The allocation of forestry land in Vietnam: Did it cause the expansion of forests in the northwest?

T. Sikor

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107 Citations (Scopus)


Forests expanded rapidly in northwestern Vietnam in the 1990s. Forest expansion coincided with a new forest policy that mandated the devolution of forest management authority. A cornerstone of the new policy was the allocation of use rights for forestry land and trees to rural households. This paper examines to what extent the new forest policy contributed to the observed forest expansion. The findings of three village studies suggest that the new forest policy had minor effects on actual property rights, as villagers resisted its implementation. Instead, forests expanded, mainly due to the liberalization of agricultural output markets and availability of new technology. Changes in markets and technology motivated farmers to intensify crop production, reducing agricultural pressure on land. The research findings suggest the potential of market-based instruments and technology policy to facilitate forest regeneration. They also demonstrate the benefits of in-depth village studies for forest policy analysis, as it provides an integrated framework for assessing the relative effects of political, economic and technological changes on forests.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-11
Number of pages11
JournalForest Policy and Economics
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2001


  • Land tenure
  • Devolution
  • Agricultural intensification
  • Research method

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