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Assessing the ‘nature’ of a ‘forest transition’ in Vietnam: ecosystem services and social-ecological resilience in locally managed forest landscapes

English title Assessing the ‘nature’ of a ‘forest transition’ in Vietnam: ecosystem services and social-ecological resilience in locally managed forest landscapes
Applicant Kull Christian
Number 169430
Funding scheme r4d (Swiss Programme for Research on Global Issues for Development)
Research institution Institut de géographie et durabilité Faculté des géosciences et de l'environnemen Université de Lausanne
Institution of higher education University of Lausanne - LA
Main discipline Social geography and ecology
Start/End 01.09.2017 - 31.08.2020
Approved amount 919'122.00
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All Disciplines (4)

Discipline
Social geography and ecology
Agricultural and Forestry Sciences
Ecology
Environmental Research

Keywords (13)

forest policies; forestry industry; forest transition; community forest management; tropical landscape ecology; rural livelihoods; forest ecosystem services; vegetation disturbance and succession; invasive species; acacia and rubber plantations; political ecology; non-timber forest products; payments for environmental services

Lay Summary (German)

Lead
Eine Wald-Transition nennt man eine historische Trendwende von einer Abholzungs-bedingten Abnahme zu einem erneuten Netto-Zuwachs der Waldfläche, so wie dies zum Beispiel in der Schweiz ungefähr Mitte des 19. Jahrhunderts stattgefunden hat. Im Kontext der wirtschaftlichen Modernisierung und zunehmenden Verstädterung eines Landes kann Waldzuwachs aus der Stilllegung von wenig produktiver landwirtschaftlicher Fläche erfolgen. Andererseits, im Kontext der Verknappung von Holz-Ressourcen und sich verschlechternden Umweltbedingungen, können auch neue politische Vorgaben und Initiativen, welche den Waldschutz und die Wiederaufforstung fördern, den Waldzuwachs begünstigen. In neuester Zeit wurden solche Wald-Transitionen auch für einige tropische Länder beschrieben, in Südostasien insbesondere in Vietnam. Die genaue Beschaffenheit solcher Transitionen und deren Rückkoppelung für die Entwicklung ländlicher Gebiete wurde jedoch bisher kaum erforscht.
Lay summary

Inhalt und Ziel des Forschungsprojektes

Ziel der Forschung ist es, zu einem besseren Verständnis tropischer Wald-Transitionen beizutragen, insbesondere in Bezug auf nachhaltige Entwicklung. Fokussierend auf einen Forschungsstandort in Zentralvietnam werden wir (i) die dynamischen Mechanismen und Ursachen jüngster Waldveränderungen beschreiben; dies beinhaltet Formen der Nutzung und der ökologischen Sukzession in verschiedenen Waldtypen. Wir werden (ii) die Auswirkungen dieser Veränderungen auf die Verfügbarkeit von forstlichen Holz- und Nichtholzprodukten, sowie auf Ökosystem-Dienstleistungen wie zum Beispiel Wald-Schutzfunktionen von Wassereinzugsgebieten untersuchen. Innerhalb des gegebenen institutionellen, wirtschaftlichen und politischen Umfeldes werden wir (iii) die Wirkungen der Veränderungen auf die Existenzgrundlagen der ländlichen Bevölkerung, sowie deren daraus resultierenden Bewertungen verschiedener Waldtypen, erforschen. In diesem Zusammenhang werden wir insbesondere (iv) die Wirkungsweise von neuen umweltökonomischen Instrumenten wie ‚Finanzielle Abgeltungen von Waldökosystem-Dienstleistungen‘ untersuchen.

Wissenschaftlicher und gesellschaftlicher Kontext des Forschungsprojektes

Unser Projekt wird grundlegende Informationen liefern über die Auswirkungen verschiedener forstlich relevanter Prozesse (umweltpolitische Vorgaben und sozioökonomischer Wandel, ökologische Vegetations-Dynamik); dies in Hinsicht auf die Erzielung eines praktikablen und nachhaltigen Waldwirtschaftsregimes, welches zentrale Wald-Ökosystemfunktionen (in natürlichen sowie aufgeforsteten Wäldern, einschliesslich Akazien-Plantagen) unterstützt, wiederherstellt und verbessert. Die Forschung wird verknüpft sein mit erweiternden Bildungsprogrammen und Workshops für Praktiker, einschliesslich der Kapazitätsförderung von forstlichen Berufsleuten, Wissensaustausch zwischen Stakeholdern, und Evidenz-basierten Verbesserungen und Innovationen von umweltpolitischen Instrumenten. 

Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 14.03.2017

Lay Summary (French)

Lead
Une « transition forestière » est une reprise forestière, comme la Suisse en fait l’expérience depuis 1850. La reprise forestière peut être le résultat d’un abandon de surfaces agricoles peu productives alors que le pays se modernise et s’urbanise, ou de politiques publiques et d’initiatives favorisant la protection forestière ou les nouvelles plantations. Les transitions forestières ont récemment été décrites dans plusieurs pays tropicaux, notamment au Vietnam, mais la nature exacte de ces transitions et leurs conséquences en termes de développement restent largement inexplorées.
Lay summary

Contenu et but du projet de recherche

Notre objectif est de contribuer à une meilleure compréhension des transitions forestières tropicales et de leur rôle en termes de développement durable. Sur la base d’un site d’étude situé au centre du Vietnam, nous allons (i) décrire les dynamiques récentes et les causes des changement de la couverture forestière, en incluant les utilisations humaines et la succession écologique dans différents types de forêt, (ii) explorer les conséquences de ces changements sur la disponibilité en produits ligneux et non-ligneux et autres types de services écosystémiques tels que la protection des bassins hydrographiques. Nous allons par ailleurs (iii) évaluer, au sein des contextes institutionnels, économiques et de politiques publiques actuels,  les conséquences en termes de moyens de subsistance pour les acteurs locaux et la manière dont ils sont évalués en fonction des différents types de forêts; en particulier, nous allons (iv) examiner l’efficacité des nouvelles politiques publiques de « paiements pour services sylvo-environnementaux ».

Contexte scientifique et sociétal du projet de recherche

Notre projet générera des informations sur les impacts de divers processus (transformations socio-économiques et de politiques publiques, dynamiques écologiques). Ces informations sont indispensables à un régime de gestion forestière pratique et durable qui maintient, restaure et optimise les fonctions-clefs et les services de l’écosystème, qu’il s’agisse de forêts plantées ou naturelles. La recherche sera associée à des programmes de sensibilisation. Il s’agira principalement de programmes de renforcement des capacités des professionnels de la foresterie, d’échange de savoirs entre acteurs et d’amélioration et innovation en matière de politiques publiques fondées sur des preuves. 

Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 14.03.2017

Lay Summary (English)

Lead
A ‘forest transition’ describes an turnaround from historical forest loss to long-term forest gain, as experienced by Switzerland since 1850. Such a transition may result from the abandonment of less productive farmlands as a country’s economy modernizes and urbanizes, including agricultural intensification. Forest regrowth may also follow from policies and initiatives such as improved forest protection and new plantations; such actions typically are inspired by forest product scarcity or economically damaging environmental degradation. Forest transitions have recently been described for several tropical developing countries, prominently including Vietnam, but the exact nature of the forest transition and its feedback into these tropical countries’ development remains largely uninvestigated.
Lay summary

Content and aim of the research project

Our aim is to contribute to a better understanding of tropical forest transitions (specifically in Vietnam) as they relate to sustainable development. Focusing on a study site in Central Vietnam, we will (i) describe recent dynamics and causes of forest cover changes, including anthropogenic influences and ecological succession in different forest types, and (ii) investigate consequences of these changes on forest provisioning services (availability of timber and non-timber products) and other types of ecosystem services (e.g. watershed protection). We will (iii) assess the livelihood outcomes and valuations of different types of forests for local stakeholders within current institutional, economic, and policy contexts; in particular we will (iv) investigate the effectiveness of new ‘payments for forest environmental services’ policies.

Scientific and societal context of the research project

Our project will generate essential information on the impacts of diverse processes (policies, socio-economic change, ecological dynamics) in bringing about a stabilization of the forest cover and in introducing a practical, sustainable forest management regime, maintaining, restoring and optimizing key forest ecosystem functions and services from both planted and natural forests. Research will be connected to programs of academic and practical extension, including capacity building for forest professionals, knowledge exchange between stakeholders, and evidence-based policy improvements and innovations.

Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 14.03.2017

Responsible applicant and co-applicants

Employees

Publications

Publication
Utilization of research knowledge in sustainable development pathways: Insights from a transdisciplinary research-for-development programme
Jacobi J., Llanque A., Bieri S., Birachi E., Cochard Roland, Chauvin N. Depetris, Diebold C., Eschen R., Frossard E., Guillaume T., Jaquet S., Kämpfen F., Kenis M., Kiba D.I., Komarudin H., Madrazo J., Manoli G., Mukhovi S.M., Nguyen Thi Hai Van, Pomalègni C., Rüegger S., Schneider F., Ngo Tri Dung, von Groote P., et al. (2020), Utilization of research knowledge in sustainable development pathways: Insights from a transdisciplinary research-for-development programme, in Environmental Science & Policy, 103, 21-29.
Hybrid Outcomes of Payments for Ecosystem Services Policies in Vietnam: Between Theory and Practice
McElwee Pamela, Huber Bernhard, Nguyễn Thị Hải Vân (2019), Hybrid Outcomes of Payments for Ecosystem Services Policies in Vietnam: Between Theory and Practice, in Development and Change, dech.12548-dech.12548.
Nghiên Cứu Chiến Lược Sinh Kế Của Người Dân Tộc Pa Cô Ở Vùng Miền Núi Tỉnh Thừa Thiên Huế
DươngViết Tân, TruongVan Tuyen, NguyenQuang Tan (2019), Nghiên Cứu Chiến Lược Sinh Kế Của Người Dân Tộc Pa Cô Ở Vùng Miền Núi Tỉnh Thừa Thiên Huế, in Nông Nghiệp Và Phát Triển Nông Thôn, 15(Aug 2019), 136-145.
Quy hoach vung thich hop trong rung sao den (Hopea odorata) tai 2 huyen mien nui tinh Thừa Thiên-Huế
Vu Vu Thi Thuy Trang, Tran Trung Quoc, Ngo Tung Duc, Nguyen Duy Phong (2019), Quy hoach vung thich hop trong rung sao den (Hopea odorata) tai 2 huyen mien nui tinh Thừa Thiên-Huế, in Nông Nghiệp Và Phát Triển Nông Thôn, 2(April 2019), 82-89.
ĐIỀU TRA HIỆN TRẠNG VÀ LẬP KẾ HOẠCH KHAI THÁC BỀN VỮNG LOÀI MÂY NƯỚC (Daemonorops poilanei) TẠI BAN QUẢN LÝ RỪNG PHÒNG HỘ NAM ĐÔNG, TỈNH THỪA THIÊN HUẾ
HOTHANH HA, NGUYENTHI THUONG, TRANHUU HUNG, TRANTHI LE XUAN (2019), ĐIỀU TRA HIỆN TRẠNG VÀ LẬP KẾ HOẠCH KHAI THÁC BỀN VỮNG LOÀI MÂY NƯỚC (Daemonorops poilanei) TẠI BAN QUẢN LÝ RỪNG PHÒNG HỘ NAM ĐÔNG, TỈNH THỪA THIÊN HUẾ, in HUAF JOURNAL OF AGRICULTURAL SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY, 3(3), 1448-1457.

Collaboration

Group / person Country
Types of collaboration
AIT (Asian Institute of Technology), Bangkok Thailand (Asia)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Exchange of personnel
IREN (Institute of Environment and Resources), Hue University Vietnam (Asia)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
- Research Infrastructure
- Exchange of personnel
CORENARM (Consultative and Research Center on Natural Resources Management) Vietnam (Asia)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Research Infrastructure
HUAF (Hue University College of Agriculture and Forestry) Vietnam (Asia)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
- Research Infrastructure
- Exchange of personnel
Hydrology group, GIUB, Universität Bern Switzerland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
Amélie Robert, UMR CITERES, Université Tours France (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
Pamela McElwee, Rutgers University United States of America (North America)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results

Scientific events

Active participation

Title Type of contribution Title of article or contribution Date Place Persons involved
Academic writing workshop on Agrarian studies, environmental governance, and natural resource management Talk given at a conference Spaces of Upland Forests Transformation: State territorialization and struggles over resources under neoliberalism in Vietnam 09.12.2019 Hanoi, Vietnam Nguyen Thi Hai Van;
5th Annual FLARE Network Meeting Talk given at a conference Land-hungers? The clash over rights to forestland and acacia plantation livelihood in the Upland Central Vietnam 23.08.2019 Ann Arbor MI, United States of America Nguyen Thi Hai Van;
Ostrom Center Workshop: Redefining Diversity and Dynamism of Natural Resources Management in Asia Talk given at a conference Networking through ‘forest transition’ study in Vietnam 11.07.2019 Bangkok, Thailand Ngo Dung Tri;
Lausanne Doctoral Seminar in Political Ecology Individual talk Forest politics and livelihoods in central Vietnam 14.05.2018 Lausanne, Switzerland Kull Christian; Nguyen Thi Hai Van;
Journées Biennales des GéoSciences et de l'Environment Talk given at a conference Research for development on social and ecological dynamics of deforestation and reforestation in Vietnam 12.02.2018 Lausanne, Switzerland Kull Christian; Nguyen Thi Hai Van; Cochard Roland;


