ASIA FOREST NETWORK

The Asia Sustainable Forest Management Network supports the role of communities in protection and sustainable use of the region's natural forests. The Network comprises a small, select coalition of Asian planners, foresters, and scientists from government agencies, universities, and non-government organizations, many of whom have collaborated for years. The solidarity of the Network members is based on a common commitment to exploring alternative management strategies for Asia's disturbed natural forest lands. The emphasis of the Network's research includes the ecology of natural regeneration, the economics of non-timber forest product systems, and the community organizations and institutional arrangements which support participatory management. The lessons stemming from the research aim to inform field implementation procedures, reorient training, and guide policy reform.

For more information about the Network and its publications, please contact:

Center for Southeast Asia Studies
University of California, Berkeley
2223 Fulton Street, Room 617
Berkeley, CA 94720
U.S.A.
Tel: (510) 642-3609
Fax: (510) 643-7062

Institute of Environmental
Science for Social Change
1/F, Manila Observatory Bldg. (ESSC)
Loyola Heights, P.O. Box 244
1101 U.P. Diliman, Quezon City, Philippines
Tel: (63-2) 924-1751
Fax: (63-2) 924-4414

 

©1998 Asia Forest Network

 

Front cover photograph: An elder Dzao expert in traditional medicine displays one of the forest tubers that is a key ingredient in many of her prescriptions. Eighty percent of the households in Yen Son village, a buffer community of Ba Vi National Park, gain much of their cash income from ethnomedicine. (photo: Poffenberger)


 

 

STEWARDS OF VIETNAM'S UPLAND FORESTS

 

A collaborative study by the
Asia Forest Network
and the
Forest Inventory and Planning Institute

 

Vo Tri Chung
Eric Crystal
Nguyen Huy Dzung
Vu Van Dzung
Nguyen Huy Phon
Mark Poffenberger
Thomas Sikor
Jennifer
Sowerwine
Peter Walpole

 

Edited by

Mark Poffenberger

 

Research Network Report

Number 10 -- January 1998

 

 

 

CONTENTS

List of Figures and Boxes

Foreword

PART I:

THE NATIONAL FOREST SECTOR

1

Changing Forest Cover

1

A History of State-Upland Community Relationships

9

Adapting National Policies for Upland Contexts

12

Conclusion

15

PART II:

FOREST POLICY REFORM: FROM STATE TO HOUSEHOLD FORESTRY

18

State Forestry

19

Major Policies

19

Policy Outcomes

21

Problems of State Forestry

22

Household Forestry: The Emergence of a New Model

25

Major Policy Reforms

26

Experience from Policy Implementation

29

Conclusion

32

PART III:

COMMUNITY CASE STUDIES FROM UPLAND VIETNAM

39

Da River Watershed: A Regional Overview

39

Ethnic Groups and Their Land Use Practices 41

The Hoa Binh Dam

43

Local Administration

45

Resource Management in a Tai Village

47

Tai Land Use Practices

48

Emerging Forest Management Issues

52

Resource Management in a H'Mong Village

55

H'mong Land Use Practices

57

Emerging Forest Management Issues

62

Changing Resource Management Roles for Community and Government

64

Conclusion

68

PART IV:

BA VI NATIONAL PARK AND THE DZAO

71

Ba Vi National Park: History and Context

71

Park Administration

73

Management Zones

75

Forest Land Allocation Policies and Buffer Zone Development Projects

77

Ethnomedicine and Forest Management

80

Dzao Traditional Medicine

81

Collection

83

Processing

84

Prescriptions and Marketing

84

Managing and Development

84

Conclusion

86

PART V:

THE ROLE OF COMMUNITIES IN UPLAND FOREST MANAGEMENT

90

References

Contributors

 

 

LIST OF FIGURES

1

Historical Population and Forest Cover Trends in Vietnam

2

Changing Forest Cover in Vietnam-1943 to 1992

3

Map of Vietnam's Uplands & Forested Regions- 1992

4

Da River Watershed Map

5

Sketch Map of Chieng Hac Commune, Yen Chau District

6

Map of Tai Land Use Classification

- Ban Tat Village, Da River, Vietnam

7

Transect of Tai Land Use Classification

- Ban Tat Village, Da River, Vietnam

8

Map of H'mong Land Use Classification

- Chi Dai Village, Da River, Vietnam

9

Transect of H'mong Land Use Classification

- Chi Dai Village, Da River, Vietnam

10

Ba Vi National Park & Management Zones

11

Land Use Transect of Ba Vi National Park, Vietnam

LIST OF BOXES

1

The Xompa of Na Phieng

2

Mrs. Lan, Dzao Herbal Healer

 

 

FOREWORD

In precolonial times, the uplands of Vietnam were heavily forested and sparsely inhabited by a variety of ethnic groups who settled in the narrow mountain valleys growing irrigated rice or practiced long-rotation rainfed farming at higher elevations. Even remote watersheds were inhabited by diverse hill tribes who had moved into the region from other parts of Southeast Asia and Southern China. Community institutions and regional chiefs defined territorial rights, permitting the establishment of new villages established as the population expanded. Forests lands were valuable resources for hunting and gathering, providing land for new fields and settlements, and for stabilizing the water sources that fed their villages, fish ponds, and rice fields. Ethnic communities controlled forest use through their unique traditional institutions, imposing fees, fines, and other regulatory mechanisms.

