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Rubber Expansion and Forest Protection in Vietnam

By Phuc Xuan To, Huu Tran Nghi - Forest Trends
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This report provides in-depth analyses of the impacts of the expansion of rubber plantations in Vietnam, particularly in the Central Highland and Northwest Regions, which have experienced the most rapid rubber expansion in terms of area. The report also highlights the impacts of rubber plantation development on forest resources, household livelihoods, and local communities, as well as other socioeconomic and cultural impacts in areas of great expansion. As a result of this rapid commodity boom, as much as 79% of new plantations have been established on natural forestland, with widespread abuses in forest conversion processes by rubber companies and, on occasion, local governments. The implementation of Vietnam’s REDD+ and FLEGT initiatives will require judicious establishment and implementation of mechanisms to address drivers of deforestation, including conversion of natural forests for additional rubber plantations. To achieve this objective and improve overall governance of forest resources, Vietnam must strengthen its inspection and supervision processes, and licensed companies must comply with environmental and social standards such as Environmental Impact Assessments and Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) with local communities.