A farmer waters young acacia trees during the dry season in Tien Phuoc, Quang Nam Province, Vietnam. USAID's Green Annamites Project provides support to the Quang Nam and Thua Thien Hue provinces to increase carbon stocks by conserving and strengthening existing carbon reservoirs and reducing emissions from changes in land use practices. The Project promotes the development of sustainable acacia production and has collaborated with cooperatives and the private sector to provide environmentally friendly seedlings and improve technical and managerial capacity. Project participants planted more than 7,200 hectares of FSC-certified timber plantations that sequester more than 323,000 tons of carbon dioxide and have increased household income by 10 to 15 percent.
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Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation (REDD) will significantly contribute to the 8% target on emissions reduction committed by the country under the Paris Agreement, adopted in December 2015 to address climate change. In order to support this, the USAID Green Annamites Project supported Quang Nam and Thua Thien Hue provinces to reduce their carbon emissions and advance towards their green growth goals. The Project supported the preparation of the PRAP in Quang Nam with a participatory approach and is currently advancing discussions with buyers interested in the REDD+ carbon credits. The Project helped to improve capacity of 11 governmental agencies in Quang Nam and Thua Thien Hue to effectively implement the PRAP, with activities like strengthening the forest monitoring system, delivering training on low emission land use, supporting sustainable livelihood activities for community forest groups, training on REDD+ orientation as well as a technical support to analyze drivers of deforestation, forest degradation and hindrances to increasing carbon stocks.
Photo taken in April 2019 at Xa A Xan, Tay Giang district, Quang Nam Province, Vietnam.
Ka Lũy literally wears her reverence for the natural world on her skin. A member of the K’Ho tribe, a once-nomadic ethnic minority group in Vietnam’s Central Highlands, Lũy’s hand-woven dress is adorned with patterns and symbols representing mountains and trees. Lũy and many of her fellow K’Ho earn a significant portion of their income by patrolling the forests near the village of Kalatangu as part of Vietnam’s Payment for Forest Environmental Services (PFES) program. The money makes a big difference in Lũy’s daily life, but also in laying a foundation for her children’s future. “Since we mostly do farming and we only earn a living from coffee and rice, an additional source of income from the forest for the remaining months is really necessary,” she says. As critical as the income from PFES is on a personal level, Lũy’s conviction about the importance of forests transcends her own circumstances. When asked if she has a message for those living far from the hills of Lam Dong Province, Lũy’s response is simple. “Let us join hands to protect our forest,” she says. “If we have forest, we will have a green, clean, and beautiful earth, as well.
Tay Giang district, Quang Nam province, Vietnam. May 2020. Forest ecosystems, along with their fauna and flora, can only be protected and coexist sustainably when local communities living near forests and / or dependent on forests improve their livelihoods and income in a sustainable and environmental-friendly direction.
The USAID Green Annamites project has been successful in supporting rural communities and small private sector companies to join the One Community One Product (OCOP) program promoted by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, MARD, particularly in the Quang Nam province, where the Project has worked with ethnic minorities living in and around forested areas to develop value chains for non-timber forest Products (NTFP). This merge between the OCOP program and USAID conservation-friendly Value chains created the “Green OCOP”, as value a chain approach that contributes to sustainable natural resource management and biodiversity conservation, while improving rural income and helping to achieve three key Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) such as SDG1 (poverty), SDG8 (comprehensive and sustainable economic growth) and SDG 15 (sustainable use of terrestrial resources and prevention of biodiversity loss).
Ho Chi Minh’s comment that “forests are gold” clearly made an impression on Chu Ly Ha Giang. The head of one of 36 households in Lieng Bon hamlet that have been tasked with patrolling and protecting a little over 850 acres, Giang echoes the father of modern Vietnam when asked about the importance of forests. “For us, forests are precious, and they are precious to the state as well,” he says. “Forests are gold and we manage them very closely.” For his work ensuring no illegal logging or farming encroaches on the 23-plus hectares he is directly responsible for, Giang receives about 3.8 million Vietnamese Dong (about $164 dollars) each quarter. It’s money that makes a big difference to Giang, who has eight children and six grandchildren. Along with income from farming, the PFES payments cover living expenses and – most important to Giang – the cost of education. “The state has now supported [us] with schools and roads and our children have sufficient schooling,” he says. “Income from coffee, persimmons, and other short-term crops helps with children’s schooling, which is our top priority.”
