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Biodiversity conservation attitudes and policy tools for promoting biodiversity in tropical planted forests

Abstract

Biodiversity loss poses a real threat to the livelihoods, food security and health of the poor. In Vietnam, nearly 700 species are threatened with national extinction and over 300 species are threatened with global extinction. Deforestation is the main contributor to these biodiversity losses. This study examines biodiversity conservation attitudes of foresters and proposes policy options to promote biodiversity in planted forests. A household survey of 291 foresters in Yen Bai Province, Vietnam, was conducted to examine attitudes to biodiversity conservation. A range of forest policy tools was investigated to find the most appropriate one to enhance biodiversity, given the specific social-economic conditions of foresters. A forest-level optimisation model was employed to design the optimal level of payment for biodiversity conservation. The results suggest that a large number of foresters would agree to the idea of enhancing biodiversity in planted forests if they were financially supported. It is concluded that policy options for the Government of Vietnam include refinements to the current payment scheme and considering increasing the payment level to foresters to enhance biodiversity. These findings may have some generalisability to the plantation forestry sector in other developing countries in tropical zones, and implications for implementing the REDD+ mechanism in developing countries.

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Acknowledgments

The author would like to express her sincere thanks to her supervisors, Prof. Anton Meister and Dr. Brendan Moyle, for their excellent guidance and encouragement throughout this research. Funding from the Economy and Environmental Program for South East Asia and Ministry of Education has been much appreciated. Special thanks also go to people in Yen Bai Province who were very cooperative and enthusiastic in attending interviews. University of Otago colleagues who provided advice, support and very helpful comments on various drafts include: Associate Prof. Nick Wilson, Rachel Foster, and Prof. Tony Blakely. Many thanks to Dr. Nguyen Nghia Bien (Vietnam Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development), MSc. Kieu Tu Giang and his colleagues (Yen Bai Forestry Department), colleagues at Vietnam Forestry University for their advice and field assistance, and to this Journal’s reviewers and editors for very helpful suggestions for revisions. Any remaining limitations with the final draft are solely the responsibility of the author. The findings, opinions, and conclusions in this paper are those of the author alone and are not necessarily shared by the author’s affiliated organisations and the funding bodies.

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Correspondence to Nhung Nghiem.

Appendices

Appendix 1

See Table 3

Table 3 Raw data for the survey of 271 foresters (for household planted forests) in Yen Bai Province, Vietnam

.

Appendix 2: Description of the model structure used in the forest-level models for determining the optimal level of payment for biodiversity conservation to foresters in Yen Bai Province, Vietnam (source: (Nghiem 2011))

The model assumed a planted forest consists of n stands (n > 1). To analyse spatial arrangements among forest stands, it was assumed that forest stands are arranged into strips, i.e. stands are connected if they are next to each other. For example, stand 1 is adjacent to stand 2, and stand 3 adjacent to stand 2 and stand 4 and so on. Spatial interactions among forest stands were captured by economies of planting scale. If adjacent stands are harvested at the same time, they form a larger planting area in the following year. A larger planting area ends up with a lower unit of planting cost which was captured by Eq. (11). The objective of the model was to maximise the net present value (NPV) from harvesting timber and sequestering carbon. The model was subject to a constraint which is the number of birds (i.e. the minimum viable population). The planning horizon as well as the maximum length of the rotation interval for the simulations was 50 years, since in Vietnam, both household foresters can use their forest lands for 50 years at most. At the end of the lease, foresters were supposed to harvest the whole forests.

Let v(.) be the discounted sum of timber value (V t ) and carbon sequestration value (A t), a s the area of stand s (ha), x st is the age of stand s in period t.

The model objective is to maximise the discounted revenue from timber and carbon sequestration:

$$ v\left( {a_{1} , \ldots , a_{n} ; x_{10} , \ldots , x_{n0} } \right) = \hbox{max} \mathop \sum \limits_{t = 1}^{50} \left( {1 + r} \right)^{ - t} (V_{t} + A_{t} ) $$
(1)

