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Whose Forest Tenure Reform is it? Lessons from Case Studies in Vietnam

01 Apr 2008
Nguyen Quang Tan; Nguyen Ba Ngai; Tran Ngoc Thanh
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Whose Forest Tenure Reform is it? Lessons from Case Studies in Vietnam

Over the last two decades, Vietnam has made significant progress in forest tenure reform, which aims to meaningfully include all relevant stakeholders in the management of forest resources. Under these reforms, forest area officially under the management of local people has expanded from almost nothing in the early 1990s to nearly 3.5 million ha (27% of the national forest area) in 2006. However, until now little is known about the extent to which such tenure reform has worked in practice and how it has affected local people’s livelihoods and wellbeing.

To answer these questions, the Regional Community Forestry Training Center for Asia and the Pacific (RECOFTC) and the Rights and Resources Initiative (RRI) commissioned a study in Vietnam. Hoa Binh province in the Northern Uplands and Dak Lak province in the Central Highlands (Figure 1) were selected to represent the country’s diversity of socio-economic and forest tenure policy conditions. The study covered eight villages (four per province). The process of data collection, data analysis, and report writing took place between March 2007 and January 2008.

This policy brief presents some of the major findings of the study and focuses on four issues: actual control over forest resources; local people’s confusion about their rights; impacts of forest tenure reform on poverty alleviation; and the ability of local people to manage forests. Stakeholders reviewed the study’s findings at a national workshop in Hanoi.