Over the past century, the government has gained increasing control over the management of Vietnam's forests. As government ministries and public and private industry have taken a broadening role in resource exploitation and management, traditional forest use systems have eroded. During the 1960's and 1970's, the government intensified efforts to establish new administrative structures and implement national policies in many remote upland regions around the country, accelerating the displacement of indigenous institutions.

Upland resources have been exported to lowland, urban centers to finance economic development, often at the expense of resident people. Population growth in upland provinces is driven both by natural increase and a steady influx of lowland migrants, sometimes exceeding 6 percent annually, and placed intensifying pressure on the mountainous areas leading to progressive forest degradation and ultimately deforestation.

There are many parallels between Vietnam's experiences in forest management and that of other Asian nations, and other countries around the world. At the end of the 20th century, human societies are confronted by the challenge of balancing the roles of government, community, and the private sector in sustainably managing forest ecosystems allowing upland watersheds to perform essential environmental functions while meeting the resource needs of expanding populations.

Part I provides a brief history of forest management in Vietnam, followed by an assessment of the sociopolitical and demographic forces that are the underlying causes of deforestation. Part II examines changes in national forest policies, focusing on the transition from state control to household management. The success of emerging privatization policies and programs in stimulating increased timber productivity in some lowland and midland regions is contrasted with the difficulties encountered when such projects are implemented in upland contexts, especially where communal forest management traditions persist. Part III describes how Tai and H'Mong communities in Yen Chau District in the Da River watershed of Northwest Vietnam use their forest resources and discusses some of the forest management issues villagers face as demographic pressures build and policies change. Part IV reviews how one Dzao village was resettled in a buffer area, bounding on Ba Vi National Park near Hanoi, and how villagers continue to depend on the forest for their livelihoods. Both case studies illustrate ways community forest use practices are supported by and are in conflict with emerging policies. Part V synthesizes the information presented in this monograph and suggests how community forest management policies and programs could be strengthened in the uplands and made more responsive to local cultures and indigenous management systems.

The Asia Forest Network (AFN) seeks to synthesize learning from academic research and development activities to illuminate both the underlying causes of and potential solutions to the problem of deforestation. Over the past five years, the AFN has published a series of country reviews that describe the state of community involvement in forest management in Thailand, Indonesia, the Philippines, and India. Each case examines the history of forest management and evolving forest policies, and presents case studies illustrating contemporary strategies and emerging issues. This fifth country case study examines the changing direction of Vietnam's national forest policies and how they are affecting forest dependent communities.

Over the past five years Asia Forest Network and the Forest Inventory and Planning Institute have been supported by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. We are most grateful to the Foundation for this opportunity to collaborate, with special thanks to Dr. Kuswata Kartawinata. We thank the East West Center's Program on the Environment for their administrative assistance, especially Jeff Fox and Meg White. The Asia Forest Network would also like to appreciatively acknowledge the core support it received from the Wallace Global Fund and USAID's Global Bureau.

Many individuals have contributed to the development of this report. The commitment of Dr. Nguyen Huy Phon, Deputy Director of the Forest Inventory and Planning Institute, to Vietnam's participation in the Asia Forest Network has encouraged this work throughout its gestation. FIPI field staff frequently left their families for extended periods to conduct field trips with AFN colleagues. We are also grateful for the guidance we received from Jeff Fox, John Ambler, Mike Benge, Alex Moad, and Jerker Thurnberg. We are indebted to Neil Jamieson for his past advice and his careful reading and thoughtful comments on this manuscript.

This AFN study substantially benefited from the pioneering research and publications of the Center for Natural Resources and Environmental Studies (CRES) and the East-West Center. We are grateful to Le Trong Cuc, Terry Rambo, and other members of that fruitful collaboration for their contributions to our thinking. The AFN team also gained many insights from discussions with Paul Van Der Poel and Guenter Meyer of the Social Forestry Development Project Song Da (SFDP), and we are indebted to them for sharing their experiences and knowledge with us.

We would like to thank Kevin Kolb and the cartographers of FIPI and to Peter Walpole's staff at ESE for developing the maps and transects presented in this report. We are appreciative of the work of Kathryn Smith-Hansen in developing the manuscript, Gary Mcdonald for his careful editing, and Magdalene Khoo for her artful layout. Finally, our thanks to Jack vander Brulle and Apollo Press for printing this monograph.

