Project title: Demonstration of capacity building of forest restoration and sustainable forest management in Vietnam [2010P2/4-VNM]
Supervisory agencies: Phu Tho Department of Agricultural and Rural Development
Executing agency: Phu Tho Sub-Department of Forestry
Budget in USD (total/APFNet grant): 585,750/ 439,750
Duration: 9/2010 – 12/2012
Target economy: Vietnam
Enhance the contribution of forests to hunger elimination, poverty alleviation, environmental services, and livelihood improvement.
♦ Establishment of 50 ha pilot model of planting non-timber forest product (NTFP) species under degraded secondary forests & bamboo
♦ Establishment of 50 ha pilot model of enrichment planting by high-value timber native species
♦ Five technical handbooks, fifteen leaflets on restoration silviculture techniques, growing techniques of non-timber forest products and high-value timber species, forest protection, and processing of non-timber forest products were developed and distributed. Two village regulations and a village forest development fund were established.
♦ Ten training courses and study tours conducted for local communities.
Expected outputs: Established 100 hectares of pilot models of best practices in restoring degraded natural forests to enhance the ecological and economic values of two districts in Phu Tho provinces; Developed institutional and policy frameworks for increasing the participation of two local communities in forest management planning, implementation, and benefit sharing for sustainable forest management purposes; Enhanced capacity in forest management planning implementation of local forest management institutions (Forest Department at provincial level, commune, and district forestry divisions), forest owners, and participatory communities.
In Vietnam, natural forests are being destroyed because of over-exploitation and the conversion of cultivation lands (agricultural crops and industrial plantations) or grazing land. Ecological functions of forests, such as catchment protection, biodiversity, etc., have been critically reduced. Natural disasters are caused by deforestation, and forest degradation has been occurring with higher intensity. Over the past three decades, the Vietnamese government has implemented several forest restoration and management projects with the support of international organizations. These projects addressed many technical and management problems, e.g., silvicultural restoration techniques, enrichment planting, management and planting of NTFP species, and agroforestry.
However, applying an integrated approach to technical and policy development in forestry is rare in Vietnam, especially in the two proposed districts, Thanh Son and Tan Son in Phu Tho Province, where most local farmers belong to two ethnic minority groups, Muong and Dao. Mountains and hills account for more than 92% of the area, which is covered by tropical forests, bare land, and mountainous agricultural crops. The average altitude ranges between 200 - 500 meters. Phu Tho is a province close to Ha Noi and has high pressure on converting natural forest resources to monoculture exotic plantations for pulp mills in the province. The province's minimum level of natural forests was defined for protection purposes (water catchment, soil erosion, biodiversity) and needed to be maintained and developed. So, the principal matters to be solved are how to restore the degraded natural forests by enrichment planting and to generate income for the local communities from the restored degraded natural forest. And the restored forests are valuable as they can still maintain biodiversity, provide a high rate of carbon sequestration, provide protection against soil erosion, and serve as sources of other valuable products such as timber and fuel wood. For these reasons, the Vietnam forestry sector selected Phu Tho province to conduct this APFNet project. The project “Demonstration of capacity building for forest restoration and sustainable forest management in Vietnam” applied integrated achievements of other projects/ programs to sustainably restore and manage 100 ha of degraded natural forest in these two communities and to contribute to poverty reduction and livelihood improvement for local ethnic communities in nearby forests.
Project featured topics
Establishment of pilot models' area
The project first carried out a forest inventory to collect data on forest resources with the support of the Forest Science Institute of Vietnam (FSIV). Models for the NTPF species planting and enrichment planting of high-value timber trees were designed based on seeds/seedlings of NTFP s and valuable native timber species. The establishment of pilot models included planting, tending, and protecting NTFP species and high-value timber species and collecting and processing NTFPs (see Fig.1).
Fig.1 Map of Demonstration Plots in Tan Son and Thanh Son Districts, Phu Tho Province
Training on restoration silviculture techniques and growing techniques of NTFP and high-value timber species
The project also implemented training courses/ study tours on restoration silviculture techniques of NTFP and high-value timber species, forest protection, and NTFP processing for local and nearby staff and farmers (see Fig.2). Responsible implementation partners were FSIV experts and Thu Tho Sub-department of Forestry.
Fig.2 Development of technical handbooks and leaflets
The project was designed to demonstrate capacity building for forest restoration and sustainable forest management in Vietnam. The project positively impacted forest restoration and sustainable management in field cases and theoretical development. And this is one of very few projects in Vietnam where best practices on forest restoration and sustainable management are directly used by local farmers and communities. The outcomes of the projects could be summarized as follows:
Establishment of pilot models’ sites for the best practices in the restoration of poor secondary natural forests
For the restoration of degraded forests, several native timber species and NTFPs were used. All selected native species showed high growth rates, growing well, and contributed to an increasing ratio of high-value species on the pilot model sites to more than 80% compared to un-intervened nearby degraded forests. By using mixed-species plantation (short-term NTFP species with long-term high-value native timber species) in the restoration project, very positive impacts could be achieved regarding economic and ecological values. Planting short-rotation NTFP species can contribute income from degraded secondary forests. The most successful NTFP was Dianella ensifolia species, which grew well on the hillsides and harvesting this species generated 1,500 USD of income in Que village and 1,000 USD in Sinh Tan village. Other longer-term rotation NTFP species were also growing well and promised to provide good income to local farmers in the future.
Raising Awareness and Capacity Building
The projects also implemented enhancing capacity in forest management implementation of local forest management institutions, forest owners, and participatory communities. Communities are enthusiastic about developing and applying regulations on forest protection and management. Several forest staff members also participated in training courses, study tours, and field activities, where they learned and improved their knowledge and skills in forest establishment and sustainable forest management. After the training courses, awareness of local communities and staff on sustainable forest management was improved. Moreover, several qualified technical handbooks, leaflet materials, posters, and reports were published to showcase the project and reach a wider audience at regional and national levels, aiming to impact forestry policies and practices in Vietnam positively.
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