The State, officially the owner of all land, allocated to each family a right of use on rice-growing land and then on forest land. One of the objectives of this land reform was to settle farmers who hitherto still practised shifting slash-and burn culture. The State put forward their responsibility in the destruction of the forests and the social insecurity associated with their way of life to encourage these peasant farmers to develop crops more remunerative and more respectful of the environment.
The reform, an instrument of agricultural policy, also aimed for a system of regional specialization of agriculture: the irrigated plains and deltas being given over to intensive rice production whereas forestry and stock-rearing were encouraged in mountain areas.
Since 1998, researchers on the project ‘Système Agraire de Montagnes’ (2), in partnership with authorities in Viet-Nam and international NGOs, have contributed to the identification, adaptation and diffusion of productive, ecologically viable cultivation systems, and are harnessing their efforts to understand the agricultural and environmental dynamics involved. The team of Jean-Christophe Castella, IRD geographer-agronomist, has analysed the impact of this land reform on the changes and developments in land use in four mountain villages in the province of Bac Kan, in the North of Viet Nam.
The farmers who have enough rice-fields to cover their family’s needs have not changed their production methods and try to gain extra income by means of fruit-tree plantations or stock-rearing. The others, who are not self-sufficient in rice, have been severely affected by a reform which leaves them no alternative but to cease abruptly the slash-and-burn culture their short-term food security depended on. Their forced settlement results from the impossibility of maintaining their former production methods owing to the sudden restriction on their living space.
These farmers react to this crisis situation by multiplying productive activities geared to generating supplementary income. However, this search for alternatives to slash-and-burn techniques can prove to be long and difficult in economic terms and is sometimes done to the detriment of forest resources. These farmers are then caught in the spiral of poverty. Many of them have joined and swelled the migratory flows heading for the mountains in the centre of Viet-Nam. Between 1991 and 1996, 1.5 million persons have thus migrated, shifting the process of deforestation from the North towards the South of the country.
The positive effects of the land reform on forest regeneration support the arguments in favour of individual property rights. The transfer of responsibilities to an individual is presumed to carry an incentive to make rational use of the land and to protect resources seeing that he reaps the benefit but also has to bear the possible costs associated with degradation.
Unprecedented economic growth and a reversal of the deforestation process have been concomitant with this policy. In effect, after a deforestation that was diffuse in character and difficult to control, forest regeneration developed in the space of a few years over large geographical areas. Nevertheless, the direct link with the land policy has not been demonstrated and in several cases, this tendency preceded its application. Field research showed that the land allocation finally reinforced most of the rice farmers in the customary rights they already possessed.
The forest regeneration would in any case have taken place owing to the combined action of three factors: intensification of agriculture in the low-lying rice-growing areas, extension of land clearance up to the limits of arable land and government forest-planting programmes. The former itinerant farmers, now restricted to a village territory too small for guaranteeing the durability of slash-and-burn culture systems, destroy the local forest cover or migrate to new pioneer fronts. The solution to an environmental problem has contributed to the emergence of poverty. It is now essential to come to the aid of populations marginalized by land reform in order to avoid local degradation of living standards and resources, and the possible transfer of such problems to other places by migration.
Marie Guillaume | alfa
Energy crop production on conservation lands may not boost greenhouse gases
13.03.2017 | Penn State
How nature creates forest diversity
07.03.2017 | International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)
The Institute of Semiconductor Technology and the Institute of Physical and Theoretical Chemistry, both members of the Laboratory for Emerging Nanometrology (LENA), at Technische Universität Braunschweig are partners in a new European research project entitled ChipScope, which aims to develop a completely new and extremely small optical microscope capable of observing the interior of living cells in real time. A consortium of 7 partners from 5 countries will tackle this issue with very ambitious objectives during a four-year research program.
To demonstrate the usefulness of this new scientific tool, at the end of the project the developed chip-sized microscope will be used to observe in real-time...
Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.
The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.
Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...
Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.
Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...
In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...
20.03.2017 | Event News
14.03.2017 | Event News
07.03.2017 | Event News
28.03.2017 | Life Sciences
28.03.2017 | Information Technology
28.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy