A water resource management project has been underway in Dak Rong commune, K’Bang district of the Central Highlands province of Gia Lai, aiming to preserve the local biodiversity, improve the livelihood of communities in the basins of Srepok and Sesan rivers sustainably, and encourage the engagement of parties in managing natural resources.
The project, jointly managed by People and Nature Reconciliation (PanNature) and the GreenViet Biodiversity Conservation Centre from 2016-2019, focuses on supporting and creating favourable conditions for local communities in getting involved in conserving and restoring the forests in the corridor between the Kon Ka Kinh National Park and the Kon Chu Rang natural reserve.
At the same time, it will also assist locals in developing sustainable agro-forestry models, thus easing the pressure on forest resources, which have been threatened by illegal deforestation.
Dak Rong, home to 1,042 households with 3,668 people, has a total natural area of about 34,000 hectares, including nearly 28,000 hectares of forest land, mostly production forest.
Locals mostly live on agriculture and forest exploitation, but due to limited arable land, they tend to destroy the forest for cultivation of industrial plants.
At the same time, Dak Rong has three hydropower plants, which seriously affects the rice farms in Kon Lanh Te and Kon Von I villages and part of industrial tree farms in Ha Dung II and Dak Trum villages, while seriously harming the water resources for daily activities of people in Kon Lanh Te village.
In order to promote the engagement of locals in Dak Rong in managing and protecting forests, the project has defined the role, capacity and the interest of relevant parties in the work, thus proposing the formation of an organisation representing the community called forestry team in villages. Supported by the local administration, 14 teams have been set up so far in the villages of Kon Loc I, Kon Von I and Kon Lanh Te.
The teams help connect locals with forest owners and the local administration in managing and protecting forests as well as discussing relevant issues. They also contribute to enhancing organisation capacity for the community, while improving locals’ livelihood in line with sustainable natural resources exploitation.
The model also helps settle disputes in natural resources and improve the relationship of parties in forest management and protection.
Representatives of 10 Vietnamese and international non-profit organisations working in nature and wildlife conservation have sent a petition to the Prime Minister to stop the trade of wild birds nationwide.