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Cycle 8 (2019 Deadline)

Identifying conditions for successful landscape-scale conservation policy implementation in Vietnam

PI: Thu Thuy Pham (, Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), in partnership with the Vietnam National University of Forestry
U.S. Partner: Darla Munroe, The Ohio State University
Project dates: January 2020 - December 2020

Project Overview:

Data collected by CIFOR’s Global Comparative Study on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (GCS-REDD, 2008-2020), partly funded by USAID, provides an empirical foundation to study the connection between conservation stakeholder networks and the ecological and livelihoods impacts of landscape-scale forest conservation in Vietnam. While Vietnam’s Payment for Forest Environmental Services (PFES, 2008-present) and REDD+ (2012-present) policies were implemented, CIFOR collected data on national forest policy networks. In this PEER project, the PI and her team intend to collect socioeconomic and remote sensing data on land cover before and after PFES and REDD+ implementation for the entire country, using landscape ecology statistics to characterize forest change around and landscape connectivity between sites. They will use archival materials from government, NGO/CSO, and other organizations’ websites and annual reports, newspaper reports, and policy literature, alongside GSC-REDD’s national policy network data, to identify collaborative networks involved in PFES and REDD+ implementation in an sample of provinces. These additional data, combined with the large existing archive of qualitative data collected as part of the GCS-REDD study, will allow them to model connections between conservation stakeholders, testing the relationship between network structures, land-use changes, and ecological outcomes.

This project’s findings should fill a critical gap by collecting and assessing evidence on the impacts of PFES and REDD+ on forest cover and structure and local livelihoods. The project will help build capacity for multiple stakeholders (government agencies, NGOs, research institutes, the private sector, and the media), bridging organizations to encourage participation, dialogue, and coordination across scales and sectors. The project’s cross-scale focus is particularly important given that REDD+ capacity building in Vietnam has focused on the national level, and collaboration beyond the state forest sector has been difficult due to scarce resources and limited capacity. This study will provide the Vietnamese Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development with scientific inputs that will enable the ministry to refine its PFES and REDD+ monitoring and evaluation framework. As 25 million people in Vietnam are forest dependents and more than 5 million are participating in the PFES scheme, this study can enhance local-level social capital while increasing the effectiveness of the scheme.  

Summary of Recent Activities:

U.S. co-partner Dr. Caleb Gallemore of Lafayette College helped kick off this project by visiting Vietnam for 10 days in January 2020 for discussions of the project work plans and overall design of the study methodology with the PI Dr. Thuy and her colleagues. His visit provided an opportunity for several knowledge sharing events. On January 6, 7, and 9, a series of seminars took place at CIFOR’s offices in Hanoi on the following topics: (1) training for young Vietnamese researchers at CIFOR on new research methods; (2) sharing by CIFOR staff of political and social research methods to analyze impact assessments on the national scheme for payment for forest environmental services (PFES); and (3) analysis of knowledge and data gaps and development of a common work plan. The visit was capped off on January 13 a workshop held at the Vietnam Forestry University, during which Dr. Thuy and Dr. Gallemore provided training on new research methodology (social network and ecological network analysis) to researchers, lecturers, and Master’s students. They also presented their research methods and objectives to obtain feedback and seek further collaboration in paper writing and training. The PI informed policy makers at the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development about Dr. Gallemore’s visit and the public events and shared all relevant materials with them. In particular, they have informed government agencies responsible for the national PFES in Vietnam. The government experts have helped the team collect data needed for analysis and welcomed input from them to help in refining their policies.

In addition to the workshop and seminars, meetings were also held with researchers from the Vietnam National University, USAID-funded projects in Vietnam, provincial governments where PFES is being implemented, GIZ (the German Corporation for International Cooperation), and also PanNature, a leading NGO in Vietnam, to inform them about the project activities and ask for their help to provide relevant data needed for the study.

Due to the coronavirus pandemic and associated travel and distancing restrictions in Vietnam, the PI has had to postpone a planned May 2020 field data collection visit with U.S. colleagues and various consultation and dissemination events. They continue to hold weekly meetings remotely to discuss progress on data gathering and ideas for papers. Fieldwork and events will resume once the virus situation allows.

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