Planting ceremony marks the start of forest restoration in the Annamite Mountains, Vietnam
The Central Annamites is one of the areas that has the highest level of biodiversity both regionally and globally, with many rare and endemic species including the saola, douc langur, Truong Son muntjac, large antlered muntjac and striped rabbit. However, the forest is now threatened by fragmentation due especially to illegal timber and wildlife trade, as well as unsustainable farming and forestry practices.
Habitats that become fragmented are a major threat to the natural ‘corridors’ in the forest that enable species to move around and mate. These corridors are fundamental to the survival of the unique species in this biodiversity hotspot, many of which are being pushed to the edge of extinction. Without active efforts to restore the forest, the ecosystem will not recover.
“WWF aims to connect these fragmented forests in the central Annamites to provide natural corridors which will facilitate safe migration routes for the area’s unique species, including the precious saola.. The planting of indigenous trees is one of the many steps taken by WWF through its CarBi project to restore the integrity of this unique biodiversity treasure,” said Dr. Le Thuy Anh, Central Annamites Landscape Manager with WWF-Vietnam.
The Forest Restoration Component of CarBi is a community based forest protection strategy, implemented in partnership with local households who will take responsibility for regenerating the forest on which their livelihoods depend. The selected households work closely with project staff, getting involved in identifying planting areas, and reaching consensus on the most appropriate tree species to plant and how to manage the reforestation process.
This active involvement of local communities in the managed regeneration of the forest is a crucial aspect of the CarBi Programme’s Conservation Economy philosophy, aimed at the diversification and enhancement of local people’s livelihoods, and bringing a sense of ownership as well as financial reward to participants.
“The sustainable management, protection, development and use of natural resources is key to the socio-economic development strategy of Quang Nam Province. The Provincial Forest Development Plan of 2015 – 2020 contains a target to ensure 52% of Quang Nam is covered by forest. Therefore, as well as the province's efforts to reach this target, we highly appreciate the contribution of organizations such as WWF. This kind of activity helps to raise awareness among local people about protecting and developing forest in their own areas, as well as providing more income for them.” Mr. Phan Tuan, Director of Quang Nam Provincial Forest Protection Department.
Participating households are given quality seedlings and fertilizer, which will ensure successful establishment of the new forest, while CarBi and government field staff monitor and supervise their work. They also receive training in transporting, planting and tending to the seedlings, and earn payment for their work in planting and tending to the forest through savings accounts funded by CarBi, set up at district branches of the Vietnam Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development.
Through these reforestation activities, the CarBi programme is creating employment and enhancing livelihood resilience among the people most dependent on the forest, while preserving the environment for the astonishing range of species native to the region, including the critically endangered saola.
The WWF-Greater Mekong CarBi Programme is an unprecedented four-year, trans-border conservation economy assignment, which aims to protect and regenerate more than 200,000 hectares of unique forest in one of the world's biodiversity hot spots, focused on the Central Annamite Mountains joining Laos and Vietnam. It brings together development partners, national, provincial and district governments, and local communities to preserve and restore the forests and their unique species, and to protect and enhance the livelihoods of the people whose existence depends on the ecosystem services provided by these forests. Financial support to CarBi is primarily provided by KfW, the German Development Bank.
Reforestation is a cornerstone component of the CarBi programme, which includes plans to:
• Establish 450 hectares of new forest by households.
• Enable the regeneration of over 3,400 hectares of forest.
• Issue Forest Protection Contracts covering over 3,000 hectares.
Establish Community Forest Management over 3,000 hectares.