Farmers and fishermen from the surrounding villages on the south coast of Central Vietnam live chiefly from catching fish and shrimp in the South China Sea and harvesting rice, sugar cane and other products. In recent years, the coastal region has degraded severely and the population has been afflicted by increasingly frequent tropical storms and hurricanes. This has led to flooding and loss of harvests in the hinterland
In the barren dunes on the south coast of Central Vietnam, temperatures soar to above 40 °C in the dry season. In the rainy season, there is flooding as a consequence of tropical storms. The natural vegetation by the coast has been severely damaged by large-scale deforestation and incorrect use of the land. The dune forests and mangroves that used to protect the villages against these extreme weather conditions have almost completely disappeared.
The local population of small-scale farmers and fishermen is therefore increasingly exposed to the consequences of climate change, such as more and more floods and typhoons, long spells of drought and water pollution. And the eroded soil with sparse vegetation provides hardly any habitat any more for local flora and fauna. Previous attempts at reforestation involved the mass planting of exotic tree species, such as Acacia and Casuarina. That, too, has led to further deterioration of the soil and the native vegetation.
In order to reverse this trend, Trees for All is restoring 100 hectares of the severely degraded coastal zone. By planting 120,000 native trees and shrubs, we will ensure that the region becomes climate-proof again and regains its protective function. We are thus restoring an exceptional and endangered ecosystem and improving the living conditions of the people in the region.
We will be planting seedlings in groups of fast and slow growing tree types, in an area that has ‘protected forest’ status. Through these ‘tree islands’, we are reproducing the development of the original dune forest. In the long term, this will create a diverse dune forest with a wide variety of species.
This project has been set up in collaboration with UNIQUE Forestry and Land Use GmbH and the Institute of Resources and Environment at Hue University (IREN), a local organisation with a long record of nature management and development projects. All the project activities are carried out in close cooperation with the local authorities, government bodies like the Forest Protection Department (FPD) and neighbouring villages. The planting is done on land that is designated as ‘protected forest’, in order to prevent timber harvesting and avoid the risk of the land being used in other ways.
Cultivating, planting and maintaining the dune forest will provide employment for around 250 to 300 small-scale farmers from the neighbouring villages. Women will also play a prominent role in the project. In addition, the local population will benefit from the tree species we are planting that produce Non-Timber Forest Products (NTFPs), such as fruit, nuts, roots for medicinal use and essential oils for the local market.
“We are restoring an exceptional and endangered ecosystem and improving the living conditions of the people in the region.”