Adopting a market-driven approach, the RECOFTC project “Production-driven Forest Landscape Restoration under REDD+ through Private Sector-Community Partnerships as an Asian Regional Learning Exchange (FLOURISH)” aims to support climate change mitigation and adaptation, restore degraded forests, and improve the well-being of forest communities. The initiative has been implemented in three pilot landscapes in Lao PDR, Thailand and Vietnam, where deforestation and forest degradation are driven by rapid economic growth and associated infrastructure development, natural resource exploitation, and agricultural plantations. From the lessons learnt during implementation, the project is expected to improve forest landscape restoration in the Asia-Pacific region and worldwide.
In Vietnam, FLOURISH has partnered with the Nghe An Provincial Forest Protection and Development Fund to help local communities, especially ethnic minorities, restore and benefit from bamboo forests that have been depleted through a lack of technical knowledge about sustainable management, illegal bamboo harvesting, and the community’s weak position with bamboo buyers. The initiative proved its feasibility by achieving positive results. To date, five partnership agreements have been signed between five groups of households in Quy Chau district and the Duc Phong company on the supply of Lung bamboo as a raw material. The project has supported 241 households in Quy Chau and Que Phong districts to obtain Red Books (forest land-use right certification). The project also strengthened forest management and production capacity for 386 local people through various training courses on topics ranging from sustainable forest management and partnerships with the private sector to forest harvesting and Community Forest Management (CFM).
“We now know how to harvest Lung bamboo and then replant it. Over-harvesting of bamboo has stopped and the rate of illegal harvesting has significantly dropped compared to what it was before the project. We have benefited from the partnership between community members and Duc Phong company, which buys all the Lung bamboo we harvest at a stable price,” said Ms. Nong Thi Huong, a project participant, “I can observe our lives becoming better. We have enough money for our children’s education, gifts for our relatives and more food, including meat and milk. We have more time to do other part-time jobs.”
In addition to the practical activities in Vietnam, several papers have been published under the project with relevance to the region. These include: “Guidelines for Lung Bamboo (Bambusa longissima sp. nov.) Propagation by Offsets and Planting”, “Life Cycle Assessment for Key Bamboo Products in Viet Nam”, and an “Introduction to Forest Landscape Restoration”. The guidelines and reports provide information and insights for forest practitioners, government, the private sector, civil society and academia.