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POLICY

Network

VNGO - FLEGT
FOREST LAW ENFORCEMENT - GOVERNANCE - TRADE (FLEGT)

QUARTER 4/2016

INCLUDING

Photo: SRD

02

Ensuring legality of plantation timber at


household level: amendments in policy and
implementation required

Strengthen capacity for legal support


from local rangers key to improvement
in law compliance by households-scale
timber processing facilities

20

11

Grant of landuse rights certificate in the


context of VPA/ FLEGT implementation

26

Lacking of specific guidance on the use


of land within river and stream protection
corridors, forest owners face with
difficulties in accessing sustainable forest
management certificates

Dealing with increased demand for


timber and firewood for domestic use
by communities living near forest in the
context of changes in forest policy of
vietnam

32

HONG DUC PUBLSHING HOUSE

Photo: SRD

ENSURING LEGALITY OF PLANTATION


TIMBER AT HOUSEHOLD LEVEL:
AMENDMENTS IN POLICY AND
IMPLEMENTATION REQUIRED
Nguyen The Cuong, Nguyen Quang Tan

Key

MESSAGE
Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development has promulgated regulations to
monitor, supervise the volume of harvested plantation timber and ensure legal
foundation for timber flow in the market. However, in reality, the majority of
households participating in forest planting and timber harvesting do not observe
these regulations due to their limited capacity as well as insufficiencies of the
regulations which lead to emerged negative impacts. Therefore, the State should
introduce necessary policy amendments in order to closely monitor and supervise
the amount of plantation timber after harvesting, ensuring its legality and enabling
the involvement of the households into the VPA/PLEGT process.
VNGO - FLEGT

INTRODUCTION

Vietnam is currently at the late steps of the


negotiation stage before the signing of the
VPA/FLEGT with the European Union, and
it is very likely that the FLEGT certification
will be applied in 2018. In order to put this
agreement into practice, the State needs
to assure that timber harvested from over
1.8 million ha of planted forests under the
management of households and communities
in the whole country (BNN&PTNT, 2016)
must be in compliance with regulations on
ensuring timber legality.
So far, the state has promulgated regulations
and guidelines for the households
participating in forest planting and
harvesting with the aim of ensuring the
legality of plantation timber production.
However, the field survey conducted by
VNGO-FLEGT on the compliance with legal
regulations of household groups in Hoa Binh,
Quang Ninh, Nghe An, Quang Binh, Quang
Nam, Kon Tum and Binh Dinh provinces

(See figure 1) from May 2015 to June 2016


reveals that most of the households do not
follow these regulations. This is a challenge
for the management practice by relevant
agencies to ensure the legality of timber in
the market and revenues from fees and taxes
for the localities (where taxes are collected
via the volume of harvested timber).
This policy brief presents the research results
of VNGO-FLEGT, which indicate the issues of
compliance with regulations on developing
the proposed list of forest products to be
planted and harvested by the households.
It also mentions about insufficiencies in the
implementation of State policies relating to
Forest law management and enforecement
as well as implementation capacity of
households in the whole country . It is pointed
out that if the above issues are not solved,
major obstacles are likely to be emergerd
during the implementation of VPA/FLEGT in
the coming time.
FOREST PLANTING HOUSEHOLDS HAVE
NOT YET MET THE REQUIREMENTS FOR
INVENTORY OF FOREST VOLUME IN THE
EXPLOITATION OF PLANTED TIMBER
Preparing the list of harvested products is a very
important procedure of the harvesting plan to
be approved by the relevant authorities and is
considered as a basis for monitoring, supervising
and certifying the origin of forest products,
which put into circulation (Article 9, Circular
No. 01/2012/TT-BNNPTNT; Articla 19, Circular
No. 35/2011/TT-BNNPTNT), for detailed see
Box 1 (At the time this policy Brief is published
(10/2016), the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural
Development has promulgated Circular No.
21/2016/TT-BNNPTNT to replace Circular 35.

Figure 1:
Surveyed
areas
(highlighted
in red)

However, Circular 21 still fails to solve all the


above mentioned issues for detailed, see the
discusion about Circular 21 in the following part).

Box 1: Regulations on plantation timber harvesting


BOX 1: Regulations on plantation timber harvesting
Regulations on plantation timber harvesting using self-invested capital or state funds are
defined in Circular 35/2011/TT-BNNPTNT, Circular 01/2012/TT-BNNPTNT and included into
Appendix 5: Timber Legality Assurance System (TLAS) of VPA.
Requirements on plantation timber harvesting to be met by the households include:
- Documents to prove the rights to use forests and forest land.
- Document approving environment protection committment prepared by households or
consultants of the district or commune Peoples Committees for harvesting projects with the
size of less than 200 ha.
- Harvesting registration document prepared by the forest owner and approved by the
commune Peoples Committee.
- List of products to be harvested prepared by the forest owner.
- Inventory of forest products prepared by the forest owner or the timber owner (harvesting
unit) and certified by the Forest Protection Department and local authorities.

Results of the survey on 365 households

products to be harvested, 56.18% did not

who participated in forest planting and

prepare the list and 8.91 did not fulfill

timber harvesting in 7 provinces show

this requirement regularly (Figure 02).

that the majority of these households do

This is

not observe the regulations. More than

in all survey areas, however the level of

56% of the households did not prepare

compliance varies from locality to locality.

harvesting plan, of which, for the very

Specifically, in Hoa Binh province, the

first procedure of the timber harvesting

percentage of households preparing the

plan preparation, only 34.91% of the

inventory of forest products is 86%, while

households prepared the list of forest

it is only 27.50% in Binh Dinh province.

Inventory of forest products


List of forest products to be harvested
Harvest application
Legal documents regarding
planted forests use rights

a common practice happening

37.99
34.91

62.01
8.91

56.18

0.35

56.18

43.46

5.89

68.51

25.60

0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 605 70% 80% 90% 100%
Yes

Sometimes Yes sometimes No

No
Figure 2: The percentage
of households meeting the
requirements for plantation
timber harvesting

VNGO - FLEGT

Many households in
Dong Giang district
plant Acacia on their
forest land
(Photo: The Thuong)

LIMITED CAPACITY OF FOREST


PLANTING
AND
HARVESTING
HOUSEHOLDS IN MEETING THE
REQUIREMENTS FOR PREPARATION
OF THE LIST OF FOREST PRODUCTS
TO BE HARVESTED

harvesting volume (Clause 1, Article 4


and Article 5 of Circular 01; Clause 2 and
3, Article 19 of Circular 35), harvested
plantation timber are mainly of small
size (diameter <20cm), growing density
is high (density > 2.000 trees/ha), forest

A majority of forest planting households

land is fragmented and complex, so it is

are ethnic minority (accounting for 54.58%

very difficult to carry out trees counting

of the total surveyed households) with low

and measurement to make the inventory

education levels which are mainly primary

of forest products and determine the

and secondary (accounting for 63% of the

harvesting volume. Therefore, most of the

total surveyed households) See figure

households can not themselves carry out

3. These households are not capable to

trees counting and measurement and once

understand and master all the regulations and

being foreced to do so, they can only give

procedures of the legal documents of Vietnam.

a general estimation (without a statistical

On the other hand, according to the

application. Otherwise, they come to the

basis) in order to complete the harvesting

requirements for preparing the list of forest

commune Peoples Committee to ask for help

products to be harvested and defining

for documents completion. (See box 2).


VNGO - FLEGT

14.00%

Educational level

High school and above

17.43%
Ethnic group
36.29%

Primary school and


secondary school

Illiterate

kinh
Others

26.86%

Figure 3: Education level


and ethnic group of
households participating
in forest planting and
harvesting

4.57%
0.86%
0%

10%

20%

30%

40%

Percentage

Box 2: List of forest products to be harvested which is notprepared


In Dong Lam commune, all the households participating in forest planting and timber harvesting
cannot themselves prepare the list of forest products to be harvested. When needed for harvesting
procedures, they bring the Landuse Rights Certificate to the commune Peoples Committee and ask for
help. The officer in charged will then help them to complete all the required procedures, including: the
list of products to be harvested, harvesting application, without any verification actions made in the
field. The households then receive the documents and pay taxes according to the harvesting volume
stated in the documents (interview with officers of Dong Lam commune).
When there is the need for timber harvesting, the households only need to bring the Landuse Rights
Certificate to the commune Peoples Committee, where support will be available for the preparation
of the required documents, and pay money to the commune accountants, which is enough for the
households toharvest the timber after that. Regarding timber transportation, they only need to bring
the documents to submit to the rangers if required; otherwise, the documents can be kept for the next
transportation or lent to the others with the same purpose.(interviews with local people in Dong Lam
commune, Quang Ninh province).

