NGOC LAN DINH, FRANZ HEIDHUES, GERTRUD BUCHENRIEDER
University of Hohenheim, Institute of Agricultural Economics and Social Sciences in the Tropics and Subtropics, Germany
In the period between 1975 and 1995, forest resources in Vietnam degraded rapidly. Increasing pressure on land and poverty have been the main problems with negative effects on sustainable land use in Vietnam. To address the problem of rapid deforestation, the government from 1993 onwards formulated policies regulating forest land allocation to households. These policies are based on the assumption that households, if they receive the of forestry activities benefits, will protect and develop forests. However, the forest land allocation process has been slow and the effect on reforestation and conservation unclear. The objectives of this study are to assess the forest land allocation process to households and its determining factors, understand local people's perception of the forest land allocation and appraise the effect of the forest land allocation on forest land use.
The results of the study show that at present, only about 50% of the households in Vietnam eligible for forest land allocation have actually received forest land. The farmers' income and living conditions in the study area are low, with an average household income of 515 US$ per household per year. With an average family size of [5.9]personshousehold per capita incomes are below the poverty level of US$ per day. Also, the education level is low with 56% of household heads having attended primary school education and 26% being illiterate. The forest land allocation is still proceeding; however, expectation concerning forest land policies is not high among farmers. Nevertheless, reforestation has taken place and the forest area, the quality of forests has improved. Multiple linear regression models were used for analysing the impact of several factors on forest land allocation and household income. The results indicate that the forest land allocated to households depend mainly on a household's forest practices, the forest situation and farmer's participation in forestry projects. The forest land allocation has had a positive effect on household income at significance level of 1%. The study concludes that forest land allocation to households has induced local people to play positive roles in forest protection, management and has increased incomes of participating rural households .
Keywords: Allocation, forest land, household, land use