Ka Lũy (on the right) literally wears her reverence for the natural world on her skin. A member of the K’Ho tribe, a once-nomadic ethnic minority group in Vietnam’s Central Highlands, Lũy’s hand-woven dress is adorned with patterns and symbols representing mountains and trees. Lũy and many of her fellow K’Ho earn a significant portion of their income by patrolling the forests near the village of Kalatangu as part of Vietnam’s Payment for Forest Environmental Services (PFES) program. The money makes a big difference in Lũy’s daily life, but also in laying a foundation for her children’s future. “Since we mostly do farming and we only earn a living from coffee and rice, an additional source of income from the forest for the remaining months is really necessary,” she says. As critical as the income from PFES is on a personal level, Lũy’s conviction about the importance of forests transcends her own circumstances. When asked if she has a message for those living far from the hills of Lam Dong Province, Lũy’s response is simple. “Let us join hands to protect our forest,” she says. “If we have forest, we will have a green, clean, and beautiful earth, as well.
Bac Ma, National Park. Thua Tien Hue, Vietnam. March, 2020. The USAID Green Annamites Project supported the implementation of the Spatial Monitoring Reporting Tool (SMART), the Management Effectiveness Tracking Tool (METT) and the installation of camera traps for biodiversity monitoring. Staff of protected areas and national parks in QN and TTH provinces (Vietnam) have been able to utilize the features of the SMART to synchronize and analyze data, thereby optimizing their patrolling plan. Management officials of the Forest Protection Department and Management Boards of Nature Reserve (NR) go in-depth in analyzing the results collected from METT to consolidate the development and adjustment of the annual management plan.
The project strengthens biodiversity monitoring in the NRs through systematic camera traps, listening posts and forest cover analysis through geographic information technology (GIS). The project additionally installed of 153 camera traps in the NRs, conducted advance training on patrol skills, species identification and biodiversity monitoring for the specialized force on forest protection, at the same time, supported develop sustainable forest management plans for several NRs.
K’Dắt (pictured far right) is something of a veteran when it comes to patrolling and protecting the forest near the Tà Lài Commune where he lives. K’Dắt joined the patrols to protect against illegal logging and poaching in 2014. But a big part of K’Dắt’s work takes place outside the cover of trees, in conversations with his fellow community members. “We try to convince people that forest resources are running out and we should not chop down trees or trap birds and animals,” he says. “At first people challenged us, but over time they managed to understand, since local people rely on the forest for their livelihood. Given the decreasing resources, people now understand.” As one of the leaders of his community’s patrols, K’Dắt receives 10 million Vietnamese Dong (about $430 dollars). It’s money that helps him send his 14-year-old daughter and young son to school while also helping cover other daily living expenses. While K’Dắt has spent much of his time convincing neighbors that forest protection is important, his message is universal. “I share the common global awareness forests are very useful to us,” he says. “They help absorb carbon, combat floods, storms and drought.”
A Luoi district, Thua Thien Hue province, Vietnam. May 2019. The USAID Green Annamites Project supported Quang Nam and Thua Thien Hue provinces in Vietnam to reduce emissions and adopt green development strategies, by applying climate smart agricultural practices (CSA). The Project promotes establishing smart agricultural models that enhance the livelihoods of local communities and reduce emissions such as the application of the Integrated Crop Management (ICM) model on wet rice, vegetables and clean agriculture cultivation, restoration and development of local specialties such as Thanh Tra pomelo (Huong Van, TT Hue) and Ra Du rice (A Luoi, TT Hue). More than ten thousand people increased their income thanks to the sustainable agricultural models. The smart agricultural model created positive impact on the economic, social and environmental aspects while helped farmers to increase their productivity, income and adopt modern cultivation techniques to reduce production cost and increase their awareness on environmental protection.