The Impacts of the Doi Moi (Renovation) Policies on Forest Land Management in the Northern Mountainous Region of Vietnam

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In the early 1990s, the Vietnamese Government introduced “Doi Moi” (Renovation) policies to the upland regions by shifting from a subsidised central economy (socialism model) to a market economy (capitalism model), and transferred land use rights from the state to users. The government expected that by increasing local income based on forestry activities, deforestation would be stopped and forest and forest land would be managed sustainably. A research project using a case study approach in three provinces in the northern upland region explored how forest cover and quality have changed and investigated the relationships between key socio-economic indicators such as income, food security, measure of equity, land tenure and institutional issues since the early 1990s. The results show that the renovation policies have not succeeded in improving both local livelihood quality and forest land management. While the livelihood quality of most better-off villagers has improved due to agricultural and forestry activities, this has not been the case for poor people. Inequity in land use rights and lack of access to public goods have led to a widening gap between better-off and poor people. Forests have not been managed in a sustainable way. Forest cover increased significantly during the period 1990-2000, but it reduced again during the period 2000-2005 due to illegal exploitation and conversion of forest land for agricultural purpose. Governance issues, such as ineffective and weak institutions, are among the main causes leading to Doi Moi not being as successful in SFM in the uplands as expected.
The research concludes that government policies under both the old socialism model and the current capitalism model have failed in regard to sustainable forest management. An alternative model combining aspects of the old and current systems is recommended; details of such a model are presented.

Keywords: Renovation Policies, Community, Deforestation, Forest and Forest Land Management, Local Livelihood, Institution
Stream: Nations, Nationalism, Communities
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
Paper: A paper has not yet been submitted.

Thi Thi Ha Tran

Senior Lecture, Head of forest inventory and planning division, Forestry Faculty
Thai Nguyen College of Agriculture and Forestry, Thai Nguyen University

Thai Nguyen, Thai Nguyen, Viet Nam

Ms Tran’s research and her teaching role at Thai Nguyen University are focused on policy development and implementation to enhance the sustainability of agriculture and forest management in the Northern Mountainous Region of Vietnam, where agricultural and forest land uses are closely linked by both tradition and necessity. Ms Tran has been involved in fieldwork-based land use research in the region for the past 13 years, and has used her Masters and PhD research to further develop this research theme. There are significant challenges to the sustainability of both agriculture and forest management in the region, which has a high proportion of ethnic minority peoples, limited access to markets, poor indices of economic and social development, and high rates of forest loss and degradation. She completed her Master’s degree in this topic area in 2001, and her PhD degree at the Australian National University in 2007. The excellence of Ms Tran’s work has been recognised most recently by the awards of 02 grants from the International Foundation for Sciences to continue to develop her research topic.

Ref: D08P0377