Community forest management in
Pathway towards resilience
Dzung Tri Ngo
ForDev/EM ETH Zurich, Swizerland
Hue University of Agriculture & Forestry (HUAF), Vietnam
Vietnam forestry sector
Concept of the study
Overview of Vietnam
Forest types by origin
Forest types by function
Total forest areas = 14
Forests by owners
CFM in Vietnam
1990s decentralization in forest management: state forestry
social forestry: multiple stakeholders in forest management (Sikor &
Forest allocation: hand over forest tenure to local people for 50 year
Forest owners vs. forest types:
State forest management boards (protected areas), Military, local
governments, private companies, state forest companies.
Village communities, household groups, individual households;
Natural forest, plantation; special-use forest (protected areas),
watershed protection forests, production forest.
By end of 2013, communities: 4%, HHs: 24%, state: 55%,
unassigned: 16% in total 14 mil. ha (MARD 2013)
Diversity of ‘community concept’: traditional village, household
group, farmer club, farmer cooperative.
Question on SFE: 130,000 ha of forest lost during
2007-2010 in central highland (MARD, 2012)
Question on CFM: forest conversion to commercial
land uses (Rubber, Coffee, Acacia);
Question on ecosystem services: Flooding &
landslide unsecure local livelihood; Loss of
biodiversity, carbon emission global impacts
1. What has been wrong with forest allocation policy?
2. Why can’t local people manage forest effectively?
3. What should be enabling conditions for local people
to practice sustainable forest conservation?
1. Clearly defined boundaries
2. Congruence between rules and local
3. Collective-choice arrangements
5. Graduated sanctions
6. Conflic-resolution mechanisms
7. Min.recognition of rights to organize
8. Nested enterprises
Ideas for CFM resilience
Enabling conditions for CFM
(i) Forest tenure
CFM in context of Vietnam:
Allocated forest = long-term tenure for forest owner
Contracted forest: short-term ‘tenure’ for protection (e.g.
Payment for environmental service PES)
Traditional forest: managed by local communities for a
long time (with/out official recognition by the government)
Bundle of property rights at 5 scales: access,
withdrawal, management, exclusion, and alienation
(Schlager and Osstrom, 1992)
Natural forest: only incremental stock of timber + NTFPs
Plantation: all trees & NTFPs (new investment on bare
Analysis of forest tenure by different levels of rights in CFM
(Schlager & Ostrom 1992)
* Question: Is long-term forest tenure (proprietor) a strong incentive for community
to practice forest conservation?
Why tenure is important for
Incentives for long-term investment in allocated
areas without concerns on inheritance/transfer to
Better planning for forestry sector: long-term cycle
of production of timber & services;
Favorable conditions for resource mobilization;
Encourage sustainable uses of natural resources
(due to long-term profit) vs. destructed harvesting;
Easily adapted with new change due to full rights
of decision making power.
(2) Business practices
Sets of activities that local people apply to generate
incomes for short-and-medium term benefits while
investing in long-term benefits derived from their
Various examples on business activities include NTFP
cultivation, tourism, hunting, recreation;
Collaboration between private/NGOs with local people:
rattan plantation, Acacia, medicinal herbs, and
Recent initiatives: Community Forest Enterprises
(Macqueen 2013, Donovan 2010, WWF 2014)
Enabling conditions for a successful
community-forest enterprises (CFE)
(Ngo et al. 2015)
Why need business in
Allocated forests to local people = degraded
forests rehabilitation/protection only;
Local livelihood: high rate of poverty income
generation vitally important as forest protection;
Incentives for immediate and long-term effort for
Forest can only be protected well if they are part
of local livelihood strategy (FAO, 2003)
(3) Local participation &
Participation in forest allocation = decision making
power in forest areas, types, management scheme,
benefit sharing, and investment.
Institutions = Formal/informal rules and norms that
shape human interactions with other and nature
Local institutions can be in various forms/modalities:
Informal institutions: traditional regulations that exist in
communities and recognized by most of people;
Formal institutions: designed by a village/tribal council
and acknowledged by county/province/state through
process of legislation;
Formal institutions: functioning or non-functioning
Low level of community participation in forest allocation: forest
types, forest areas, property rights, benefit sharing.
Inactive attitude of communities towards forest management:
consequence of long-term state management less
ownership over forest tenure.
Traditional regulations (Katu and Pako ethnic minorities) exist
but less active role in shaping local behaviors toward forest
Reasons: conflict with ‘modern admin structure’ i.e. commune
office, village board.
Weak local institution (less collective action) in the household
or group of household given economic and political setting.
