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Research Report

Biodiversity and Local Perceptions on the Edge of a Conservation Area, Khe Tran Village, Vietnam

Manuel Boissière
Imam Basuki
Piia Koponen
Meilinda Wan
Douglas Sheil
Copyright Date: Jan. 1, 2006
Pages: 118
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Table of Contents

  1. (pp. 1-2)

    Vietnam has been reforming its forest management in favour of household and local organization (Barney 2005). The government increasingly gives local people the right to manage the forests. Unfortunately, in this changing environment, recognition of local people’s rights is still limited and local knowledge and perspectives are rarely taken into account by the state institutions implementing land titling and decentralization. The challenge is to better inform each stakeholder on the perspectives of people living in and near the forest on the natural resources and landscapes. Furthermore, clarification of the local capacity to manage forests is necessary for better informed decision...

  2. (pp. 3-7)

    The multidisciplinary approach of MLA gathers information on land use in village and field, and studies local perceptions on forest landscapes and resources as well as local priorities in terms of land management and which land types, resources and activities are important to local people. The MLA team, working in both village and field, was composed by scientists from different disciplines (Table 1).

    Consisting of one or two researchers assisted by a translator, the village team was responsible for all socio-economic data collection. The team used questionnaire and data sheets to interview most households and key informants and to record...

  3. (pp. 8-9)

    (a) test and adapt the MLA method as an appropriate mechanism for integrating local perceptions and views in decision making and planning. The method was successfully tested in the rural context of Khe Tran, and even if the MLA was originally designed for assessments of local perceptions and priorities of forest dependant societies in a tropical context, we have shown here that the method can be adapted to situations where local communities rely less on the forest products than they used to;

    (b) provide baseline data that can be used for the biodiversity conservation of the planned Phong Dien Nature...

  4. (pp. 10-14)

    Government of Vietnam (GoV) policies have affected the forest-related activities of Khe Tran village. Prior to 1992, the upland forest, one of the last remaining patches of lowland evergreen forest including and adjacent to Khe Tran, was considered a ‘productive forest’ and managed by logging companies under the Department of Forestry at the province level. Then in 1992 this site, ‘dominated by a ridge of low mountains, which extends south-east from the Annamite mountains and forms the border between Quang Tri and Thua Thien Hue provinces’, was recognised for its ‘important role in protecting downstream water supplies and reducing flooding...

  5. (pp. 15-28)

    Khe Tran (Phong My commune, Phong Dien district, Thua Thien Hue province) is situated near the limits of the future Phong Dien Nature Reserve (PDNR) (Figure 3). The village covers an area of about 200 ha and its average elevation is 160 m asl. Located to the north-west of Hue city, it can be reached by car in 1.5 hours from the provincial capital. During the rainy season flooding regularly isolates the village for several days. Khe Tran is bordered by the Phong Dien Nature Reserve on the west and south, and by Hoà Bac village on the east.


  6. (pp. 29-45)

    Perceptions of natural resources differ between local people, such as the Pahy, and outsiders such as the government, traders, researchers or development agencies. Decision makers need information on local perspectives to plan and manage the natural resources in a more sustainable way. We present here the villagers’ perceptions of their surrounding natural (e.g. forest, river) and other (forest plantation, home garden, etc.) land types and the village’s biodiversity.

    We captured local perceptions of the surrounding landscape and biodiversity using scoring exercises (PDM), focus group discussions and interviews (as described in Methods, Chapter 2). Some of the results were qualitative concerning...

  7. (pp. 46-58)

    Our objective in Chapters 7 and 8 is to report the results from the field team activities, which were based on information provided by the village team. These two types of activities, even though separated, were the result of tight collaboration between all the team members.

    Small amounts of repetition of particular land types within the 11 plots (Figure 15) restrict the possibilities for statistical analysis and broader generalization but nevertheless the sample serves the purpose of better understanding the valuation and perceptions of landscape based on quantitative data, e.g. species identification. We will make some generalizations throughout the text,...

  8. (pp. 59-66)

    We categorized all the uses of plants recorded in the field according to the categories used in the PDM exercise (Table 7, Chapter 6). In addition a category of ‘miscellaneous’ was created for 15 species that were outside the most common use categories. In the miscellaneous group we find: fertilizer, support stalk for growth of pepper, fabric dye, shampoo, charcoal to blacken teeth, incense and furniture polish. Similarly to the results from the PDM exercises, no plant was recorded for the future and hunting place categories.

    The result of herbarium identification shows that 71% species gathered are useful species from...

  9. (pp. 67-70)

    From the previous sections of this report it is apparent that biodiversity is high in the Khe Tran area and that natural resources still play an important role in local people’s livelihoods. During our survey we observed that villagers gather these products from wild and domesticated sources and sometime even purchase them. Even if domesticated sources are perceived as the most important product sources, many products from the natural forest are still collected for several uses. In all, 134 plant and 29 animal species are considered important species of the forest (see Site description, Chapter 5).

    Considering the presence of...

  10. (pp. 71-78)

    In conclusion to the MLA activities implemented during this SDC-funded project, ‘Stakeholders and biodiversity at the local level’, we discuss the relevance of the method, summarize the main results of our surveys in the context of the different objectives of the project and provide recommendations in the Khe Tran village context.

    If the overall project sought to strengthen local capacity to plan and implement locally relevant and viable forest landscape management, two objectives were particularly relevant to our MLA activities:

    to develop appropriate mechanisms for integrating local perceptions and views in decision making and planning; and

    to facilitate greater involvement...