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Afforestation and forestry land allocation in northern Vietnam: Analysing the gap between policy intentions and outcomes

Lookup NU author(s): Floriane Clement, Professor Jaime AmezagaORCiD



Many tropical countries have recently implemented similar forest policies including large-scale afforestation programmes and the devolution of land-use rights. Their success in enhancing livelihoods and contributing to improved environmental services has been widely questioned. This paper discusses the impacts of state afforestation efforts and forestry land allocation on farmers' land-use decisions in northern Vietnam. It links policy outcomes with factors located beyond the local level by analysing the decision-making process at the policy implementation stage. Our study suggests that the current national afforestation campaign has not successfully involved households in the forestry sector and that forestry land allocation to households has often disrupted existing land-use systems with little impact on afforestation. These discrepancies between policy intentions and outcomes are partly linked to the relative freedom provinces have to interpret and adapt policies during the implementation stage. In this respect, the political and economic context has played a significant role in providing particular financial and bureaucratic incentives to the former State Forest Enterprises and to civil servants. However, we argue that these actors have been allowed or even encouraged to take advantage of these incentives by national policy-makers thanks to: (1) the lack of clarity or the poor adequacy of the policies designed at the central level, and (2) the blurred character of prevailing national discourses promoting afforestation and community-based forest management. We recommend that national policy-makers allow flexibility in policy implementation but develop mechanisms of accountability and control between the provincial and the central authorities, (C) 2008 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Clement F, Amezaga JM

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Land Use Policy

Year: 2009

Volume: 26

Issue: 2

Pages: 458-470

ISSN (print): 0264-8377

ISSN (electronic): 1873-5754

Publisher: Pergamon


DOI: 10.1016/j.landusepol.2008.06.003


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