New ways forward in sustainable resource management in Vietnam

The Finnish government is working together with FAO to provide Viet Nam with the funding and expertise which will allow the country to plant the seeds of a sustainable and profitable forest management. Through these partnerships, Vietnam is building on its successes in sustainable forestry in recent years.

A key first step in discovering what can and should be done to make a country’s approach to forestry more sustainable is establishing a modern and accurate means of assessing the state of its  forest resources.  In March 2011, FAO and Finnish experts began working closely with Viet Nam’s Forestry Inventory and Planning Institute, under the supervision of the Vietnam Administration of Forestry and the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development to launch Vietnam’s National Forest Assessment program, or NFA.

Vietnam is a really very interesting case for us in forestry because it is one of the few developing countries in the world that has actually increased its forest area in the last few years.
Patrick Durst, FAO Senior Forestry Officer  

Workers on the NFA initiative use the most up-to-date methods to measure trees, their growth rates and the location of forested areas. As a result, more precise data is gathered more quickly and efficiently.


Nowadays, we need more accurate data and information on forest resources, including biodiversity, environment carbon stock of the forest and also the information on social economic and other factors related to forest governance. It enables the policy makers in making suitable policies and plans for more sustainable forest management.
Ho Manh Toung, the National Forestry Project Coordinator for Vietnam

Today in Viet Nam, the degradation of the quality of natural forests and the low quality and productivity of plantation forests are generally acknowledged facts. The improved national forest assessment, in addition to traditional means of measuring forests, will now also increase the focus on timber quality, biodiversity and carbon measurements.

Transparent land tenure and forestry-related decision making are the basis for sustainable forest management. Without legal access to land, no individual is willing to invest in forestry. Land use and forest right certificates are currently being reviewed and distributed to households and individuals, but the process is slow. 

Furthermore, changing weather patterns are adding new challenges to the task of forecasting how forest coverage will react to different rainfall and temperature conditions throughout the year. These changes can affect growth rates as well as where various tree species will thrive.

Building on progress already made, the Finnish government and the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization are developing and disseminating tools and methodologies to meet these challenges and help member nations choose and profit from sustainable forestry.

Like Viet Nam, ever more nations around the world are realizing the positive contribution that a vibrant and sustainable forestry industry can make:  more and better jobs; lower environmental impact; a carbon neutral industry; and a renewable, sustainable approach to economic development

last updated:  Tuesday, July 9, 2013