Economic Reforms and Institutional Arrangements for Community-Based Mangrove Forest Management in a Village of Central Vietnam

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"Community-based natural resource management is increasingly viewed as the most appropriate arrangement for promoting sustainable development of common-pool resources. It is considered as an alternative to state control or privatization, since it brings about decentralization, meaningful participation, and conservation. Although community-based natural resource management attracts international attention, it has not yet been widely implemented in Vietnam. In Vietnam the main strategies have been centralized management by state agencies and assignment of management responsibility to individual households. This paper argues that the promotion of nationalization or privatization has not solved the problem of resource degradation and overexploitation. It has deprived many rural households of their livelihoods. This is especially true for mangrove resources in Vietnam where present management strategies have not been successful in reversing the trend of resource degradation. The paper presents findings of a study of mangrove forest use and management in Thi Nai Lagoon in Central Vietnam since the introduction of the economic reforms in 1986. It shows that the local community is highly heterogeneous, as people have reacted to economic reforms through different resource use practices. Access to and control over mangrove resources has differed among households and men and women, causing conflicts between those who have been able to capture nearly exclusive access to and those who lost the newly privatized coastal aquaculture resources. The paper therefore asks how sustainable mangrove management can emerge in the context of Thi Nai Lagoon and what appropriate combinations of institutional arrangements would encourage this."



IASC, common pool resources, mangroves, economic reform, institutional design, forest management, community participation, sustainability, privatization