Impacts of Forest Land Allocation and Tourism Development on Forest-based Livelihoods in Rural Central Vietnam
à Campo, J.M.G.
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Many rural livelihoods in Vietnam are still characterized by (extreme) poverty and a low quality of life. Where economic development in Vietnam’s big cities has been booming since the early 1990s, rural areas in the hinterland remain largely undeveloped. Poverty incidence in rural areas is extremely high in Vietnam. Especially ethnic minority groups that tend to live in remote and mountainous forested areas experience high poverty levels. Due to dramatic deforestation and the establishment of national parks, forest-based people now face limited livelihood sources. Forest land allocation (FLA) and sustainable tourism development (STD) are two decentralized development instruments that aim to stimulate nature and/or cultural heritage conservation, while at the same time provide local livelihoods with additional income opportunities. This Master Thesis analyzes the impacts of both development instruments on the livelihoods of two rural Vietnamese communities in Central Vietnam. The main conclusion of the research is that the practical implementation of decentralized development instruments might stimulate different and adverse development impacts than theories would assume. The research shows that the local context of a development intervention has the power to enable or constrain desired development outcomes.