The understanding of households about

raising activities for local people about this

state regulations on timber harvesting is still

issue are not regularly carried out, in which

limited. More than 50% of the households

only 26.42% of the households participated

are not aware of or do not understand

in these activities. Other related trainings

clearly the process of harvesting document

are rarely organized with the participation

preparation.

of only 6.29 % of the households, especially

The

management

and

implementation of officers in this area at

the contents of VPA/FLEGT have

local levels are still inappropriate. Awareness

provided so far. (See figure 4).

VNGO - FLEGT

never

Other related regulations

6.29

Regulations on VPA/FLEGT

0.57

Regulations on forest management, protection


and development

33.52
10.86

Regulations on timber transportation


and trade
Regulations on forest planting
and timber exploitation

26.42
0

INSUFFICIENCIES STILL EXIST IN


NEW REGULATIONS
Circular No. 35/2011/ TT-BNNPTNT and
Circular No. 01/2012/TT-BNNPTNT have
been promulgated with the aim of strictly
controlling the source of timber, making
it easier for timber circulation in domestic
and international markets and have been
included into Apendix 5: Timber Legality
Assurance System (TLAS) of VPA for which
Vietnam is now in negotiation process.
However, the application of these circulars
for households participating in forest
planting and timber harvesting shows a
number of insufficiencies, in which the
requirement for preparation of list of forest
products to be harvested is not suitable to
the household capacity (already mentioned
above), resulted in creating difficulties for
them to meet the requirements of asking
for permission and making the inventory
of forest products in plantation timber
harvesting (clause 1, Article 4 and Article 5
of Circular 01; Article 19 and Article 20 of
Circular 35).

Figure 4: The percentage


of households
participating in trainings

20

40

60

80

100

Rural Developmetn promulgated Circular


21/2016/TT-BNNPTNT in replacement of
Circular 35/2011/ TT-BNNPTNT. One of the
new content of Circular 21 is the deletion of
the requirement for preparation of the list of
forest products to be harvested which was
stated in Article 19 of Circular 35. However,
in item b, clause 1, article 6 of Circular
Not many households in
Dong Giang district plant
local grand timber tree on
their forest land (Photo:
The Thuong)

In June 2016, Ministry of Agriculture and


VNGO - FLEGT

Box 3: New requirements


procedures prior to harvesting

on

Article 6. Harvest, extraction and salvage of


planted timber trees in production forests and
protection forests
1. Harvest, extraction and salvage of planted
timber trees in production forests
b) Before harvesting, extracting and salvaging
timber, a forest owner shall report in writing to
a competent authority on the place name(s) of

Moreover, item b, clause 1, article 6, circular


21 continues to use the volume of timber
reported before harvesting as the basis for
relevant agencies to monitor and supervise
the harvest and certify the origin of forest
products in circulation. This is inappropriate
because the volume of timber after
harvesting is often very different from the
proposed volume before harvesting.

level Forest Protection Sub-Department (for

Besides, some contents of the circular


might cause difficulties for local agencies in
terms of management and implementation.
Specifically, there is difference betwen
Circular 21 and Circular 01 in Form 01 inventory of forest products of Circular
01 against Appendix 02 inventory of
harvested forest products of Circular 21
providing for monitoring of location, tree

localities without Forest Protection Stations);

species and diameter.

the harvest area(s) and the timber volume to be


harvested for the latter to summarize reports,
monitor and supervise the harvest and certify
the origin of timber put into circulation or sale,
specifically:
If the forest owner is an organization, it shall
send the inventory of forest products to the
local Forest Protection Station or provincial-

If the forest owner is a household, an individual


or a community, it/he/she shall send the
inventory of forest products to the communelevel Peoples Committee.

21 about harvest, extraction and salvage


of planted timber trees, it is stated that
before harvesting If the forest owner is
a household, an individual or a community,
it/he/she shall send the inventory of forest
products to the commune-level Peoples
Committee. See detailed in box 3.
This is undertood that even when the
requirement for preparing the list of forest
products to be harvested has been left out,
the forest owners who are households,
individuals or communities still need to
send the inventory of forest products to
the commune Peoples Committees prior
to harvesting. Thus, the issue of preparing
the list of forest products to be harvested
before harvesting has not yet been entirely
sovled in the new circular.
VNGO - FLEGT

NEGATIVE IMPACTS WHEN THE


HOUSEHOLDS DO NOT PREPARE
THE LIST OF FOREST PRODUCTS TO
BE HARVESTED OR THE LIST IS NOT
CORRESPONDING TO REALITY
The fact that the households do not prepare
the list of forest products to be harvested
or the list is not corresponding to reality
is a big challenge for the monitoring and
supervision of the volume of harvested
timber. Over 50% of the households do not
make the list and the rest do make the list
but the estimated volume of harvesting is
not corresponding to reality. This reflects
the situation of ineffective management by
relevant agencies and also gives the warning
about the compliance level of households
for which solutions for improvement are
required (See box 4).
The consequence is that, a huge amount
of timber, which has been harvested but
not yet reported by planting households,

is participating in the supply chain as


illegal timber without being monitored
and supervised by relevant agencies. This
will be a big challenge for Vietnam when
participating in VPA/FLEGT process as it
has to meet all the requirements to ensure
timber legality when exporting to Europe
market.
On the other hand, in some provinces
(Quang Ninh, Hoa Binh and some other
localities), when landuse tax is applied for
plantation land according to the harvested

timber volume after each business cycle


(27.000 VND/1m3) based on the proposed
list of forest products, it is clear that tax
loss in this case is very huge because the
amount of unreported timber is still out
of control. Specifically in the case of Ba
Che alone, 17.247m3 of timber were not
reported and at least 465,000,000 VND tax/
fee of landuse for forest planting in 2015
in this district was lost. The amount of tax
loss for the whole province or country will
be much higher.

BOX 4: There is a big difference between the harvested timber volume


and the actual volume:
According to the statistics of forest planting households in Ba Che district, Quang Ninh province
provided by Ba Che Statistics Office, the total volume of timber harvested by the households
was 24.573 m3. However, according to the statistics from Ba Che Forest Protection Department,
the volume of planted timber harvested by the households through the inventory of forest
products was 7.326 m3 (accounting for 29,8% of the actual volume) in 2015. Thus, if statistics
focuses on timber loss in the whole country, the amount of timber, which is not reported and
is circulated in the supply chain, remains a huge number and is of real concern.

Conclusion and recommendations


The discussions in this policy brief show that the implementation capacity of the
households participating in forest planting and timber harvesting does not satisfy the
procedure of preparing the list of forest products to be harvested defined in Circular
35. Circular 21 has recently been promulgated, however, there are still insufficiencies
which are challenges in monitoring and supervising the volume of planted timber and
ensuring legality of timber in circulation in the market as well as collecting landuse
tax in some localities. In order to ensure timber legality and the benefits of planting
households, the following solutions are proposed aiming at strengthening effective
implementation of the above mentioned regulations and at the same time contributing
to the successful implementation of FLEGT in Vietnam. In the coming time when
existing regulations can not be changed, stricter compliance with legal regulations is
needed to meet the requirements of VPA. The recommendations include:

VNGO - FLEGT

1.

Strengthened implementation capacity regarding the requirement of preparing

for the list of forest products to be harvested:


- Guideline on the implementation of procedures and regulations should be informed
and distributed to forest owners.
- Training to strengthen capacity and enhance awareness of local people about the
requirements that need to be met, without any limit to the methods or manner of
implementation but with the need to ensure that the households have sufficient skills
for implementation in practice.
- Provide information about the VPA-FLEGT implementation process as an
opportunity to orient forest planting strategy.
2. Strengthed monitoring and law enforcement:
- Harvesting documents need to include the minutes of inspection and verification of
rangers/forestry officiers, especially the list of products to be harvested prepared by the
forest owners prior to the harvest. This requirement ensures that the reported volume
of timber will be more accurate, which helps to prevent tax evasion and complete all
required procedures.
- Thecoordination between forestry management agencies and local authorities is
required for the examination, supervision and support to local people to successfully
complete the required procedures in forest planting, harvesting and transportation.
In the long term, there should be considerations and adjustments to
regulations to make them more convenient for implementation by state
agencies and households. Recommendations include:
1. Adjustment to Circular 21 (item b, clause 1, Article 6) through removing the list of
products to be harvested from the reporting requirement before harvesting and include
the list of forest products after harvesting to be used as the basis for monitoring and
supervising of harvested timber volume and collecting landuse tax.
2. The unity of the requirements for form 01- inventory of forest products in Circular
01 and appendix 02 list of harvested forest products in Circular 21 or relevant
explaination is required when these two procedures are applied.

