Myanmar is one of the the world’s biodiversity hot spots rarely covered by the international academia and media. As a project of China’s Belt and Road Initiative, the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) on scientific research with the Myanmar Ministry of Natural Resources and Environmental Conservation (MONREC) in March 2016. According to the MOU, the Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden (XTBG) of CAS has worked with Myanmar’s Forest Research Institute to launch the CAS Southeast Asia Biodiversity Research Institute (SEABRI) in Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar.
Since then, CAS and MONREC have recruited an international scientific expedition team of 100 researchers from China and Myanmar and conducted the basic biodiversity survey in Myanmar. The aim of the survey was to complete the integral flora and fauna list of Myanmar and provide base evidence for future biodiversity conservation in Myanmar. The expedition team has carried out five successive large-scale field biodiversity surveys in northern Myanmar. They overcame all kinds of difficulties in the sparsely populated remote areas with inconvenient transport and insufficient logistic support. They traveled about 2,000 kilometers and recorded nearly 10,000 species of plants and animals, 10 of which are new. Their achievements have attracted global attention.
Over the years, the expedition team has grown into a dedicated professional team. All the team members are ready to contribute more to the friendship and scientific cooperation between China and Myanmar as well as biodiversity research and conservation in the region.