Balancing economic development and environmental conservation are often difficult to maintain and usually results to clashes in favor of the former goal. Such case was experienced in Xuan Thuy National Park.
About 150 km south-west of
Park lies in the coastal zone of the Red River
Delta. The park is a vast wetland which covers an area of 7,100 hectares and
considered as the first Ramsar site in
Vietnam – a designation recognized
internationally for its ecological importance.
Despite being a national park and
Ramsar site, Xuan Thuy’s biodiversity is under threat from unsustainable levels
of fishing and overgrazing within the park boundaries. (The reckless cutting
of mangrove trees for firewood has resulted to destruction of the forest. Likewise,
the rapid and unmanaged grazing of cows, goats and buffaloes in the park adds
pressure to the wetland).This has prompted local authorities to set-up
regulations around the park which often led to disputes and opposition from the
communes. As such, minimizing conflict between economics and environment is the
most critical issue for the community and for local authorities.
Buffalos in the core zone
. Restored forest after project
One way to overcome such
challenge is to provide alternative livelihood activities in the community. This
includes establishing and strengthening local communities and indigenous
people’s participation in the management of wetlands. This approach has been
currently initiated by the Local Partners in Nam Dinh with the support of the
Wetlands Alliance through the Coastal Resources Institute (CORIN).
Mushroom culture pilot activity
has provided livestock owners in Giao Thien Commune an alternative livelihood
to grazing buffaloes. At present, the mushroom farming group has already built
work stations and facilities and provided the means to learn, share
experiences, and mutually help each other. This practice has improved the local
people's attitude about teamwork and cooperation. As a result, overgrazing
around the park was reduced; mangrove trees have been rehabilitated and at the
same time, mushrooms have provided an additional income for the farmers.
Mushroom model in Giao Thien Commune./
Farmer cropping mushroom./
Honey model in Giao An Commune./
On the other hand, honey
production is another livelihood opportunity being strengthened and improved in
Giao An Commune. Although a honeybee group was previously organized, members of
the group have never collaborated together and are often seen working on their
own. This situation has prompted the Giao An Commune Peoples Committee to
provide support to this group such as facilitating a study tour on honey
production at Cat Ba Nature Reserve and obtained commitment from
XuanThuyNational Park Management Board
to utilize the mangrove area.
Currently, the group has organized
dialogues to exchange experiences and developed a draft guideline for all
members. As a result, number of bee cages and honey produced by the group has
increased significantly which translates to an increased income among the
As such these livelihood
activities have made important impacts on local community groups. Capacities of
local community groups and cooperation skills to work in one group and their
awareness on wetlands and sustainable environment management are heightened.
This only shows that Nam Dinh
Local Partners have succeeded in stimulating cooperation among different
stakeholders and participation of local communities around