Reference
Nguyen The Cuong and Bui Thanh Hang, 2016. Report on the assessment of compliance to legal
timber by households in Vietam. VNGO-FLEGT.

VNGO - FLEGT

10

A household-scale timber
processing facility in Dai
Loc district
(Photo: The Thuong)

STRENGTHEN CAPACITY FOR LEGAL SUPPORT


FROM LOCAL RANGERS KEY TO IMPROVEMENT IN
LAW COMPLIANCE BY HOUSEHOLDS-SCALE TIMBER
PROCESSING FACILITIES
Vu The Thuong, Nguyen Thanh Hien, Nguyen Quang Tan

Key

MESSAGE

While the forest protection sector is assigned with the


task of communication, management and supervision
of household-scale timber processing facilities to ensure
the legally timber use for processing, field survey results

indicate limited capacity of local rangers in legal support to household-scale timber


processing facilities. This creates gap for illegal timber to circulate in the market. In
order to prevent illegal timber entering household-scale timber processing facilities
to respond to VPA/FLEGT requirements, attention should be paid to strengthening
capacity for law enforcement officers at local level in terms of legal support.
VNGO - FLEGT

11

INTRODUCTION

Vietnam and the European Union (EU) plan to ratify and conclude the Voluntary
Partnership Agreement (VPA) on Forest Law Enforcement Governance and Trade
(FLEGT) in 2017 and expect to issue FLEGT license in 2018. Two of the important
components of the Agreement are the Timber Legality Definition (TLD) and Timber
Legal Assurance System (TLAS). Once the Agreement is concluded and put into
effect, TLD and TLAS will be applied in the whole country. Although household-scale
timber processing facilities do not directly participate in the supply chain of products
exported to Europe, they still need to observe these regulations.
There are various stakeholders involved in the activities of timber processing facilities,
of which the ranger force plays the key role in providing guidance and supervision
to ensure that the timber used by the facilities is legal (Circular 01/2012/BNNPTNT).
Basing on the results of the survey on 350 household-scale timber processing facilities
in 7 provinces of Hoa Binh, Quang Ninh, Nghe An, Quang Binh, Quang Nam, Kon
Tum, Binh Dinh conducted by VNGO-FLEGT network in the period 2015-2016, this
paper shows that the limited capacity of local rangers in providing legal support is
one of the reasons leading to the situation that most of the processing facilities have
not yet fully met the requirements for legal timber. Therefore, once local rangers are
strengthened with capacity of legal support for household-scale timber processing
facilities, there will be reduction in the circulation of illegal timber in the market,
which meets the requirement of VPA/FLEGT.

HOUSEHOLD-SCALE
TIMBER
PROCESSING
FACILITIES
ARE
SMALL AND SCATTER
At present, there are nearly ten thousand
household-scale
timber
processing
facilities in Vietnam (registered under the
form of business households according
to the Decree 43/2010/NDCP, without
the stamp and tax code, using not more
than 10 workers). These facilities carry out
mainly such activities as sawing/peeling
round timber to make semi finished timber
products, process timber into woodchips for
paper raw materials, processing timber into
lumbers, man-made board, and processing
indoor furniture for local use. Therefore,
household timber processing facilities are
VNGO - FLEGT

12

also one element in the timber supply chain


in domestic and foreign markets.
Among 350 surveyed household-scale
timber processing facilities, the majority
are built right in the family living place
and scattered near the forest or residential
areas. In facilities with 2-5 workers, the
owners are the key human labor resource
with only 2-3 workers are outsourced. In
facilities with 6-10 workers, the owners take
the main responsibility of management,
searching for input materials and selling
output products. Nearly 60% of the facility
owners have the educational background
of primary or secondary level (See figure 1).
More than 65% of the facility owners are at
the age of 41 and over. (See figure 2).

High school and above


Primary school and
Secondary school
Illiterate

0.60%
38.99%
3.57%
Ethnic group
kinh
Others

54.76%
1.19%
0.89%
0% 20% 40% 60% 80% 100%

Percentage

Figure 1: Educational
level of the owners of
household-scale timber
processing facilities

Classified by age

Percentage

50
40
30
42.43%

20
10

25.22%

27.00%

5.34%

Figure 2: Age of the


owners of householdscale timber processing
facilities

<30

31-40

Timber processed in the household facilities


comes from natural forest (13.7%), planted
forest (73.3%), and scatter timber tree
(13.0%). The majority of planted timber to
be processed are acacia. Natural timber are
imported depending on the using habit of
the regions (ironwood, talauma, plerocarpus
) or liquidation timber and some salvage
timber with little value. Scatter timber trees
are mainly jacktree, longan tree, cassia tree,
melia azedarach Linn.

41-50

>50

The facilities are scatter in all communes of


the district instead of gathering in one or
two communes at the same district. The
transportation from the district center to
these facilities is very difficult, especially in
mountainous areas. For example: in Dong
Giang district (Quang Nam province), there
are totally 11 communes and 35 timber
processing facilities. These 35 facilities
are distributed in all 11 communes of the
district.
VNGO - FLEGT

13

health safety . Timber used


in household-scale timber
processing facilities is legal
when the facility owners:
i) make a forest product
input and output book; ii)
possess the forest product list
prepared by the timber owner
iii) have sale invoices.

ALARMING SITUATION OF HOUSEHOLDSCALE TIMBER PROCESSING FACILITIES


NOT

BEING

ABLE

TO

MEET

THE

REQUIREMENT FOR LEGAL TIMBER

According to Timber Legality Definition


(TLD),
a
household-scale
timber
processing facility is considered legal
when: i) Possessing Household Business
Certificate; ii) Having official approval of
the environmental protection commitment;
iii) Meeting the requirements of fire
prevention and fighting; iv) Ensuring workVNGO - FLEGT

14

Survey results in 7 provinces


show that the majority of
the facilities have not met
the requirements for legal
timber according to the
regulations of VPA/FLEGT.
Regarding the regulations on
legal document for business
activities (firgure 3), the
survey results show that about
73.2% of the facilities possess
the certificate of business
registration, and most of the
facilities of very small scale
or irregular operation do
not have the certificate of
business registration; 77%
of the facilities do not meet
the requirements for work
safety and fire prevention
and fighting, about 38.1% of
the facilities have forest product input and
output book.
The number of households observing the
regulations on timber origin records is also
smalf (figure 4). Only 12.1% of the facilities
satisfy the requirement for Confirmation of
forest rangers hammer mark; only 33.9%
of the facilities satisfy the requirement for
the inventory of forest products, but not in
a regular basis. Only 36.2% of the facilities
satisfy the requirement for VAT invoices for
natural timber.

80
70
60
50
40
30
20
10
0
Forest product
input and
output book

Safety Work
Regulations

Fire prevention
and fighting
Regulation

The certificate
of business
registration

Figure 3: The percentage of householdsscale timber processing facilities having


legal document

ACTUAL SITUATION OF LEGAL


SUPPORT TO HOUSEHOLD-SCALE
TIMBER PROCESSING FACILITIES
One of the reasons for the unfulfilment
of legal requirements by household-scale
timber processing facilities is that there are
still insufficiencies in legal support by local
rangers. The District Forest Protection SubDepartment is the state agency directly
responsible for providing legal support
(including communication, information
dissemination, guidance and supervision)
in order to ensure that timber used in
the facilities (including household-scale
facilities) is legal.
However,
the
communication
and
dissemination of legal information to
household-scale
timber
processing
facilities are not really effective (See box 1).
According to the assessment in 7 provinces,
the communication and dissemination
of legal information were carried out
once a year by the Forest Protection SubDepartment in localities having forests,
mostly through village meetings. The
content of the communication focuses
on the knowledge/regulations on forest
planting, forestfire prevention and fighting,

40
35
30
25
20
15
10
5
0
Confirmation of forest
rangers hammer mark

Inventory of
forest products

VAT invoices

Figure 4: The percentage of householdsscale timber processing facilities having


legal timber document

timber harvesting, transportation and


processing. The meetings were organized
for about 50-70 participants including
forest
planting
households,
timber
harvesting households, timber processing
households and households without forest.
Communication documents were usually
state legal documents which were read out
textually and distributed to local people
after that. In many cases, in order to avoid
detailed explanation and clarification to the
local peoples concerns, the answers were
simply It is by the state to define like that.
The above mentioned way of providing
legal support cannot help the facilities
owners who are older adults and often
have low educational level to absorb all the
information provided.
Besides,
some
contents
of
the
communication do not satisfy the
expectation of the processing facilities.
The contents often focus on forest fire
prevention and fighting and forest planting
and protection while guidance on how to
observe regulations on legal timber which
is needed by the facilities is not included.
As a matter of fact, the facilities owners
cannot understand the regulations related
to legal timber.
VNGO - FLEGT

15

Box 1: Low effectiveness


communication sessions

of

concerns are raised by processing facilities


regarding regulations on legal timber.

