Mabian Dafengding Nature Reserve was established in 1979 and was subsequently upgraded to national grade status in 1994. Situated in the south west of Sichuan province, Mabian Dafengding Nature reserve is relatively small, occupying a total area of 301.6Km2 in the county of Mabian, with altitudes ranging from 800m to 4042m above sea level.
Mabian Dafengding Nature Reserve together with two other smaller reserves, one of which called Meigu Dafengding, ranges in the Liangshan 'Yi' tribe autonomous region.
According to the National Survey conducted in 1980s, Mabian was recorded to be home to a population of giant pandas which also frequent the neighbouring reserve areas.
The local communities living peripheral to the Nature Reserve predominately belong to the 'Yi' tribe. Like many of China's minority tribes, the 'Yi' tribe is rich in culture, its traditions in some ways associate the lives the people with Mabian Dafengding Nature Reserve.