Awareness Survey and Assessment on the Environment and Coastal Natural Resource Management of Soc Trang Province

Soc Trang is a poor coastal province in the south east of Vietnam. In the past, a discontinuous belt of natural mangrove was situated along the coastal line of the province and along the Dinh An and Tran De estuaries where the Mekong River (also known as Hau River) flows into the sea. Mangrove forests are only found in three districts: Cu Lao Dung, Vinh Chau and Long Phu. The mangrove ecosystem and coastal resources are very important for sustaining local livelihoods, local environmental security and local socioeconomic development.

Some of the mangrove forests in Soc Trang were destroyed during the American War (also called the Vietnam War, 1958-1975), and then recovered through natural regeneration and new establishments on mud flats, and new plantations. In the last two decades the mangrove forests have been seriously decreased due to the expansion of shrimp farming, agricultural production and coastal dyke construction. Thousands of hectares of mangrove forests in Soc Trang have disappeared which has:, reduced their protective functions; caused a decline in marine resources and resulting in increased damage and forest cover loss caused by strong waves, tidal actions and natural disasters. These changes negatively impact local incomes, worsen local living conditions, and raise additional social difficulties and conflicts. Existing environmental and socio-economic problems are caused by the absence of sustainable solutions for managing, using and protecting coastal natural resources, including mangrove forests. In particular, local authorities did a poor job in carrying out their responsibilities in terms of law enforcement to challenge
problems arising from the expansion of shrimp farming, which has been promoted as a priority for local economic development.

To solve those problems, Soc Trang Provincial People Committee has worked in cooperation with the German Technical Cooperation (GTZ) to implement the project “Management of Natural Resources in the Coastal Zone of Soc Trang Province”. The Soc Trang Forest Protection Sub-department is the focal point for executing and implementing this project. The goal of the project is for the coastal wetlands of Soc Trang Province to be protected and sustainably used for the benefit of the local population. Therefore, the project specifically aims to promote coastal co-management mechanisms among resource users (local community, shrimp farmers) and local authorities from the commune, district and provincial levels.

To achieve the project objectives, it is of greatest importance that local authorities and social organisations have sufficient knowledge and understanding of sustainable management of coastal natural resources (Result 5). In addition, local authorities, social organisations and the local community must have proper awareness of environmental issues (Result 6). To verify these outcomes, the project has to collect baseline data using a field survey in the project area. This survey will help to assess the awareness of local authorities, social organisations and local villagers towards the environment and management of coastal natural resources. This survey also creates a good opportunity for training and improving the capacity of project staff at districts in terms of awareness assessment, data analysis and interpretation skills.

PanNature was selected to implement the activity “Assessment about the awareness of coastal zone management and general environmental awareness in Soc Trang Province”. From 5-20 May 2008, three PanNature researchers worked in cooperation with project counterpart staff at the province, district and commune levels to carry out assessment activities in Soc Trang City and the districts of Cu Lao Dung, Vinh Chau and Long Phu. This technical report presents the results of the field survey. It describes the local awareness on environmental issues and management of coastal resources of different target groups of Soc Trang Province.

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Find more information about the project at

Mekong Tipping Point – Vietnamese Version

This is the Vietnamese version of the 9 minute video analyzes the likely impact of building further dams along the mainstream Mekong dam in Laos, Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam. Featuring Dr. Richard Cronin, Director of the Southeast Asia program at the Stimson Center in Washington, DC, this video looks at the role of China, the importance of hydropower, and the implications of these new dams on the region’s bountiful wildlife. The English language video is available here:

Small and Medium Hydropower: Great Impacts on Environment but Less Supervision of Environmental Impact Assessment

This report is a result of the small research project supported as part of the fellowship program provided by the UNEP Eco-Peace Leadership Center for Ms. Do Thi Hai Linh, PanNature’s Communication Manager in 2006. The research was supervised by Dr. Jin Hong Kim Chung-Ang University.

Son Kim 1was the most damage by flooding in 2002. There was a whole village swept out in the flooding. Photo: UNEP-EPLC

Medium and small hydropower (MSH) development is booming in Vietnam in recent years. On one hand, MSH contribute to the national electricity grid to supplement energy for Vietnam’ industries. On the other hand, they cause a lot of severely negative impacts on natural and social environment.

Local communities play a vital role in the process of MSH planning, construction and operation. They may be either beneficiaries or victims of MSH development. Community consultation is a regulated requirement for environmental impacts assessment (EIA) for any MSH project in Vietnam. This adopts a grassroot democracy mechanism to minimize negative impacts that MSH might potentially affect local livelihood and community wealth. Community responses provide a significantly useful reference for decision makers to continue or terminate MSH project proposals.

However, some investors has ignored these requirements, or blind local communities due to their unadequate awareness to MSH impacts, or even some tries to violate or take advantage from gaps in EIA regulations to marginalise community consultation.

The survey was conducted in Son Kim 1 commune, Huong Son district, Ha Tinh province so as to address those concerns. The survey’s results showed not much difference between the assumption of the working group before the field trip and the fact. Local community were lacking awareness and understanding about the environmental and social impacts of MSH projects. They did not have enough capacity and opportunities to give feedbacks or consultation for MSH project.

Although giving some primary recommendations for Son Kim 1 situation, the working group should take deeper study to make this a tyical research that can be applicated in difference area and considered an example for the policy advocacy process.

Download the full report here >> (File PDF, 524 KB)

Education and Awareness Activities at Khau Ca Species and Habitat Conservation Area

PanNature is working with local schools and communities to raise awareness on conservation of the nature reserve, which is home to one of the most endangered primate species globaly – the Tonkin Snub-nosed Monkey.

These education and awareness activities are financially supported by the Rufford Small Grants for Nature Conservation and the Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund. PanNature works closely with Ha Giang Forest Protection Department and Fauna and Flora Internation (FFI) in promoting conservation of the Tonkin Snub-nosed Monkey.

PanNature’s mammal field guide now available in VDIC Bookstore

The book “A Field Guide to the Large Mammals of Vietnam” is a joint effort between PanNature and Dr. John Parr. The contents of this field guide have been based upon available literature and records from mammalian research on mammals in Vietnam and neighboring countries. The species plates in this publication are illustrated by two outstanding wildlife artists in Southeast Asia, Kamol Komolphalin and Mongkol Wongkalasin. Click here for more information about the field guide.

I strongly believe this Field Guide will be an excellent resource for all readers, not only for those working in nature conservation but for scientists, students and nature enthusiastists. It is my great pleasure to introduce this Field Guide to all of you and to offer my thanks and congratulations to all those involved in its preparation.” — Professor Vo Quy, Center for Natural Resources and Environmental Studies (CRES), Hanoi National University.

This field guide in English and Vietnamese languages is now available for sale in the bookstore of the Vietnam Development Information Center (VDIC). For more information, please visit VDIC Bookstore >>

Vietnam Development Information Center

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Visit or contact VDIC from Monday to Friday;
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VDIC is closed on weekends and major public holidays.

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(04) 3934-6845 within Vietnam
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(04) 3934-6847 within Vietnam
(84-4) 3934-6847 from outside Vietnam



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Experiential Environmental Learning Manual for Primary and Middle School Teachers

PanNature worked with Hanoi Environmental Education Project to develop the Experiential Environmental Learning Manual for primary and middle school teachers. This manual ambitiously aims at providing primary and middle school teachers with unique and hands-on tools for carrying out experiential EE for their students.

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