Compared principles 3 & 7 (Ostrom, 1990), local participation
& institutions are not viable enough for a self-sustaining
(4) Gov. & Non-Gov. supports
Supports aim at creating more ‘incentives’ for local people to
actively participate in forest management, protection, and
Two types of supports:
Create legal framework to enable local communities effectively
manage forests; E.g. Rights and responsibilities of forest owners
Conduct particular programs/projects to support local initiatives in
forest management. E.g., buffer-zone development, subsidy for
plantation (Program 147)
Somehow government supports can lead to ‘perverse’
incentives: good intention may create negative impacts on
land, forest, and other resources (externalities). E.g.
improving local livelihoods by transforming poor forest to
rubber plantation caused thousands hectares of deforestation
in central highland of Vietnam (Forest Trends 2013).
Lack of support in forest inventory – due to insufficient technical &
financial support caused inappropriate management plan;
Benefit sharing mechanism: unclear between communities (& among
members) Low incentives for forest protection. (I get the meat, you
eat the bone!)
No support for business activities after allocation as well as market
development, learning network isolated communities/initiatives.
Long-term payment for environmental service: available only with
communities protecting watershed forest.
Very low and weak support from the government (central and local
authorities) in order to improve the livelihood of local forest recipients:
incapable supporting staff.
Weak incentives and low capacity for community resilience in forest
(5) Global initiatives
‘Stick and carrot’ playing game: conditional participation only.
REDD+: local participation as condition for ‘payment
mechanism’ such as Monitoring-Reporting-Verification
(MRV), Free Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC).
PFES: direct service provider but indirect negotiator
government-financed style (Stefanie et al. 2008).
FLEGT: Voice of local people during VPA negotiation; FPIC
requirement on impacts of FLEGT on local livelihood.
FSC and sustainable forest management: Principle 2, 3, 4
(tenure right, indigenous people, local community
REDD+ program 2nd phase in Vietnam: still in ‘capacity
building’ step (US$ 30 mil. 2013-2018)
PES: not yet operated in Hue province. Even when
operation, very low payment estimated: US$ 8 –
10/ha/yr (vs. US$ 15,000/ha of rubber trees).
VPA/FLEGT: in process of negotiation, but potentially to
have negative impacts to forest dependent
communities, esp. for communities without land tenure
FSC: budget for maintenance of small group
certification (FPD Quang Tri, 2012).
Strong movement of supporting CFM in forest
Case study: PFES in Vietnam
Payment for forest environmental services (PFES)
entrusted payment for ESES providers
20 legal documents issues: decree
(government), decisions (prime
minister), and circulars;
29/63 provinces have established
funds for PFES operation;
142 mil. USD generated in 2011-
2013, of which 83.7% from
hydropower plants, 15.5% from
water companies, and 0.82% from
PFES contribute 22.3% of annual
budget for forestry sector.
1. Low rate of disbursement (46%)
Slow/insecure land tenure
Too many & scattered
numbers of ES providers
high transaction costs
Weak coordination among
Only ES providers with land title can access PFES
contract: individual households, companies, user groups;
Disincentive for communities to participate in PFES due
to insecure legal status of ‘villages, communities’
‘forest cooperative’ is piloted in some provinces.
3. Unclear definitions of ‘user’ and ‘provider’
Who are the ES users:
hydropower plants, water
institutionalized payment on
customers (20 VDN/kWh for
electricity, 40 VND/m3 for
Unclear role of National Park:
provides (of forest protection,
landscape beauty) but also
‘users’ in term of tourism
protection & development fund,
4. Benefit sharing issues
Payment is low compared with forest
conversion on other land use types as
coffee, acacia, rubber, shrimp farm,
Trade-off between equity,
effectiveness, and efficiency: same
rate for all forest type/conditions?
Calculation: Per-hectare based
payment not rationale = total fee paid
divided by total areas of protection!
Large forested watershed get lower
payment than small watershed!
Misuse of money received from
PFES: corruption & unsustainability
5. Monitoring & evaluation system
No clear monitoring and evaluation system established through
PFES: what is going on? And how to measure success?
No environmental-socio-economic baseline data collected: how
to evaluate effectiveness of PFES?
Mechanism of transparent M&E: dialogues, complaints,
Changing contexts that affect
CFM traditional approach
Legality of forest tenure required by most of multilateral
funding projects (KfW, WB, PES, REDD, FLEGT)
Capacity of technical and financial viability to manage
forest ecosystem (i.e. monitoring forest growth,
calculating CO2, conditionality of PES)
Well-structured community organizations and institutions
Strong law/institution enforcement in forest protection vs.
commercial plantation (forest encroachment)
Conflict resolution between members and among
communities in local context.
Questions for group
discussionGroup 1: Forest Protection Department (FPD)
Being FPD, how could you help to promote local communities
to gain access to forest tenure under context of land use
Group 2: PES agency
Describe approach to get payment from ES buyer
(hydropower plants & water companies) and pay/transfer that
payment to local communities for forest conservation.
Group 3: Local communities
What challenges do you foresee in managing forests in context
of: degraded forests, high risk of conversion, low payment, and
weak in law enforcement?