1.1 Introduction and scope of the research

1.1.1 Introduction

Today, many Asian countries pay interest in community forest and community forest management. In Vietnam. These issues have been researched and piloted in the mountainous areas and some foreign donor projects’ regions. The approach of community forest and community forest management opened a positive prospect to forest protection, management and development for Vietnam. Moreover, community approaches have been existing in the lives of ethnical minority groups in mountainous areas, in forms of village regulations and traditional experiences that they learnt and sum up from reality.

During recent years, more and more research activities have been done on indigenous knowledge of different fields like economics, society, culture and health. The indigenous knowledge, known as traditional or local knowledge (as Mr Hoang Xuan Ty, 1998), exists and develops in certain conditions, in certain geographical regions and with the contributions of all members in the community. Research and assessment on the indigenous knowledge of ethnic people in mountainous areas in Agriculture and Natural resources management were implemented by Dr Hoang Xuan Ty within the project frame named “Assessment on the indigenous knowledge of mountainous ethnic people in agriculture and natural resources management in Vietnam” funded by the International development research center (IDRC), Canada and Ford foundation in the period of 1997 to 1999. The research outcomes were edited and published by the Agricultural publishing house n Hanoi in 1998.

Within the framework of research program on Shifting cultivation, funded by the Institute of International environment and development (IIED), England. The Japanese Oversea forest cooperation association (JOFCA) also supported one research on indigenous knowledge in upland cultivation, combination of agro-forestry, regulations in upland cultivation and forest selection, done by Do Dinh Sam, the principal of this research, and other cooperators in 1994 — 1998.

The research done by the Asian Forestry Network in cooperation with the Forest Inventory and planning institute in 1998 covers some issues of community forest management from the angle of indigenous knowledge.

The Vietnamese Thai study done by the Vietnamese study and cross-culture center of Hanoi national university in 1989, which was edited by Cam Trong and published in 1989 under the name “Culture and history of Thai people in Vietnam”, mentions some aspects related to the regulations for forest and upland field protection of Thai people.

Below are some more previous researches on indigenous knowledge relating to the management, protection and development of forest:

The traditional laws and regulations for forest resources and upland field protection of Thai, M’Nong, Tay and Nung people.

Experience in development and utilization of some non timber forest product like cinamomum of Dao people in Yen bai, K’Ho people in Tra Bong, Tra Mi; amomum of Muong people in Hoa Binh and some types of herbal medicine of Muong people in Hoa Binh.

However, the collection of indigenous knowledge is not complete in terms of the issues relating to the management of different types of forest, some technical experience, application of indigenous knowledge bringing into play the community tradition of ethnical minorities in forest protection and management. Thus, those are the main contents of this research to complement to the collection of indigenous knowledge.

1.1.2 Objective:

The objective of the research is to make an assessment on the indigenous knowledge of some ethnical minorities in the northern part of Vietnam in forest resource protection and management in order to disseminate for the purpose of community forestry.

1.1.3 Target groups and scope of the research:

Due to the defined time frame, the survey collecting indigenous knowledge focuses on following target groups:

The indigenous knowledge of 3 mainly representative ethnic groups: Thai, H’Mong and Dao.

Research location mainly in Son la and Quang Ninh provinces.

Types of forest for research are:

§ Water source/watershed protection forest,

§ Scare forest and ghost forest,

Forest for timber and non-timber forest products (Cinamomum and herbal medicines, etc


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