Why this country?
With over 200 globally threatened tree species, Vietnam is a true threatened tree hotspot. The country’s rich and varied habitats support a wealth of diversity, but rapid economic development, over-exploitation and conversion of land for agriculture are all putting pressure on unique and important species.
Many of Vietnam’s threatened trees are restricted to small, isolated areas of forest throughout the country, but particularly in the highlands of the northern and south-central regions. Deforestation, caused mainly by illegal logging and infrastructure development, along with shifting cultivation, represent the major threats to tree species, resulting in fragmented habitats, decline in natural populations and loss of genetic diversity.
Conservation of threatened trees in Vietnam began in 1962 when the country’s first national park, Cuc Phuong, was established. Now, the country boasts around 140 national parks and protected areas, but none has a specific threatened tree conservation plan. Tree species (including endemic camellias, rosewoods, magnolias and dipterocarps) are threatened by selective logging or low natural regeneration, and the survival of many will not be guaranteed through a business-as-usual approach to forest conservation.
Major constraints that limit conservation action for threatened trees in Vietnam include:
- Key land managers and organisations, including national park rangers and protected area technical staff, are unable to access vital knowledge about the unique characteristics of each tree species;
- Genetic diversity is not always fully considered in restoration work, with practitioners often producing as many saplings as possible, sometimes from genetically identical cutting or from just one mother tree;
- Targeted tree conservation is not a priority for forest- and land-owners, who instead focus on large-scale projects that can bring observable benefits, for example establishing plantations of trees with high economic value.
What are we doing about it?
FFI has been working to conserve threatened trees in Vietnam since 2001, including taking action for threatened magnolias, conifers and camellias. However, with over 200 threatened tree species persisting in Vietnam, coordinated, national-level action is required.
This project aims to bring together relevant institutions and organisations in Vietnam with an interest in threatened trees and catalyse action to address major gaps in threatened tree species conservation. We will achieve this by supporting organisations to identify funding opportunities, assessing and addressing knowledge and skills gaps, and by developing new initiatives and actions. Our work includes:
- Convening national-level action planning to prioritise threatened tree species and sites across Vietnam;
- Delivering targeted technical support to those working at key sites for threatened trees;
- Providing small grants to catalyse new action.
Since 2019, we have been working to build momentum for threatened tree conservation across Vietnam. Through bringing together researchers, botanists, conservationists and land managers at a national-level workshop, we identified 11 priority species and 12 priority sites across the country, identified capacity needs and established a network of practitioners with interests in in situ threatened tree conservation.
Since then, we have started to address capacity gaps and launched a small grants scheme, seeking to catalyse new in situ action for underfunded or understudied threatened trees. Four projects are now underway – keep an eye on our News & Blog page for updates.
For more information on this project, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org