Resource use among rural agricultural households near protected areas in Vietnam: The social costs of conservation and implications for enforcement

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49 Scopus citations

Abstract

This article examines the use of forests in a protected area by nearby agriculturalists in central Vietnam. Research indicates that the majority of rural farmers interviewed who lived near a state designated protected area were receiving both subsistence and cash incomes from forest-based activities, primarily from the collection of forest products. However, much of the collection of forest produce was officially illegal, as it occurred in state protected forests, and interdiction efforts were on the increase. Yet, little attention has been paid in Vietnam to the need for income substitution for households who lose access to forest produce as a result of conservation enforcement, particularly in the case of farmers who live near, but not in, protected areas; their resources use has been 'invisible' due to a lack of attention and research on the topic. This misunderstanding of the importance of forests to rural farmers has the potential to result in households facing adverse welfare and livelihood outcomes as protected areas boundaries are tightened, and local communities face increased opportunity costs due to stricter conservation enforcement. The article concludes that substitution for loss of income due to conservation activities would best be achieved through carefully targeted interventions to specific high-impact and high-dependency households. Additionally, investments in new sources of wage labor and other low capital-input activities, rather than in agriculture, would likely be of most benefit.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)113-131
Number of pages19
JournalEnvironmental Management
Volume45
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2010
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Global and Planetary Change
  • Ecology
  • Pollution

Keywords

  • Conservation
  • ICDPs
  • Non-timber forest products
  • Poverty
  • Protected areas
  • Rural livelihoods
  • Vietnam

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