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Community action essential to protect forests

Update: October, 26/2013 - 10:21

HA NOI (VNS) — An official from the Institute of Policy and Strategy for Agriculture and Rural Development (IPSARD) has called for more community-based forest management to protect and manage forests in Viet Nam.

Nguyen Do Anh Tuan, deputy director of the institute was addressing a workshop organised in the capital city on Thursday.

"Community-based forest management is not a new model. It was created many years ago with the objectives to protect the water resources for the local communities, serve their religious beliefs and traditional culture", Tuan said.

Forestry management guide published

HA NOI — The inaugural set of sustainable forestry management training guides were released to the public in Ha Noi yesterday.

The document, presented in both English and Vietnamese, is considered the minimum standard for vocational trainers who work in the field of sustainable or certified forestry.

The guides are part of a project to pilot vocational training on sustainable forest management for technical managers and workers which started in central Quang Tri Province two years ago.

The project was funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development and German-based Forest Finance Service GMbH Company, with the support of Ben Hai Forestry Company in Vinh Linh District.

The training framework guides received official backing from the authorities of Quang Tri Province on September 26. — VNS

He hoped with the joint efforts between the state forest enterprises and the community forest management (CFM), forestry in Viet Nam would be better protected and managed.

Vu Duy Hung, an expert from IPSARD, said some 10,000 communes nation-wide have participated in the community forest management model, most of which were ethnic communities.

They are assigned to take care of over 2.7 million hectares of forests and barren hills, of which 68.6 percent of the land is forested and the rest is barren land.

"Among the forest managed by the community, 96 percent is natural forest and only 4 per cent planted forest. Viet Nam now has 16.24 million hectares dedicated as forest land", Hung said.

Hung said the CFM model, which is under the direct management of his institute (IPSARD), was being rolled out in five mountainous provinces of Lao Cai, Dien Bien and Lai Chau (in the north) and Dak Nong and Dak Lak (in the Central Highlands).

He agreed that the model has helped to reduce forest destruction in the last 10 years, however, believed the government had a role to provide workable policies to promote the model's efficiency.

"Forest destruction and encroachment activities occur frequently. In the worse case, which happened in Treng Village, Eal Hleo Commune and EaH'Leo District, Dak Lak Province, all 1,190ha of forest under the CFM model was cut down to grow trees commercially", Hung said.

Professor Dang Hung Vo, former Deputy Minister of Natural Resources and Environment, affirmed that granting management rights and benefit sharing by the community was a central component of the model's success.

"This is a common practice in many other countries", Vo added.

Nguyen Nghia Bien, general director of the Forestry Inventory and Planning Institute, said legal documents relating the CFM in Viet Nam would require consultation to be complete, with the communities and countries providing evidence of their experience in the field.

"What's more important, the community management rights and the benefit sharing mechanism should be reflected in the revised 2003 Land Law which is slated to be discussed and approved at the ongoing National Assembly meeting", Bien said.

Echoing Bien's views, Hung said the community's rights and obligations should be enshrined in the laws.

"Forests and forest land dedicated to community services, forests protecting water sources for local people and forests that provide daily necessities for farmers must be distinguished in the laws to avoid future conflicts", Hung added. —VNS



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