Like other timber processing household, the

The

household of Mr. NVT (42 year-old, completed

regulations on legal timber by household-

grade 8) has had 7 years working in timber

scale timber processing facilities is still

processing in Dong Giang district, Quang

limited (See box 2). Annually, the rangers

Nam province. From Nam Dinh province,

organize 1-2 times of periodic supervision,

Mr. NVT came to settle down in Dong Giang

or only conduct supervision in peak times,

district in 2009. Mr. NVT has a facility of about


200 m2, using about 7-10 m3 timber/year. Mr.
NVT thinks that he does not really understant
how legal timber is although he did participate
in the meetings organized by Dong Giang
District Forest Protection Sub-Department.

supervision

of

compliance

with

or when instruction from higher level is


received. The assessments in 7 provinces
show that the supervision is carried out
mainly in large-scale timber processing
companies or processing facilities near the
forest protection department headquarter,
for which transportation is convenient.

Legal support to household-scale


timber processing facilities has
not received proper attention.
Annually, the inspection legal
officers of the district Forest
Protection

Department

receive

hundreds of letters and requests


relating to complaints, accusations
regarding forest law violation and
request for guidance on how to
meet the requirements for legal
timber

from

household-scale

timber processing facilities. The


inspection legal officers mostly
focus on forest law violation
cases and ignore the requests
for guidance on how to meet the
requirements for legal timber. The
Forest Protection Sub- Department
has also set up the hotlines
for better communication but
mainly for receiving information
about illegal harvesting of forest
products. There is the lack of
solutions when questions and
VNGO - FLEGT

16

When conducting supervision, the rangers


normally check if any logs of natural timber
have forest rangers hammer mark or not
rather than raising awareness, educating
and providing guidance on how to ensure
the legal input timber. This also makes the
facility owners to undervalue or pay no
attention to legal regulations.
WHY THE CAPACITY OF LOCAL
RANGERS
IN
LEGAL
SUPPORT
TO
HOUSEHOLD-SCALE
TIMBER
PROCESSING FACILITIES IS LIMITED
The above mentioned descriptions show
that limited capacity in legal support
of local rangers is an important reason
leading to limited awareness and poor

Box 2: Forest products input and


output records have
not been
updated for three years
The household of Mr. TKP in Dai Loc, Quang Nam
has been doing the carpentry for more than 5
years. From our observation, the forest products
input/output records of Mr. TKP only record the
information relating to the input of forest products
in the first 2 years, and for the past 3 years, there
seems to be no information written down. When
being asked, Mr. TKP said that the reason he only
wrote down input information was because he did
not know that output information was also required.
Explaining why no input information was recorded
for the last three years, he said that the rangers
rarely conducted the supervision sessions; In case
they did,they only came to check the timber and
then go. Therefore, in the last 3 years, Mr. TKP paid
no attention to the records.

compliance with regulations on legal


timber by household-scale timber
processing facilities. This is reflected in
the following:
The number of rangers is small, which
cannot meet the requirement of the
tasks. In districts with large areas of forest,
each inspection-legal unit is staffed
with 3-4 officers while the households
planting forest and processing timber
are
Sub-scatter in different locations like in
Quang Nam province with an average
of 10 communes/district. Therefore, the
communication and dissemination of
legal information are often included into
village meetings.
On the other hand, transportation in
these areas is very difficult so the rangers
often combine different contents
together. This is also one of the main
reasons leading to the situation that
legal support by rangers only targets
companies or processing households
closed to the district town.
VNGO - FLEGT

17

In addition, inspection-legal officers


regularly involve in dealing with illegal
timber exploitation cases. There are cases
for which legal procedures take almost
one month, therefore the officers cannot
spend much time for communication,
information dissemination or supervision
of law enforcement.
In addition to the small number of
officers which influences the capacity in
legal support, the quality of rangers also
needs to be considered. The majority of
rangers completed vocational schools or
universities, however they are still lack
necessary skills in communication and
participatory approach. Very few rangers
have participated in trainings in skills and
methods of participatory communication.
According to the survey results, only
of rangers in Dong Giang and Hoanh
Bo districts have received trainings in
communication. Thus, when conducting
communication activities, they only read
out the documents to local people instead
of having interaction with the listeners.
The method of communication is quite

monotonous and boring, without active


involvement of local people.
There is still a shortage in equipment for
legal support of the rangers. There are
various ways to disseminate information
about the circulars, decrees or legal
documents to processing households,
not only through the meetings. If the
information is only read out to local
people in the meetings, they will not fully
understand the necessary requirements.
The documents and circulars are very long
and contain lots of information, therefore,
supporting tools are required such as
panels, posters, manuals. These will help
to diversify communication methods and
will also be a good solutiuon to strengthen
the enforcement ability of processing
households. Through discussing with local
rangers, it was found out that, at present,
there has been no manual for processing
facilities regarding implementation of
regulations on legal timber, and local
rangers do not have manuals on how to
provide support to processing facilities to
meet the requirements for legal timber.
Most of the owners of
household-scale timber
processing facilities have
low educational standard,
therefore participatory
communication method
is required to help them
understand, believe and
follow
(Photo: The Thuong)

VNGO - FLEGT

18

Conclusion and recommendations


Household-scale timber processing facilities have helped to ensure livelihoods for part of
local communities in rural and mountainous areas and is also an element in the timber
supply chain. However, during the management and operation process, many householdscale timber processing facilities do not observe the requirement for timber tracking, ensure
work safety as well as follow the regulations on fire prevention and fighting, and do not
have VAT invoice for products sales. The facilities have not yet met the requirements
specified by VPA/FLEGT. There are many reasons leading to this incompliance, however
limited capacity of local ranger in legal support is the main reason.
For the household-scale timber processing facilities to meet the requirements of VPA/
FLEGT, the following solutions for policy and implementation are proposed:
1. Regarding policy, there should be regulation on supervision of the implementation of
timber legality by timber processing facilities for application by local rangers and consider
this as an important criterion for annual staff evaluation.
2. Regarding implementation, the rangers should coordinate with the commune Peoples
Committee to carry out regular supervision of household-scale timber processing facilities
on updating forest product input and output records, fire prevention and fighting,
work safety. In case the households fail to meet the requirement on legal timber, strict
administration fine should be applied in accordance with the law (Decree 157/2013/NDCP)
3. Trainings on enhanced communication skills and participatory approach, especially
about timber legality and timber tracking, work safety, fire prevention and fighting
should be organized for inspection-legal officers of the forest protection departments. It
is important to ensure that the officers receiving training have to work in the inspectionlegal unit for a period of at least 5 years.
4. Develop manual for use by local rangers aiming at supporting timber processing
facilities to meet the requirements on legal timber. The manual is provided to inspectionlegal officers for use in communication activities.
5. Develop manual for use by household-scale timber processing facilities to implement
the regulations on legal timber and distribute to the facility owners. The manual should
be prepared in a simple and understandable manner and are suitable to the educational
standard of the facility owners as well as workers of these facilities.

Reference
Dang Viet Quang, Quach Hong Nhung, Pham Duc Thieng, Nguyen Thanh Tung, and Cao Thi
Cam, 2013. Report on household sawmill in the context of FLEGT-VPA, Forest Trends.
Nguyen The Cuong and Bui Thanh Hang, 2016. Report on initial status of compliance to
timber legality definition at household level in Vietnam, VNGO-FLEGT.
To Xuan Phuc, Nguyen Ton Quyen, Huynh Van Hanh, Tran Le Huy and Cao Thi Cam, 2015.
Report on timber and timber products trade in Vietnam -EU, Forest Trends.

VNGO - FLEGT

19

GRANT OF LANDUSE RIGHT


CERTIFICATE IN THE CONTEXT OF
VPA/ FLEGT IMPLEMENTATION
Phan Trong Tri, Nguyen Thanh Nham, Nguyen Quang Tan

Landuse rights certificate for forest land is the

Key

MESSAGE

fundamental condition to determine if planted timber is


legal or not. At present, many planting households have
still not been granted with landuse rights certificates yet.