Subject to:

$$ d_{\text{st}} = 0 \, {\text{or }}\, 1,s = \, 1,..,n,\quad {\text{binary}}\;{\text{decision}}\;{\text{variables}} $$
(2)
$$ x_{s,t + 1} = \left( {x_{\text{st}} + 1} \right) \cdot \left( {1 - d_{\text{st}} } \right),s = 1,..,n,\quad {\text{age}}\;{\text{of}}\;{\text{stand}}\;s\;{\text{at}}\;{\text{period}}\;t\; + \;1 $$
(3)
$$ x_{\text{st}} \ge 0,s = 1,..,n, \, \quad {\text{nonnegative}}\;{\text{age}}\;{\text{constraint}} $$
(4)
$$ \overline{s}_{{_{\text{BT}} }} \ge {\text{MVP}}\quad \left( {{\text{minimum}}\;{\text{viable}}\;{\text{population}}} \right)\quad {\text{for}}\;{\text{birds}}\;{\text{ha}}^{ - 1} \;{\text{year}}^{ - 1} $$
(5)

where:

$$ r\quad {\text{discount}}\;{\text{rate}} $$
(6)
$$ V_{t} = \mathop \sum \limits_{s = 1}^{n} (q\left( {x_{\text{st}} } \right)\cdot a_{s} \cdot d_{\text{st}} \cdot P(x_{\text{st}} )) - G(h_{t} )\quad {\text{timber}}\;{\text{value}}\;{\text{at}}\;{\text{the}}\;{\text{period}}\;t $$
(7)
$$ q\left( {x_{\text{st}} } \right)\quad {\text{timber}}\;{\text{volume}}\;{\text{ha}}^{ - 1} \;{\text{of}}\;{\text{stand}}\;s\;{\text{in}}\;{\text{period}}\;t $$
(8)
$$ d_{\text{st}} \quad {\text{the}}\;{\text{binary}}\;{\text{decision}}\;{\text{variable,}} $$
(9)

d st = 1: stand s is clear-cut in period t d st = 0: stand s is kept in period t.

$$ P\quad {\text{price}}\;{\text{of}}\;{\text{timber}}\;{\text{volume}}\;{\text{unit}}^{ - 1} $$
(10)
$$ G\left( {h_{t} } \right)\quad {\text{planting}}\;{\text{cost}}\;{\text{of}}\;{\text{timber}}\;{\text{at}}\;{\text{period}}\;t,\;{\text{which}}\;{\text{varies}}\;{\text{with}}\;{\text{planting}}\;{\text{size}},\;G(h_{t} )\; = \;\beta h_{t}^{\lambda } $$
(11)
$$ h_{t} = \mathop \sum \limits_{s = 1}^{n} d_{\text{st}} \cdot a_{s} \quad {\text{planting}}\;{\text{size}}\;\left( {\text{ha}} \right)\;{\text{in}}\;{\text{period}}\;t $$
(12)
$$ A_{t} = \left( {\mathop \sum \limits_{s = 1}^{n} Q_{c} (x_{\text{st}} } \right)\cdot a_{s} \cdot d_{\text{st}} )\cdot P_{c} \quad {\text{value}}\;{\text{of}}\;{\text{carbon}}\;{\text{sequestered}}\;{\text{at}}\;{\text{period}}\;t $$
(13)
$$ Q_{c} \quad {\text{amount}}\;{\text{of}}\;{\text{carbon}}\;{\text{sequestered,}}\;{\text{tonne}}\;{\text{ha}}^{ - 1} $$
(14)
$$ P_{c} \quad {\text{carbon}}\;{\text{price}}\;{\text{tonne}}^{-1} $$
(15)
$$ \overline{S}_{\text{Bt}} = \frac{{\mathop \sum \nolimits_{t = 1}^{50} S_{\text{Bt}} }}{50}\quad {\text{the}}\;{\text{average}}\;{\text{number}}\;{\text{of}}\;{\text{birds}}\;{\text{ha}}^{ - 1} \;{\text{over}}\;{\text{a}}\; 5 0\;{\text{year}}\;{\text{period}} $$
(16)
$$ S_{\text{Bt}} = \frac{{\mathop \sum \nolimits_{s = 1}^{n} f(x_{\text{st}} , a_{\text{st}} )}}{{\mathop \sum \nolimits_{s = 1}^{n} a_{\text{st}} }}\quad {\text{the}}\;{\text{number}}\;{\text{of}}\;{\text{birds}}\;{\text{ha}}^{ - 1} \;{\text{at}}\;{\text{period}}\;t $$
(17)

Equation (17) implies that the bird density depends on stand age itself and on the age structure of the whole forest.

Appendix 3

See Table 4.

Table 4 Functions and parameters used in the forest–level models in order to calculate the optimal level of payment for biodiversity conservation to foresters in Yen Bai Province, Vietnam (data source: (Nghiem 2011) unless otherwise indicated)

Appendix 4

See Table 5.

Table 5 Case studies used for the forest level models for Eucalyptus urophylla in Yen Bai Province, Vietnam

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Nghiem, N. Biodiversity conservation attitudes and policy tools for promoting biodiversity in tropical planted forests. Biodivers Conserv 22, 373–403 (2013). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10531-012-0418-8

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Keywords

  • Biodiversity conservation
  • Forest policy tools
  • Optimal payment
  • Household foresters
  • Carbon sequestration