Knowledge transfer events

Active participation

Title Type of contribution Date Place Persons involved
Workshop with CORE-GROUP of VPA-FLEGT to provide feedback for FLEGT Draft Decree on timber legality in Vietnam Workshop 01.07.2019 Hanoi, Vietnam Ngo Dung Tri;


Self-organised

Title Date Place
Provincial workshop on " Management of Protection Forest by FMBs and local people in the context of new SFM policies" 01.01.2020 Huế, Vietnam
Series of village meetings on 'incentives for community-forest management' in context of new provincial policy on CFM (Decision 62/QD-UBND, 7.10.2019) 01.12.2019 Thừa Thiên-Huế province, Vietnam
Short training course on forest plantations for smallholders to achive forest certification (sustainable forest management applied in plantation) 01.09.2019 Huế, Vietnam
Forest dialogue "Sustainable forest lanscape management: the view of stakeholders" 04.04.2019 A Luoi, Vietnam
Village workshop " the vision of community about the future of forest lanscape", 03.04.2019 Krong-Aho village, A Roang district, Vietnam
Training on "Native species management" for forest management and protection teams of A Luoi FMB and Sao La NR 01.02.2019 A Luoi, Vietnam
Stakeholder workshop on " Situation, opportunities and challenges of natural forest management in Thua Thien Hue province" 14.12.2018 A Luoi town, Vietnam
Opportunities and Challenges of Management of natural forest - workshop with Forest Management Boards 07.12.2018 A Luoi, Vietnam

Communication with the public

Communication Title Media Place Year
New media (web, blogs, podcasts, news feeds etc.) FT Viet Project Website and Blog International 2019
Video/Film FTViet's Project Site: Introduction International 2019
Media relations: radio, television News report on Workshop on Sustainable Forest Landscape Governance in A Luoi Valley A Luoi District Television Channel International 2019
New media (web, blogs, podcasts, news feeds etc.) Photo Gallery: Navigating Forest Changes in Central Vietnam Knowledge for Development International 2019
Video/Film Sustainable management of Huong Nguyen forest International 2019
New media (web, blogs, podcasts, news feeds etc.) Socio-ecological landscapes of Thừa Thiên-Huế province christiankull.net International 2018

Abstract

Southeast Asia remains a major hotspot of tropical deforestation. Yet, within this region, Vietnam has since the 1990’s experienced a remarkable turn-around from net deforestation to net reforestation - a process referred to as a ‘forest transition’. Even though a ‘forest transition’ suggests a change towards sustainable forest use that ensures delivery of ecosystem services as well as resilient rural livelihoods, in reality not much is known about the more ‘qualitative’ aspects of tropical forest cover increases. Pressures from selective logging and invasive vines, for example, restrain the regenerative capacities of native forest vegetation. Furthermore, vast mono-crop plantations of non-native species (especially acacias) continue to expand and dramatically change the features and ‘qualities’ of forested landscapes. As a policy tool to provide incentives for better protection of forest resources and associated ecosystem services, new government-sponsored programs of ‘payments for forest environmental services’ (PFES) have been set up. However, the effects of the PFES scheme are still largely unknown. Through a partnership between University of Lausanne and Hue University we propose an interdisciplinary project (across social/natural science divides) to investigate the qualitative aspects of forest transition in Vietnam, with a special focus on forestlands managed by households or village communities under PFES schemes. Using a broad range of methods (from remote sensing, to participatory livelihoods assessments, to multi-stakeholder workshops) our project will concentrate on four work packages: 1) Detailed forest-ecological studies will provide insights into aspects of forest structure, diversity, and associated ecosystem services as they relate to different types of management (protected area vs community vs forest board management; with/without PFES funding). 2) Research on rural livelihoods and the roles, constraints and visions of different actors with regard to forest changes and the new PFES policy schemes will provide key insights into underlying socio-economic factors. 3) Investment in the capacity of all stakeholders, and in particular the future generation of forest managers, will occur via academic and professional training, information dissemination, and multi-stakeholder interactions. 4) Finally, building on the research findings and extended stakeholder involvement, we will formulate evidence-based policy recommendations on PFES and other relevant policies to improve practices of sustainable rural development and forest management. The project aims to substantially increase the understanding of tropical forest transitions, specifically with regard to forest ecosystem functioning and ‘quality’ aspects, in conjunction with prevailing policy and management regimes (in particular land tenure and PFES schemes). Correspondingly, the project will contribute to strengthen rural social-ecological resilience.
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