The main reason is that the measurement and preparation of documents for land
allocation on the maps and in the fields exist many differences, leading to the fact
that landuse rights certificates are issued but cannot be granted to the households.
Therefore, there is the need to review the area where differences exist in order to
hand over the landuse right certificates to planting households in a timely manner.
VNGO - FLEGT

20

INTRODUCTION

The Voluntary Partnership Agreement on


Forest Law Enforcement Governance and
Trade (VPA/FLEGT) is now being negotiated
to ensure that timber and timber products
exported from Vietnam to Europe have legal
origin. One of the important content of this
Agreement is the Timber Legality Assurance
System (TLAS) with the Timber Legality
Definition (LD) being developed basing on
Vietnam policies and regulations. Accordingly,
the first requirement of the timber supply
chain is that timber must be harvested from
legal landarea. This requires the planting
households posess one of the papers affirming
the landuse rights as stipulated in relevant
legal documents.
This paper focuses on the delayed grant of
landuse rights certificates on the basis of
survey results in 7 provinces of Quang Ninh,
Hoa Binh, Nghe An, Quang Binh, Quang Nam,
Kon Tum and Binh Dinh (Figure 1) conducted
by VNGO FLEGT network in 2015-2016 as
well as the information and statistics from
other studies. In order to solve this problem,

Figure 1. Map of
surveyed areas

there should be solutions to review and


remeasure the areas where differences exist
to regrant the landuse rights certificate to the
households, especially in the context when
Vietnam participate in VPA/FLEGT.

A farmer in Dong
Giang district
standing on his
forestland areas
without landuse
right certificate
(Photo: Trong Tri)

VNGO - FLEGT

21

%
of h
planting
households
with
% s
trng rng
c GCNQSD
t
landuse rights certificates

100.0%

74.0%

80.0%

81.0%

72.0%

Box 1. Local authorities can not grant


landuse rights certificates to the
households
In 2010, Quang Nam province carried out the

47.5%

review and grant of landuse rights certificates

23.6%

to the households. The district of Dai Loc


carried out the measurment of nearly 14,000

Q.
Ninh

Hoa
Binh

Nghe
An

Q.
Binh

Q.
Nam

Binh
Dinh

Kon
Tum

Figure 2. The percentage of households provided with


landuse rights certificates in surveyed provinces

MANY FORESTLAND AREAS HAVE


BEEN
ALLOCATED
WITHOUT
LANDUSE RIGHTS CERTIFICATE
According to the survey results of
VNGO-FLEGT network in 2015-2016, the
percentage of landuse right certificates for
forestland being granted to the households
in 7 provinces is rather low. Only 68.41% of
the surveyed househods are granted with
landuse rights certificates for their entire
forest area, 12.17% of the households are
granted with landuse rights certificates
for part of their forest area and 19.42%
of the households have not received the
certificates (Figure 2). Of which, Quang
Nam and Binh Dinh are the two provinces
with the rate of landuse rights certificate
grant to the households of less than 50%.

ha of forest land used by local people. By


the year 2012, although the district Peoples
Committee made the decision to allocate
land and granted landuse rights certificates
to the households, however, sofar the landuse
rights certificates have been handed over
for only over 3,000 ha. The main reason was
that the measurement was conducted by the
consulting agency without the involvement
of local stakeholders, especially the forest
owners. This led to the differences in area and
locations in the documents and in the field, and
overlapping areas among the forest owners.
Therefore, the local authority is concerned
that conflicts might happen if landuse rights
certificates are handed over to local people.

One of the reasons leading to this situation


is that the measurement and preparation
of documents for land allocation on
the maps and in the fields exist many
differences, commonly the difference in
areas, boundaries, and overlapping areas
among the forest owners. This results in the
situation that although the landuse rights
certificates have been signed, stamped and
issued by the district Peoples Committees,
they can not be granted to the households
(See box 1).

- The measurement is carried out mainly


by the consulting agency and there is no
involvement of the households in the
process of forestland allocation in the
localities, especially during the mapping
process in the field. Therefore, the
differences in area, location, landmark
are not timely found and adjusted. The
reason for this is that the households do
not receive adequate information about
the policies and benefits of the landuse
rights certificates, therefore they do not
arrange time to participate. In addition,
limited knowledge and capacity in realizing
and distinguishing the results of forestland
allocation in paper and map and in the field
alo restrict them from participating fully in
field mapping process.

The root causes of the differences are as


follows:

- There are still shortcomings and


insufficiencies in the implementation

VNGO - FLEGT

22

of state management in land allocation


and grant of landuse rights certificates at
district and commune levels. As regulated,
a comprehensive process of forest and
forestland allocation includes 7 steps
(according to the regulations of Circular
38/2007 and inter-circular 07/2011/
TTLT-BNNPTNT-BTNMT). However, real
implementation in some localities is very
different from the process specified in the
policies with many steps being ignored or
performed in a formalism way.. The reason
for this is that the economic and technical
norms for land allocation and grant of
landuse rights certificate are applied on
an average basis for all provinces without
specific norms for districts with different
topographical, economic and social
conditions; and the shortage of funds for
land allocation and grant of landuse rights
certificate for forestland.
For the case of Quang Nam province, the
norms used in the forest and forestland
allocation are the ones defined in the
Decision
No. 112/2008/QD-BNN of
the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural
Development promulgating the economic
technical norms of forest allocation, forest
lease and grant of land use rights certificate
for the purpose of forestry associated

Box 2. Some of the norms are missing


from legal documents
We based on the Decision No. 112/2008/QDBNN to estimate the costs for forest inventory
and measurement, however, this decision still
lack some norms for appraisal, acceptance
and handover. Therefore, we had to use the
norms of the construction sector for forest and
forestland allocation process
Source: FORLAND, 2013

with making the forest management


dossier. These norms do not include
those for the following essential activities:
communication; appraisal and approval
of forestland allocation plans; acceptance
and handover in the field; cadastral map
extraction.
WITHOUT
LANDUSE
RIGHT
CERTIFICATE,
THE
HOUSEHOLDS
CAN EASILY BE IN UNFAVOURABLE
SITUATION IN TIMBER TRADING
Landuse rights certificate is the basis for
determining if the timber is legal. This
has been clearly stipulated in relevant
legal documents and in Annex of Legality
Definition (Box 3).

Box 3. Regulation on legal timber related to landuse right certificate


Annex Timber Legality Definition (LD) 6.3:
Criteria 3, Principle 1 to harvest legal timber from planted forest which is self invested by the forest
owner, the households must have landuse rights certificate or relevant papers affirming their
landuse rights.
Circular 21/2016/BNNPTNT:
Clause 1, Article 3: Criteria for forests to be put for harvest, extraction and salvage of timber and
non-timber forest products: Forest areas which have been leased or assigned for management and
use by competent state agencies as prescribed by law...
Annex 3: Application for harvesting permit has to be based on the area of assigned forest in
compliance with landuse rights certificate No...date...month...year (or Decision of land and forest
land allocation and lease No....date ... month... year...)

VNGO - FLEGT

23

According to the surveys results, only


less than 40% of the households follow
the requirements for harvesting of
planted timber (Figure 3). In which, the
confirmation of harvest application and
the list of products to be harvested must
be based on landuse rights certificates
of the households. Therefore, the
households who do not possess landuse
rights certificates often ignore this step
of confirmation and continue the harvest.
The biggest risk for the households
36.17%

once VPA/FLEGT is implementated in


the coming time is the access to the
market. Concretely, when VPA/FLEGT is
implemented, the requirements for legal
timber will be more seriously observed
and as a result strict management of
input materials might be performed by
the processing facilities. If it is the case,
the households without landuse rights
certificates will face with more difficulties
in selling timber in comparison to those
households with sufficient legal papers.
35.79%

31.91%

Harvest
application

List of forest
productsto
be harvested

Inventory of
forest products

Figure 3. Percentage of
households observing
regulations on planted
timber harvesting

In addition, the following risks are also predicted:


- Expenditures and price. The price for timber of the households without landuse rights
certificates might be much lower than that of the households with landuse rights certificates.
- Property and livelihood. Income from forest planting households without landuse rights
certificates will be reduced because their timber will have lower price compared to legal
timber.
- Access to products and services. Households without landuse rights certificates will face
with difficulties regarding access to funds and programmes of forestry extension, forest
development.

Photo: The Thuong

VNGO - FLEGT

24

Coclusion and policy recommendations


Landuse rights certificate is the fundamental condition to determine if the
timber is legal. At present, many planting households have still not been granted
with landuse rights certificate yet. One main reason is the differences in the
measurements on the maps and in the field, leading to the delayed grant of
landuse rights certificate. This will create difficulties for planting households
to meet the requirements for legal timber when VPA/FLEGT is implemented.
To overcome this issue, the following measures should be taken:
- Review, correct the differences in terms of forest area and boundaries so
that landuse rights certificates can be granted to the households.
- In the future, when conducting forest and forestland allocation, there must
be the involvement of all stakeholders, especially for local people to define the
area, boundary, and origin of their land, aiming at preventing conflicts that
might happen when landuse rights certificates are granted.
- Ensure that the economic and technical norms for land allocation and
grant of landuse rights certificate are suitable to specific condition of the
localities.
- Develop and run the mechanism of monitoring, effectiveness evaluation,
incentives policy regarding land allocation and grant of landuse rights
certificates.
- Ensure sufficient fund for land allocation, grant of landuse rights
certificate.

