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An economic analysis of reforestation with a native tree species: the case of Vietnamese farmers

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The area of degraded forests in Vietnam is substantial, currently about 3.1 million ha of which about 1.7 million ha (55 %) were granted to individual farms for reforestation. However, the result of farmers’ reforestation efforts is limited. We aimed to examine the financial return, technical efficiency, and factors determining reforestation with a native tree species (Canarium album) by farms. Our results showed that reforestation with C. album is less financially profitable than that with an exotic tree species (Acacia mangium) as the alternative land use option. The subsidy from the government is found insufficient to compensate for the income losses of farmers participating in reforestation with the native tree species. Reforestation with C. album could be more successful if participating farmers were equipped to be more technically efficient. Finally, our findings clearly showed that the security of forest land property rights and the provision of forest extension services are among the determinants of participation in, and the subsequent success of reforestation with C. album.

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  1. Kinh is the majority ethnic group of Vietnam with about 85 % share of the population (Khong, 1995).

  2. Other data on forest dynamics from the measurement of the sample plots are not described herein as this is beyond the scope of this paper.

  3. VND is the currency unit of Vietnam; in 2010 1 US$ equalled 19,500 VND.

  4. Test statistics = 0.786 < critical values at 5 % LOS = 3.84.


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Our deep gratitude goes to the farmers in the two provinces of Son La and Bac Kan of Vietnam who have been working with us for years. Generous support from the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD), the Forestry University, Vietnam (FUV), and the Projects TERRECO (DFGGRK 1565) and REGECON (01LA1101A) at the Bayreuth University, Germany are acknowledged. The authors thank Alexandra Bell and Daniela Kretz for their proofreading and the anonymous reviewers for their helpful comments on the earlier version.

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Correspondence to Trung Thanh Nguyen.

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Communicated by David L. Hawksworth.

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Nguyen, T.T., Koellner, T., Le, Q.B. et al. An economic analysis of reforestation with a native tree species: the case of Vietnamese farmers. Biodivers Conserv 23, 811–830 (2014).

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