Mark Poffenberger

 

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Contributors


Vo Tri Chung is a Senior Expert in Forestry, Ecology, and Ethnography at the Forest Resources and Environment Center (FREC) at the Forest Inventory and Planning Institute (FIPI) in Hanoi. Mr. Chung has conducted research relating to community forestry in Vietnam. He took his undergraduate degree at the Agro-Forestry Academy in Hanoi nad has done postgraduate work in human ecology at the Los Banos campus of the University of the Philippines. Mr. Chung has conducted long-term field work in northwestern Vietnam.

Eric Crystal received his Ph.D. in Anthropology from the University of California at Berkeley in 1971. A specialist in highland development issues in Southeast Asia, he has worked extensively in Indonesia and recently in upland Vietnam. From 1984 to the present he has held the position of Coordinator, Center for Southeast Asia Studies, University of California at Berkeley.

Nguyen Huy Dzung received his undergraduate degree in forestry from the National Forest College in Xuan Mai, Vietnam in 1962. Since 1983 he has been Social Forestry Researcher with the Forest Resources and Environment Center. Mr. Dzung is currently a Ph.D. candidate at the National Agricultural Science Institute where he is specializing in aerial residing techniques for re-forestation projects.

Vu Van Dzung is Vice-Director of the Forest Resources and Environment Center. He received his undergraduate degree in biology in 1962 from Hanoi University. Mr. Dzung maintains a long-term interest in biodiversity conservation issues. Prior to assuming his current administrative post he served as Chief botanist with the Institute for Forest Science Research in Hanoi.

Nguyen Huy Phon is Deputy Director of the Forest Inventory and Planning Institute within the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD). A specialist in land use planning, Dr. Phon recently received his Ph.D. from the National Institute of Agricultural Science (1996) based on the results of his current research on land use planning in forested areas of Vietnam.

Mark Poffenberger is Director of the Asia Forest Network based at the Center for Southeast Asia Studies at the University of California. He has a doctorate in community development from the University of Michigan. Dr. Poffenberger has spent over 30 years designing and guiding community resource management research in Asia. His books include Patterns of Change in the Nepal Himalaya. Keepers of the Forest, and Village Voices, Forest Choices.

Thomas Sikor is currently a Ph.D. candidate at the Energy and Resources Group of the University of California at Berkeley. His research interests are in the area of socioeconomic causes and effects of rural resource use. He is currently conducting dissertation field research in Vietnam on the effects of agricultural reform on land use practices in three Black Thai hamlets of Northwestern Vietnam. He has participated in numerous research and consulting projects on rural development and environmental issues in Vietnam for the World Bank and the East-West Center.

Jennifer Sowerwine is a doctoral student in the Department of Environmental Science, Policy, and Management at the University of California at Berkeley. She is researching how economic liberalization and highland development strategies in Northern Vietnam affect minority access to and benefits derived from medicinal plant collection and trade, and the implications these changes have on medicinal plant ecology.

Peter Walpole is the Director of the Institute of Environmental Science for Social Change (ESSE) based in Manila. He holds degrees in geology and environmental studies and is currently completing a doctorate at Kings College in London, England. Mr. Walpole has spent nearly 20 years in Southeast Asia, facilitating action research programs in the field and assisting planners in shaping social and environmental policies responsive to community needs.

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ASIA FOREST NETWORK PUBLICATIONS


Research Network Reports

No.

1.

Sustaining Southeast Asia's Forests, June 1992.

2.

Community Allies: Forest Co-Management in Thailand, August 1993.

3.

Communities and Forest Management in East Kalimantan: Pathway to Environmental Stability, August 1993.

4.

Upland Philippine Communities: Guardians of the Final Forest Frontier, August 1993.

5.

Proceedings of the Policy Dialogue on Natural Forest Regeneration and Community Management, April 1994.

6

Transitions in Forest Management: Shifting Community Forestry from Project to Process, August 1995

7

Grassroots Forest Protection: Eastern Indian Experiences, March 1996

8

Facilitating Collaborative Planning in Hawai'i's Natural Area Reserves, December 1996

9

Linking Government with Community Resource Management, May 1997

Other Publications

Field Methods Manual, Vol. I. Diagnostic Tools for Supporting Joint Forest Management Systems, 1992.

Field Methods Manual, Vol. II. Community Forest Economy and Use Patterns: Participatory Rural Appraisal (PRA) Methods in South Gujarat, India, 1992.

Field Methods Manual, Vol III: Manual Geographic Information Systems for Joint Forest Management Inventory, Planning and Monitoring, Forthcoming 1996

Case Study Training Modules Series, Bangkok: Asia Forest Network and RECOFTC, 1995

Village Voices, Forest Choices: Indian Experiences in joint Forest Management, New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 1996.

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