Illegal Timber Logging in Vietnam: Who Profits from Forest Privatization Connected with a Logging Ban?

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"This paper examines how forest land allocation and a logging ban influence the distribution of income from illegal timber logging in northern Vietnam. The Vietnamese government implemented forest land allocation in the 1990s, granting rural households legal rights to forest land. At the same time, it issued a logging ban in the early 1990s, criminalizing virtually all timber logging. Yet because of the demand for timber in lowland markets, illegal timber logging still takes place in many upland forests. Using commodity chain analysis, this paper examines the distribution of benefits derived from small-scale illegal logging among various actors as well as the mechanisms creating and maintaining access to timber for those actors. The paper shows that the benefits derived from timber are distributed unequally among different actors along the chain. Villagers and hired woodcutters are the ones who benefit least, in contrast to a village trader, a wholesaler, a number of local state officials, and two 'lawmakers'. These results indicate that forest land allocation may have granted villagers legal rights to forest, but in the presence of the logging ban, the actual distribution of benefits largely reflects actors' control over markets and power derived from state positions."
IASC, logging, land tenure and use, property rights, poaching, forest policy, privatization