An Institutional and Economic Analysis of Forest Devolution in Upland Central Vietnam
Forest devolution in Vietnam has been started after economic reform 1986 which aimed to improve livelihood of local people and the forest cover in the country. The forest cover increased to about 40% in 2013, and about 30% forest and forestland were allocated to individual households and local communities with specific rights to forest and forestland use. However, the role of forest in poverty reduction and sustainable development is still in question. The poverty rate of the mountainous regions is higher than other part of Vietnam and many environmental problems are challenging.
A household survey was conducted early 2012 with 313 household about how they use the forestland and forest resources (both legal and illegal rights) in specific communities in the upland regions of Thua Thien Hue province in Central Vietnam. The results of the analysis show that changes in political regimes have changed local institutions in forest and forestland management. Forest use has shifted from self-sufficiency to commercial purpose, from diversification of crops to monoculture. Cost benefit analysis (CBA) of forestland use addresses that net present value of forest plantation is much lower than for industrial trees (rubber) or annual crop (cassava). Scenarios are built to consider not only possibilities for benefit compensation of foresters, but also the profit of local people with fluctuation of forest and agricultural prices. Analysis of factors affecting household’s decisions in allocating forestland for different purposes and forest exploitation demonstrates that the changes in using forest resources and forestland of local people are affected not only by the household and ethnic characteristics, but also by forest devolution process, particularly of extension and credit services. Based on the analysis, recommendations on strengthening institutions of communities for better forest resources use and management and improving livelihoods through internalizing of externalities, local job generation, technical supports, credit access and market information as well as diversification of agricultural and forestry products are given.
Farming and Rural Systems Economics, Vol. 157ISSN 1616-98082016; XII+192pp.; 21 x 14,8 cm; paper
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