Reference
Forestland Network FORLAND (2013) Actual situation of forest and forestland allocation pursuant
to the Circular 38/2007/TT-BNNPTNT and the inter-circular 07/2011/TTLT-BNNPTNT-BTNMT in some
central provinces
Nguyen The Cuong and Bui Thanh Hang, 2016. Report on initial status of compliance to timber
legality definition at household level in Vietnam, VNGO-FLEGT.
Phan Trieu Giang, Tran Nam Thang, Duong Thi Lien, Nguyen Kim Trong and Ly Van Trong, 2015.
Assessing the impacts of the Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA) on livelihoods in Vietnam. VNGO
FLEGT network.
Pham Xuan Phuong, Doan Diem, Le Khac Coi, Le Hong Hanh, Tran Quang Bao, and Nguyen Quoc
Dung. (2013) Assessment Report on 10 years of implementation of the Law on Forest Protection and
Development 2004. Vietnam Administration of Forestry
To Xuan Phuc, Tran Huu Nghi, 2014. Forest and forestland allocation in the context of restructuring
forestry sector: Opportunities and challenges. Tropenbos International.
To Xuan Phuc, Tran Huu Nghi, 2014. Forest and forestland allocation in the context of restructuring
forestry sector: Opportunities and challenges

VNGO - FLEGT

25

Key

At present,
although
Vietnam
has
set
out criteria for sustainable forest
management but there is still the lack of
detailed guidance for implementation,
including establishment and use of land
along stream corridors in planted forest.
This affects the fulfillment of all criteria
for sustainable forest management
by planted forest owners as they
want to apply for international forest
management certification in order to
participate in the legal timber supply
chain. Therefore, a concrete and clear
policy or regulation is required for this.

MESSAGE

LACKING OF SPECIFIC
GUIDANCE ON THE
USE OF LAND WITHIN
RIVER AND STREAM
PROTECTION CORRIDORS,
FOREST OWNERS FACE
WITH DIFFICULTIES IN
ACCESSING SUSTAINABLE
FOREST MANAGEMENT
CERTIFICATES

INTRODUCTION

Duong Thi Lien, Nguyen Quang Tan

In line with the trend of international


integration, the forest sector of Vietnam
is participating in various initiatives
on promotion of sustainable forest
management,
including
Forest
Law
Enforcement Governance and Trade (FLEGT),
International Tropical Timber Organization
(ITTO) or the voluntary certification of
the Forest stewardship council (FSC),
national Programme for the Endorsement
of Forest CertificationThis requires a
legal framework system corresponding to
international standards and requirements
for sustainable forest management.
One of the standards for sustainbale forest
management required by international
VNGO - FLEGT

26

initiatives is the policy for river and stream


corridors protection. Sofar, Vietnam has
developed a legal framework including the
forest protection and management criteria
corresponding to international standards on
sustainable forest management such as FSC,
PEFC, ITTO etc. However, the application of
this regulation in practice still exists many
shortcomings. Basing on field assessments
in Phu Tho and Ha Giang, this policy
brief points out that the current policies
still lack specific regulations guiding the
establishment and use of land within the
corridors, leading to the difficulties faced by
forest owners during the process of applying
for international forest certifications.

Production forest planted inside the stream


protection conrridors (Photo: Vu Nham)

SUSTAINABLE FOREST MANAGEMENT,


INTERNATIONAL
AND
NATIONAL
STANDARDS
FOR
FOREST
MANAGEMENT ASSESSMENT
Globally, forests cover nearly one
third of the land area. Forests produce
various environmental benefits including
biodiversity
conservation,
carbon
absorption, desertification protection and
prevention. Sustainable forest management
can help to supply timber and non-timber
forest products for about 1.6 billion people
who are dependent on the forests. Forest
ecosystems also play an important role in
supporting people in developing countries
to adapt to the impacts of climate change.

One of the definitions agreed and mostly


used by the countries regarding sustainable
forest management of The United Nation
Forum on Forests (UNFF) is: Sustainable
forest management is a new concept that
aims to maintain and enhance the economic,
social and environmental values of all
types of forests, for the benefit of present
and future generations. Or according to
the definition of the International Tropical
Timber Organization (ITTO) Sustainable
forest management is the process of
managing forest to achieve one or more
clearly specified objectives of management
with regard to the production of a
continuous flow of desired forest products
VNGO - FLEGT

27

and services without undue reduction of its


inherent values and future productivity and
without undue undesirable effects on the
physical and social environment.

RIVER AND STREAM PROTECTION


CORRIDORS ONE INTERNATIONAL
AND NATIONAL REQUIREMENT FOR
SUSTAINABLE FOREST MANAGEMENT

To assess if the forest is sustainably


managed, there have been different criteria
developed by such organizations as FSC,
PEFC, ITTO from the 1994. So far, millions ha
of forest in the world have been provided
with sustainable forest management
certification basing on these criteria.

One of the standards that is commonly


implemented by forest owners for
application
of
international
forest
certification is the FSC. This FSC standard
includes a requirement for environment
to be performed by forest owners, which
is to protect the corridors along the water
resources and around the water reservoirs
aiming at preventing erosion of alluvium
from stream-bed, river-bed, lake-bed using
natural forest trees. This help to conserve
biodiversity and at the same time provide
home and habitats for the wildlife etc.

In Vietnam, the Forestry Development


Strategy period 2006 -2020 has defined
Sustainable forest management, use
and development is the basis for forestry
development, through which to promote
maximal potentials of the sector in order
to contribute to the national economy,
improvement of livelihoods of people
living in mountainous areas; biodiversity
conservation and forest ecosystems. Being
aware of this, the state has been, step by
step, improving the legal framework and
policies as well as promoting practical
operations so that forest management is
sustainable and in line with the world.

VNGO - FLEGT

28

To meet the requirements of international


forest management standards, Vietnam
has promulgated Circular No. 38/2014/TTBNN&PTNT (dated 3/11/2014) on guiding
t sustainable forest management planning,
providing the criteria for sustainable
forest management corresponding to
international standards, including the
contents about river, stream, lake protection
corridors. ( See box 1)

Box 1: Requirements of international standards and response of Vietnam regarding


river and stream protection corridors
Requirements of FSC standards:
Indicator 10.2.3 Buffer zones along water resources and around water reservoirs must be
established according to local regulations and laws or best practices of the region. These buffer
zones must be reflected on the maps.
Indicator 10.2.4 Forest management unit protects habitats and corridors for wild animals in
suitable locations in planted forest with consultation of specialist.
Requirements of Vietnam standards (according to Circular 38/2014/TT-BNNPTNT)
Indicator 10.2.3. Buffer zone along the streams and around water reservoirs must be established
pursuant to legal regulations and reflected on the maps
Indicator 10.2.4. Establish habitats and corridors for wild animals in suitable locations within
planted forest;

The establishment of river, stream and lake


protection corridors in Vietnam is regulated
in Decree 43/2015/ND-CP (promulgated
on 6/5/2015), specifically defining the
minimum distant from the waters edge to
be protected for each type of watersource
(Article 9), demarcation of protected
corridors (Article 13), Fund for demarcation
of protected corridors (Article 14) and
Requirements on activities within the water
source protection corridors (Article 15)
LIMITATIONS IN GUIDANCE FOR
SUSTAINABLE FOREST MANAGEMENT
IN VIETNAM
Although Circular 38 providing standards for
sustainable forest management in Vietnam
and Decree No. 43/2015/ND-CP providing
the establishment and management of
watersource protection corridors have been
promulgated, there are still some limitations
in establishment of watersource, river, and
lake protection corridors in planted forest.
Firstly, there is no clear regulation on the
use of land within watersource protection

corridors. Both Circular 38 and Decree 43


do not include specific guidelines regarding
what the forest owners have to do to
establish the corridors and the activities
they can carry out within the scope of
the watersource protection corridors. For
example, the forest owners are allowed
to plant trees or they must let the forest
to naturally regenerate? Or if they can
carry out agricultural and grazing, or even
logging activities in this area?
Secondly, what is the solution for improper
activities (i.e. forest planting or infrastructure
construction) within the corridors which
happened before the promulgation of
Circular 38 and Decree 43 whether or not
the forest owners are considered violating
the law if those construction works are
maintained?
Besides, these documents have no specific
guidance on the sources of fund for
establishment of the vegetation within the
corridors, from the forest owners or from
the state budget etc.
VNGO - FLEGT

