Co-management of Forests and Forest Land Under Decentralization Process in Central Vietnam



With global concerns over climate change and forest degradation, poverty reduction in and around forest areas seem to be less prominent on the agenda, even though there is an intrinsic link between poverty and deforestation. In this highly complex context, where forests must fulfill roles that range from global to local ecological and socio-economic services, forest policies face new challenges, depending on the institutional, legal and economic conditions in different countries. Vietnam has already taken up this challenge to integrate rural development with issues for sustainable natural resource management from the early nineties onward through their Forest Land Allocation (FLA) policy. After almost 20 years of FLA policies implementation, this chapter analyses the impacts of these decentralization FLA policies have on forest protection and socio-economic improvement of selected rural communities in and around the bufferzone of the Bach Ma National Park (BMNP), Central region of Vietnam. It pays particular attention to the effects of FLA policies on long existing customary institutions at the community level to sustainably use and protect forest resources. The research argues that the policy was a good initiative to create resource use rights as well as co-management for local communities. However, local people do not benefit from the implemented “decentralized” measures, shown by continuous illegal encroachment into the core zone of the BMNP. The main reason is that active participation of local people is absent, and policies do not fit the local needs and priorities. This chapter critically examines the process of decentralization as it has taken place in central Vietnam, focusing on the buffer zone surrounding (BMNP), where the Government and international organizations have implemented projects on decentralized forest land management, following along the policy framework and donor agendas. The study emphasizes that the decentralization process in forest management is to achieve success if participation of local people is given more attention.


Decentralization Co-management Participation Vietnam Buffer Zone 


  1. Agrawal A, Ostrom E (2008) ‘Decentralization and community-based forestry: learning from experience’. In: Edward LW, Ganesh PSi (eds) Decentralization, forests and rural communities—policy outcomes in South and Southeast Asia. Sage, New Delhi, pp 44–67Google Scholar
  2. Ananda J (2007) Implementing participatory decision making in forestry planning. Environ Manag 39:534–544CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Agrawal A, Chhatre A, Hardin R (2008) Changing governance of the world’s forests. Am Assoc Advanc Sci 320:1460–1462Google Scholar
  4. Barr C, Resosudarmo IAP, Dermawan A, McCarthy J, Moeliono M, Setiono B (eds) (2006) Decentralisation of forest management in Indonesia: Implications for forest sustainability, economic development and community livelihoods. Center for International Forestry Research, Indonesia.
  5. Baskent EZ, Sagdan B, Salih T (2008) Developing and implementing participatory and ecosystem based multiple use forest management planning approach (ETCAP): yalnizcam case study. For Ecol Manag 256:798–807CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Castella JCBS, Nguyen HT, Novosad P (2006) Impact of forestland allocation on land use in a mountainous provinces in Vietnam. Land Use Policy 23:147–160CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Cleaver F (1999) Paradoxes of participation: questioning participatory approaches to development. J Int Develop 11:597–612CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Clement F, Amezaga JM (2008) Linking reforestation policies with land use change in Northern Vietnam: why do local factors matter. Geoforum 39(1):217–240CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Conley A, Moote MA (2003) Evaluating collaborative natural resources management. Soc Natur Resour 16:371–386CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Evans K, Wil de J, Cronkleton P, Nghi TH (2010) Participatory methods for planning the future in forest communities. Soc Natur Resour 23(7):604–619CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Gomiero T, Pettenella D, Trieu GP, Paoletti MG (2000) Vietnamese uplands: environmental and socio-economic perspective of forest land allocation and deforestation process. Environ Dev Sustain 2:119–142CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Hardcastle J (2002) Opportunities for indigenous community management of forest resources in the Central Truong Son Uplands, Quang Nam. WWF Indochina Programme and Quang Nam Forest Protection Department.
  13. Helvetas (2005) Community forest management in Vietnam: from sharing benefits to managing ownership? Discussion paper for the national working group on community forest management. Helvetas Vietnam—Swiss association for International Cooperation.
  14. Helvetas (2006) Community forestry management technical guidelines. Helvetas Vietnam—Swiss Association for International Cooperation.
  15. Helvetas (2007) Assessment of natural forest allocation to forest users. Helvetas Vietnam—Swiss Association for International Cooperation.
  16. Helvetas (2008) About us. Website Helvetas Vietnam—Swiss Association for International Cooperation. World Wide Web: Accessed 15 Nov 2008
  17. McElwee P (2001) Parks or people: exploring alternative explanations for protected areas development In Viet Nam. Paper presented at the Workshop on Conservation and Sustainable Development. New Haven, CT, 30–31 Aug 2011.
  18. Melissa NB, Phillip R (2009) Co-management and protected area management: achieving effective management of a contested site, lessons from the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area (GBRWHA). Marine Policy 33:118–127CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Nguyen TQ (2009) Trends in forest ownership, forest resources tenure and institutional arrangements: are they contributing to better forest management and poverty reduction? Case Study Vietnam. Report for Food and Agriculture Organization of the United NationsGoogle Scholar
  20. Nijenhuis G (2006) Political decentralization, local governance, and participatory development. In: Van LP, De JA, Nijenhuis G (eds) Development matters: geographical studies on development processes and policies. University Press, UtrechtGoogle Scholar
  21. Nygren A (2005) Community-based forest management within the context of institutional decentralization in Honduras. World Devel 33(4):639–655CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Phuong PX (2008) Overview of forest land allocation policy in Vietnam: real status and orientation for the coming period. Paper presented at the National Forum on forest land allocation in Vietnam, Hanoi, Vietnam, 28 May 2008Google Scholar
  23. Ros-Tonen M, Hombergh H van den, Zoomers A (2007) Partnerships in sustainable forest resource management: Lessons from Latin Amercia. CEDLA Latin America Series, Brill, Leiden, Brill publishers, 94:3–36Google Scholar
  24. Sarah S-L (2006) Devolution of forest management: a cautionary case of pukhtun jirgas in dispute settlements. Hum Ecol 34:637–653CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Sikor T (1998) Forest policy reform: from state to household forestry. In: Mark Poffenberger (ed) Stewards of Vietnam’s upland forests, Asia Forest Network, Berkeley, pp 18–37Google Scholar
  26. Sikor T (2001) The allocation of forestry land in Vietnam: did it cause the expansion of forests in the Northern? Forest Policy Econo 2:1–11CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Sikor T, Nguyen TQ (2007) Why may forest devolution not benefit the rural poor? Forest entitlements in Vietnam’s central highlands. World Devel 35(11):2010–2025CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. SNV (2005) Linking reforestation with democratization and poverty reduction in Vietnam. Land Use Planning and Land Allocation. SNV VietnamGoogle Scholar
  29. SNV (2008) About SNV. Website SNV Netherlands Development Organization. World Wide Web: Accessed 15 Nov 2008
  30. Tan NQ (2006) Forest devolution in Vietnam: Differentiation in benefits from forest among local households. Forest Policy and. Economics 8:409–420Google Scholar
  31. Wells M, Brandon K (1992) People and parks: Linking protected area management with local communities. The World Bank, Washington DC. World Wildlife Fund, USAID.
  32. Wollenberg E, Anderson J, Lopez C (2005) Though all things differ. Pluralism as a basis for cooperation in forests. Center for International Forestry Research, Bogor, Indonesia. CIFOR. vii, 101, p ISBN: 979–3361-71–9Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Hue University of Agriculture and ForestryHue University, VietnamHue CityVietnam
  2. 2.International Development Studies, Faculty of GeosciencesUtrecht UniversityUtrechtThe Netherlands

Personalised recommendations