Table 1.

Positive and negative impacts of Vietnam’s afforestation, reforestation, and restoration programs.

Social BenefitsIndicators of Positive ImpactsIndicators of Negative Impacts
Stakeholder engagement
  • Recipients of land tenure certificates more engaged

  • (Renumerated) labor provided for protection programs

  • Top down management by government offices

  • Little independent decision-making by participating households

Benefit distribution
  • Households able to claim secure land tenure certificates

  • Some (minimal) mixing of food crops and tree seedlings

  • Early programs led to few direct household benefits

  • Projects tend to favor households with land and capital assets

  • Concerns about rising income inequality and land stratification with poor households least likely to benefit

  • Ethnic minorities less likely to benefit

  • Gender differentials in access to benefits

Knowledge enrichment
  • Voluntary owner associations can be set up (though not widespread)

  • Little knowledge or training associated with programs

  • Lack of use of local knowledge

  • Targets often not met due to information barriers

  • Little awareness of damaging practices

Natural capital
  • Improvements in soil quality (nitrogen, carbon storage)

  • Protection from storm surge, benefits of windbreaks

  • Biodiversity improvements dependent on species and scale

  • Can be motivated by payments or subsidies

  • Many plantations managed poorly for natural capital

  • Some plantings inappropriate in vulnerable areas (typhoons)

  • Some replacement of natural forests by less diverse plantations

  • High biodiversity plantings require more land and longer rotations

Sustainable economies
  • Profitability varies, dependent on land & labor prices and subsidies

  • Flexibility as to harvesting time

  • Subsidies are strong motivation

  • Certification can raise economic benefits

  • Subsidies can encourage forest conversion

  • Certification is difficult to get

Community wellbeing
  • Some potential shared ecosystem services benefits

  • Community management can take more labor

  • Can disrupt traditional systems of community land management