hoang Lien, Con Dao,) and nature reserves (Konkaking, Xuan Lien), and for flora projects now being planned (Tay Nguyen Region, Northwestern Vietnam).