This project empowers local ethnic Tai, H'mong, and Dao vilagers' direct involvement in conservation of the endangered Francois Langur and its habitat in northern Vietnam, by establishing the first community-based conservation area in the country. Villagers are involved in conservation and monitoring of the langur and other species in the forest landscape. The project provides training, mentoring, and technical and financial support to villagers, including livelihood development activities.
People from outside the local communities are coming into the area to capture and to hunt the langur, to market its body parts as medicinal products. The local ethnic communities want to protect the langur and its habitat and by doing so protecting also other species in the landscape. There is a need for recurring funding to help the local villagers, who are not economically wealthy, protect this global natural asset through regular patrolling and monitoring of nearby forests.
The project is establishing a community-based conservation management approach in the landscape, where local ethnic communities from 19 villages are direct stakeholder in conservation of the forest and biodiversity therein. Areas in the landscape, selected by communities themselves and outside critical langur conservation zones, will remain for multiply-use purposes where villagers will continue to harvest non-timber forest resources, such as cardamom and other high-value products.
The project's long-term impact is an established system where direct stakeholder communities become stewardships of their environmental surroundings and natural resources therein, thus creating a direct interest in conservation by imparting a sense of ownership to forest lands and natural values previously considered common and exploitable by all. The project also holds community development activities to help villagers strengthen household livelihoods and village institutions.