Forests make a vital contribution to humanity, but their full potential will only be realized if we halt forest damage and destruction
An estimated 13 million hectares of forests were lost each year between 2000 and 2010. In tropical rainforests particularly, deforestation continues to be an urgent environmental issue that jeopardizes people’s livelihoods, threatens species, and intensifies global warming. Forests make a vital contribution to humanity, but their full potential will only be realized if we halt forest damage and destruction. WWF’s Global Goal: The integrity of the world’s most important forests, including their benefits to human well-being, is enhanced and maintained.
Vietnam’s precious remnants of primeval forests are home to many unique and endangered animal and plant species. According to FAO's statistics (2000), Vietnam's forest cover stands at 9.8 million hectares, which is about 30% of the land area. Vietnam is no. 6 globally in wood product exports and no.1 in woodchip export (mostly from Acacia). About 24 million people live in or around forests depending on them for food and income. More than 1 million people earn their income from bamboo or rattan.
During the last century these forest landscapes have diminished severely due to population pressure and an increasing demand for timber. Although hunting and logging is illegal in protected areas, these illegal activities are still one of the main and high level threats to the local wildlife. Additionally, the timber market booming in Vietnam is fed by nearly 80% of imports from neighboring countries, e.g. Laos, where up to 90% of the forests are exploited illegally.
Opportunities of change are important with the recent government engagement to reduce emissions by 19 Million tons CO2 eq. per decade through reduced deforestation and forest degradation. REDD+ is central to the National Climate change Strategy and Vietnam is one of the most advanced countries. Payment for Forest Ecosystem Services (PFES) is supported by Government and has been successfully implemented; it has potential to upscale it to WWF priority landscapes.
Since its first operations in the country, WWF has been protecting the last of Vietnam’s natural forest. WWF’s strategy for forest conservation relies on:
PA management effectiveness: zero poaching threat achieved for Saola at critical locations, leading to ongoing detection from at least three sites; management effectiveness standards introduced to all Protected Areas; Management Effectiveness Tracking Tool scores >75% and Conservation Oriented Patrol Standards >90%,
Tackling illegality: convictions and arrest rates for illegal hunting and logging increase by 50% in priority landscapes;
Trans-boundary co-operation: the trans-boundary conservation issues are addressed through strengthened cooperation between Vietnam and Lao PDR and Vietnam and Cambodia,
Habitat restoration: the integrity of biodiversity corridors and critical habitats (including forests, wetlands) are conserved, maintained and restored in the priority landscapes through zero forest loss and zero critical habitat degradation and conversion,
Addressing poverty & livelihoods: effective community-based conservation models have been integrated into land-use plans, demonstrating strong results to sustainable natural resource management and livelihood development.
Sustainable financing: models for sustainable financing of biodiversity conservation and livelihood improvement developed and applied in priority landscapes,
Influencing financial flows: key investments impacting priority landscapes meet international standards for green investment and impact on the landscapes is significantly reduced.
Forest restoration and reforestation
Sustainable timber or NTPF production (certification)
Securing local communities’ livelihood and engaging a sustainable financing mechanism for conservation activities (REDD+, PFES)