ASSESSMENT ON THE INITIAL RESULTS OF NATURAL FOREST ALLOCATION

1. BACKGROUND


The allocation of barren land to farmers for forestry production is an objective and urgent requirement, when there is a lack of farming and redundant labour land in mountainous and slopping areas. Therefore, since early 90th years the state has timely issued two effective decrees:


Decree 01/CP dated 04/01/1995 by the Government regarding the regulations on contracting land to state enterprises for agriculture, forestry and fishery production.

Decree 02/CP dated 15/01/1994 by the Government regarding allocation of forest land to organizations, individuals for sustainable and long term use with forestry purposes (this is the present decree 163/1999/N§-CP dated 16/11/1999).


Until late 1999, annualy about 2 million ha of forest have been contracted to farmers for protection, many thousands ha of forest have been alllocated to farmers for forest planting and tending and 700,000 ha of forest are under regeneration and rehabilitation within 327 program until 1998. From which more than 50% have been contracted to households for the implementation. Benefits for farmers, who are contracted for forest planting, tending, regeneration and protection, with additional planting of industrial trees, special trees, cash crop or with additional husbandry, are ensured by the decision 178/2001/Q§-TTg dated 12/11/2001 by the Prime Minister regarding obligations and rights of households, individuals, to which forest and forest land have been contracted or allocated.


According to Decree 02/CP, which is now renumbered to 163/1999/N§ – CP, by the end of 1999, there are 1.8 ha of bare lands on hills and mountains and fallow areas that have been allocated to farmers. Land allocation becomes a prerequisite for implementation of afforestation and social forestry projects. This policy meets the willingness of people and is one of famous characteristics of Vietnam in the era of economic development and social renovation.


As the results of contracts for forest regeration and protection on long‑term land allocation for forestry purposes, more than 55% of bare mountainous and hilly lands allocated to individuals, households and groups of households become forests, forest gardens, and farms, which help increase people’s incomes and improve social life, and make the environment greener (summary of studies and desertations assessing effectiveness of forestland allocation in the period up to 1999).


Thus, is allocation of natural forests is the next step of land allocation (according to Decision 02 and 163/CP) or a separate program? The overview of 1999 forest inventory shows that there are 2.958.617 ha of forests remaining without real owners.




Table 1: Forests in the whole country listed by owners (FIPI — 1999)





























































Order



Owners


Area (1000 ha)



(%)


1


State-owned business (enterprises and companies)


3.578,4


32,8


2


Joint ventures


15,1


0,1


3


Armed forces


204,7


2,0


4


Households and communities


2.006,5


18,4


5


Management Board of Protection Forests


1.025,2


9,4


6


Management Board of Forests of Special Purposes


1.127,0


10,3


7


Unallocated


2.958,7


27,0



Total area of forests country-wide


10.915,6


100,0


What is the fate of nearly 3 million hectars of forests? In theory forest owner is the State, which is a general notion. Until 1995, under the Ministry of Forestry, unallocated forests were managed by Forest Protection forces. In practice, these forces carried out protection activities by using law enforcement and educational measures as well as monitoring the law conformation by forest owners. This cannot replace management, protection, and production function of the owners.


In the North, the area of unallocated forests is quite wide. Most of them are depleted with few products. This includes forests with mixed bamboo and timber, limestone forests, young regenerated forests. In the Central and Central Highland Regions it is also the rare case when forests of high or medium timber reserves have been allocated. Most of them are le and khoäc forests, or forests regerated after slashed‑and‑burned cultivation. Because there are no owners, these forests provide products to meet the needs of local people on timber, bamboo shoots, or animals and birds. In many cases, they are the place where slash-and-burned encroachment by neibouring communes, or by wandering people.

(Source Mekonginfo.org)

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