29

Chiem Hoa Forestry Company


(Photo: Vu Nham)

IMPACTS
ON
FOREST
CERTIFICATION PROCESS OF THE
FOREST OWNERS
At present, the United States, Europe, Australia,
Japan and some other countries have set
out various requirements for the countries
exporting timber and timber products into
their markets aiming at preventing illegal
logging. One of the requirements is that the
exported timber must be legal, for example
having forest management certificates like
FSC or PEFC certification. Therefore, in order
to export timber products to these countries,
timber processing enterprises have to get
forest management certification for their
material forests.
VNGO - FLEGT

30

However, during the audit for international


forest management certification (i.e. FSC),
owners of planted forest, including forestry
companies and planting households, often
violate the regulations on river, stream, lake
protection corridors as defined by FSC or
Circular 38 in Box 1. The main reason is that
their forests were established before the
promulgation of Circular 38. For example in
Phu Tho and Ha Giang provinces (See box
2) the forest owners failed the assessments
for certification audited by the international
certification bodies because they did not
fully comply with the standards so they have
to spend lot of money to correct these nonconformity before the certificate to be issued

Box 2: Incompliance with FSC standards by forestry companies and forest planting
household groups
In 2010 when FSC certification body came to audit Doan Hung Forestry Company in Phu Tho
province. This company was concluded not to comply with FSC standards as they planted
production forest inside the Dap Dau lake protection corridor and closely to the waters edge.
This is a major non-conformity which the company had to correct it immediately (by setting
15 m wide corridor and only for natural regeneration and additional planting of indigenous
trees, expenses had to spend on tree planting and cement demarcation protection signboard,
without logging timber in the lake protection corridor), After completing all these activities, the
certification has been granted to the company.
In 2016, FSC certification body came to audit the Small Household Plantation Group in Ha Giang.
The households were also evaluated not to comply with FSC standards as they grow trees closed
to the waters edge, leaving no distance for watersource protection corridor. These households
had also to correct the problem by leaving the distance for stream protection corridor, letting
trees generate naturally, stop logging activities within the corridor etc. before being granted with
the certification.

Conclusion and policy recommendations


At present, in Vietnam, over 500 timber processing enterprises participating
in the world timber supply chain has achieved FSC, PEFC certifications
for their chain of custody and sustainable forest management certification
is required for their source of raw materials. Although Circular 38
providing for sustainable forest management standards in Vietnam and
Decree No. 43/2015/ND-CP providing the establishment and management
of watersource protection corridors has been promulgated, there are
still some limitations regarding establishment of river, lake protection
corridors in planted forest, which make it difficult for the forest owners to
meet all the required environmental criteria.
Thus, to create favorable conditions for forest owners to meet the
requirements of sustainable forest management, apply for forest
certification, participate in the world timber supply chain, and avoid big
mistakes in management of stream protection corridors, the forestry sector
needs to supplement specific regulations guiding the establishment and
use of land within river, stream, lake protection corridors in planted forests
in order to meet international forest management standards and promote
domestic sustainable forest management in line with the current trend of
legal timber supply source (FLEGT) as well as international integration.
VNGO - FLEGT

31

DEALING WITH INCREASED DEMAND FOR TIMBER AND FIREWOOD


FOR DOMESTIC USE BY COMMUNITIES LIVING NEAR FOREST IN THE
CONTEXT OF CHANGES IN FOREST POLICY OF VIETNAM
Trinh Ngoc Trong and Nguyen Quang Tan

Key

MESSAGE

Timber exploitation for domestic use and firewood is an


indispensable and increasing need of local people living
closed to the forest. The meeting of this need is being
affected by the overlapped and unclear policy framework

as well as the implementation of relevant policies which result in sneaky harvest of


timber and firewood by local people in some places to meet their legitimate need.
Therefore, the implementation of forestry policies needs to take into account the
measures of meeting the demand for timber and firewood for domestic use by
households and communities in order to ensure the practical and fair benefits of local
people living closed to the forest.

INTRODUCTION
About 2/3 of the total area
of Vietnam is mountainous

Sn La

areas which are home to


over 24 million people
belonging
different

to
ethnic

Qun o
Hong Sa

54
groups,

especially ethnic minority


communities whose lives
are closely linked to forest
land, mountains, trees and

Kon Tum
0

200

Gia Lai

kilormeters
k Lk

forest products. Throughout


the centuries, they have
developed

traditional

customs and knowledge


regarding forest resources
management.

Qun o
Trng Sa
Ph Quc
Cn o

Khu vc nghin cu

Forest

resources have become an


indispensable part of their
cultural and economic life.

Figure 1: Surveyed areas

of households and communities. However, in


reality, their demand has not been sufficiently
met due to the overlapped and unclear policy

At present, there are difficulties in meeting

framework as well as the implementation

the legitimate need for forest products of

of relevant policies. In the coming time, in

local people living close to the forest. Basing

order to solve these problems, there should

on results of the surveys and assessments

be measures to meet the need of households

of demand for timber for domestic use in

and community for timber and firewood

Kon Tum, Dak Lak, Gia Lai and Son La (See

to ensure the practical and fair benefits for

figure 1), this paper shows the high demand

local people living closed to the forest.

HIGH AND DIVERSIFIED DEMAND


FOR TIMBER AND FIREWOOD FOR
DOMESTIC USE BY LOCAL PEOPLE

storehouses; breeding facilities; fences;


making indoor furniture including
wardrobes, tables, beds; coffers and
firewood. The use of timber varies
depending on natural conditions, culture,
and traditions of each ethnic group and
community (See box 1 for examples of
the use of timber and firewood by some
communities in the Central Highlands).

Communities living near the forest


have diversified needs for timber and
firewood for domestic use. Timber is
used for essential needs such as building
new house; repairing houses; building

Box 1: Demand for timber and firewood of some minority communities in the Central
Highlands
E de and MNong people in Dak Lak province; Xe Dang, Mnam, Gia Rai, Ba Na people in Gia
Lai and Kon Tum provinces live in stilt houses, however the houses are of different height.
Whereas, inside the houses of E De and MNong people, the bank (Kpan the length depends
on the length of the house) is often found, which is the symbol of the familys wealth or the
long house indicates the presence of all generations of the family.
Mnam people live high up in the mountains in severe climate conditions with rain and cold
weather all year round, therefore their demand for firewood for cooking and heating is very
high, about 46.7 Ster firewood/HH/year
Each Mnam household often has one house in the community residential area and one field
house and the rice store near the field. In addition, Mnam people have the custom of building
the buffalo shed twice every year and the new shed must not be in the same place with the
old ones. Therefore, for each new shed, trees need to be cut down.

Cooking and
storing firewood
(Photo: Ngoc Trong)

The average demand for timber and


firewood of local communities living
closed to the forest is very high. Survey
results show that the estimated average
demand for timber is 1.7 m3 timber/ HH/
year (ranging from 0.4m3 to 3m3) and for
firewood is 29.7 ster/HH/year (ranging
from 12.6 ster to 46.7 ster) (See details in
table 1). An estimation for about 24 million
people (about 4 million households)
currently living near the forest and being
VNGO - FLEGT

34

directly dependent on the forest shows that


the demand for timber for domestic use
every year is very huge: the calculation at
the lowest demand of 0.4 m3 timber results
in the amount of 1.6 million m3/ year for
the whole year; at the average demand of
1.7 m3 results in the amount of 6.8 million
m3/year and at the highest demand of 3 m3
results in the amount of 12 million m3/year,
and the calculation for firewood will be at
118.8 million Ster /year.

