I am writing this piece with an aim to share a different perspective of biodiversity conservation in Vietnam. Biodiversity conservation in Australia appears to me very advanced; and public awareness of conservation is extensive. Vietnam is a developing country, yet there are still many poor farmers. Promoting biodiversity conservation in a context where farmers and their families struggling to search for food in daily lives seems quite an awkward thing to do. The conflict between biodiversity conservation and hunger & poverty reduction is challenging.
I came across this paper and thought of sharing with you some information that I found encouraging ‘Combining biodiversity conservation with poverty alleviation – a case study in the Mekong Delta, Vietnam’ (Tran Triet, 2010. Aquatic Ecosystem Health & Management.).
The case study provides an interesting Story of Change for farmers’ livelihoods in a wetland protected area of 2,890 hectares in Phu My commune, Kien Luong District, Kien Giang province, southern Vietnam. This wetland ecosystem supports the last remnant of Lepironia grassland in the Mekong Delta. The wetland was threatened by economic push e.g. booming price in shrimp aquaculture amongst other pressures.
Facilitated by Vietnamese academics and international supporters, farmers have changed their over-harvesting practice of Lepironia grassland. Sustainable use of Lepironia promoted whilst providing income from products made from Lepironia. On average, mat making can earn 30,000 VND/day i.e. A$1.4/day. A handbag making can earn 50,000 VND/day i.e. A$2.3/day. The area witnesses more Sarus crane counts e.g. 45 in 2005, 41 in 2006, and 131 in 2007.
Turning from previously an area threatened to shift to shrimp-farm to now included in the newly established Kien Giang Biosphere Reserve approved by UNESCO in 2007 is a good news from conservation perspective isn’t it. There still are issues and challenges to be facing. The case study identifies lessons learned as well as sustainability.
I thank you very much for reading. Image credited from google source.