Organisation: Việt Nature Conservation Centre
Cycle: 2018 International
Type: Climate adaptation
Sector: Land use
Stage: Pilot ready
Requested input: Việt Nature will use the US$ 25,000 prize money to do a first pilot with 2-4 farmers on about 9 ha of land around the Khe Nuoc Trong project area. The implementation of this project will be piggy-backed by their on-going long-term conservation project at Khe Nuoc Trong. Therefore, the project running costs (staff time, perdiems for field work, transportation, etc.) will be lower than in a stand-alone project.
Việt Nature has a long term wildlife and habitats conservation project in Vietnam, where illegal logging continues to be a problem. Their innovative model combines large timber plantations of Acacia with Tarrietia javanica – a native timber species. This mixed species plantation allows owners to work towards FSC and have better access to market and higher prices.
Deforestation and degradation of natural forests continues in Vietnam, a country that is expanding its forest cover from circa 28% in 1990 to over 40% at present thanks to its 5-million hectare reforestation programme that started in early 1990s. however, natural forest continues to be shrinking and recduced in quality. In many cases, biodiversity-rich forest is converted into short-rotation mono-culture acacia for the pulp industry. A key challenge for Vietnam is currently to make the existing forest plantation sector more sustainable, while banning illegal logging and import of illegal timber. For the forest plantation sector to be more sustainable, a shift is needed from short-rotation plantations producing wood chips and pulp, to longer-term, round-wood plantations that can supply timber for the construction and furniture market. Another advantage of longer rotation plantations is, that it can generate higher revenue for and be FSC certified. As part of FSC certification, plantation owners have to plant at least 20% of the land with native trees.
Vietnam national policy is encouraging forest owners to turn from short-term rotation plantation to long-term (large timber) plantation as Vietnam export market is demanding on furniture made from FSC certified large timber from now on. Currently, Furniture Production Companies have to import as much as 60% to 80% of its timber from overseas which is costly and time consuming. Availability of large timber produced in Vietnam will be advantageous for furniture producers/exporters as well as for forest owners as they are able to generate higher income from plantation.
Local land owners and companies alike chose short-rotation pulp plantation because the payback time of the investment is quicker and the risks of damage due to storms and other natural disasters are smaller. Consultation by Viet Nature in communities around its conservation projects in Quang Binh – Quang Tri provinces shows that more smallholder farmers will be willing to turn to long-term rotation plantations, if they see the opportunities for very high returns in the long-term through the demonstration of champions in their communities. In the short-term, especially in the first five years of any model, additional income has to be generated in order to secure their everyday livelihoods and to bridge the long investment term.