Rice store of Mnam people


(Photo: Ngoc Trong)

Table 1: Demand for timber and rewood by households for a year in survey areas

(# : no statistics available)

Photo: The Cuong

EXISTING REGULATIONS OF THE


BENEFITS
POLICY
REGARDING
TIMBER
AND
FIREWOOD
FOR
DOMESTIC USE
At present, the state legal framework has
included the regulations on the benefits of
households and communities (including
contracted households and non-contracted
households) aiming at satisfying their basic
demands. Among which:
For contracted households, the following
benefits are entitled to: exploitation, use
of forest products and other interests
from forest for public and family use
wheen needed. They only need to inform
the Commune Peoples Committee for
certification and management purposes
(Law on Forest Protection and Development
2004; Decision No. 178/2001/QD TTg
dated 12/11/2001; Circular No. 21/2016/
TTBNNPTNT dated 28/6/2016)
For households and individuals contracted
to management and protection of
VNGO - FLEGT

36

protection forest and production forest:


the households are allowed to harvest dry
ecron-timber trees, fallen and broken trees,
diseased trees, products from thinning or
to exploit timber by the mode of selective
cutting with the exploitation intensity of not
more than 20% when the protection forests
are allowed for exploitation (meeting
harvesting standards) according to the
design prepared by the Contracting Party;
the value of harvested forest products
after tax is divided as follows: contracted
households and individuals shall enjoy 1.5 3 % of the exploited products for each year
of the contract, the rest shall be remitted
to the Contracting Party. The Provincal
Department of Agriculture and Rural
Development approves or submits to the
Provincial Peoples Committees for approval
and issuance of the harvesting permit (Law
on Forest Protection and Development
2004; Decision No. 178/2001/QD TTg
dated 12/11/2001).
Households,

individuals,

communities

living closed to natural production


forest are allowed to harvest timber and
firewood for domestic use when needed.
They only need to inform the Commune
Peoples Committee for certification and
management (Decision No. 186/2006/QDTTg dated 14/8/2006).
Besides, the Law on Forest Protection
and Development 2004 also regulated
that the forest owners, when preparing
forest protection and development plans,
need to base on the actual forest status
and predicted demand as well as ability
to use the forest and forest land of the
organizations, households and individuals
(clauses 1, 2, Article 14).

OBSTACLES TO THE DEMAND


FOR TIMBER AND FIREWOOD FOR
DOMESTIC USE BY LOCAL PEOPLE
The legal framework has regulted for the
use of timber and firewood for domestic
use by local people. However, in reality,
there are still many shortcomings in the
implementation of these regulations which
make local people unable to legally use
these resources. Firstly, there exists the
inconsistency on the authority to approve
the logging activities for the familys use
of the households between Decision No.
186/2006/QD-TTg (regulation on forest
management) and Decision No. 178/2001/
QD-TTg (policy of benefits). Concretely,
Clause 5, Article 39 of Decision 186
regulates that households, individuals and
village communities that wish to harvest
natural forest timber for domestic use shall
only need to notify such to communelevel Peoples Committees for certification
and management. However, Article 7 of
Decision 178 regulates that households
and individuals who wish to harvest
natural forest timber for domestic use
have to file applications with the commune
Peoples Committees for certification and
further submission to the district Peoples

Committees for consideration, approval


and grantof permits forlogging.
Secondly, Artile 5 (item a, clause 2) of
Circular No. 21/2016 regulating the
harvesting of timber also exceed the
ability of communities and households.
Specifically, the demanded timber volume
by local people shall not exceed 10 m3, the
people then have to put ordinary numbers,
make the list of trees to be harvested
and then send the list to the commune
Peoples Committee for synthetization
and submission to the district Peoples
Committees for approval.
Moreover, the forest owners such as
Nature Reserves and protection forest
Management Boards who are performing
their function of forest management
according to the state regulation bear no
responsibility for protecting the forest to
generate timber and firewood for domestic
use by local people. On the other hand,
some households take advantages of
harvesting timber for house construction
and then sell to others to make profit when
timber become more scarce (According to
Decision 59 of Ministry of Agriculture and
Rural Development dated 10/10/2005, for
old houses and finished furniture, rangers
are not allowed to check the invoices. When
people wish to sell these items, only the
certification of commune and local rangers
is required). Therefore, when preparing
forest protection and development plan, the
forest owners do not include the demand
for timber for domestic use by households
and communities into the plan.
Similarily, it is regulated that firewood
should be taken from dry branches, fallen
and broken trees or trees from forest
thinning, however this source of firewood
supply is not sufficient and long-lasting
against the increasing demand of the
households. Whereas, forest dependent
people living in remote areas and near the
VNGO - FLEGT

37

forest often have a difficult life. They cannot


afford the gas cooker or electric cooker to
replace the wood stove, therefore they
intentionally cut down trees and let them
die dry before collecting for firewood.

SUCCESSFUL COMMUNITY-BASED
FOREST MANAGEMENT MODELS
In recent years, community-based forest
management models have been piloted in
various localities. In these models, legitimate
needs of local people for timber and firewood
for domestic use have been taken into
account while still ensuring the objective of
forest resources protection and development.
One of these models is the forest
management model in Bun Tul community,
Krong Bong district, Dak Lak ptovince with
technical support from GIZ (Germany). During
the process of landuse planning and forest
and forestland allocation, local people are
involved in determining the area of allocated
forest and evaluating the status of forest
resources. After that, the project together with
local people assess the demand for timber of
the community in 5 years and balance the
supply ability of each forest plot. Based on the
assessment results, the community prepares a
plan for forest protection and management,
in which the number of trees to be harvested
for domestic use in the community in 5 years
will be defined. After that, the project together
with local people assess the demand for timber
of the community in 5 years and balance the
supply ability of each forest plot. Based on the
assessment results, the community prepares a
plan for forest protection and management,
in which the number of trees to be harvested

VNGO - FLEGT

38

for domestic use in the community in 5


years will be defined. When it comes to the
harvesting period defined in the management
plan, guidance is provided to local people
regarding procedures for getting harvesting
permit, specifying clearly harvesting purpose,
number of trees to be harvested and
harvesting location. The application is then
submitted to the forest management board
for certification.
In Quang Ngai province, the project WB3
of the World Bank has helped local people
to develop the Community-based Forest
Planting Model. The households involved in
the project are allowed to get the loan for 13
years to plant the forest following the models
of paper raw material forest (acacia, melia
azedarach Linn.); forest planting for timber
using native tree species such as Hopea or
agro-forestry models. Products generated
from planted forests can be used to satisfy
the demand for timber of local people and
sell out. In addition, products got from annual
forest thinning provide a source of firewood
for the households, contributing to reduce
the pressure on forest resources.
In Dien Bien province, the Project Sustainable
Forest Management in the Northwest
Watershed Area (SUSFORM NOW) funded
by JICA has helped to reduce the pressure
on forest resources through supporting local
people to build firewood-saving stoves and
provide them with improved Lao stove to save
time and reduce pressure of fuel on the forest.
Besides, the project also develops the system
of Biogas using wastes from husbandry to
generate fuel for cooking and lighting, which
helps to save time and firewood.

Proposed solutions in respond to increasing demand for timber and firewood


for domestic use
Demand for timber and firewood for domestic use is one of the reasons affecting
sustainable forest management. In order to satisfy this demand and to perform
well the taks of forest resources protection and development, the following
solutions should be considered:
1/ Implement the Landuse Planning to develop the raw material forest planting
area, produce commercial timber, sell trees to get money to buy industrial timber,
carry out forest thinning to get firewood.
2/ Agree on the authority for approving timber harvesting for domestic use by
local households between Decision No. 186/2006/QD-TTg (forest management
regulations) and Decision No. 178/2001/QD-TTg (benefits policy).
3/ Simplify procedures for getting permission to harvest timber for domestic use,
including: Content of the application only needs to state the harvesting purpose,
list of trees to be harvested, tree dimension, harvesting area and the person to
supervise the harvesting process.
4/ Encourage investment in models using alternative materials or improve woodsaving stoves for households and community.

Reference
Bao Huy (2008), Community Forest Management Plan for Tul Village, Yang Mao, Krong Bong, Dak
Lak. Peoples Committee of Krong Bong District
Bui Van Hung (2012), Solutions for community participation in forest management at Krong Bong
Forestry Limited Company, Dak Lak. Master Thesis, Tay Nguyen University
Cao Thi Ly, (2011), Predicted pressures of use on forest resources and solutions for communitybased conservation forest management. Tay Nguyen University
Dang Thanh Liem and Nguyen Thi Tien, (2014), Technical report Readiness for REDD+
implementation at community level in Hieu village, Kon Plong district, Kon Tum province, FFI.
Nguyen Danh, Nguyen Van Vu (2012), Results of the Research on Impacts of livelihood activities by
buffer zone communities on forest resources of Kon Ka Kinh National Park, Gia Lai PROVINCE; Gia Lai
Union of Science and Technology Associations and Tay Nguyen Forestry Vocational School.

VNGO - FLEGT

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The publication is supported by the European Union


(EU) through the organization FERN
SRD is responsible for the content of publications and
the publication in any case does not represent the views
of EU and FERN.
EDITORIAL BOARD
Nguyen Quang Tan
Vu Thi Bich Hop
Tran Ngoc Tue

10

NM TH

Centre for Sustainable Rural Development (SRD)

Sustainable Rural Development

IA

2006 -2016
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* K N I

NH

Training course on writing policy brief 2016 for members of


VNGO-FLEGT network
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