Ethnic minority women in the Northwest of Vietnam are currently facing increasing deforestation which has negative effects on their lives and livelihoods. We believe that a bottom-up movement coming from the villagers is needed to effectively tackle this problem. We want to enable these ethnic minority women to replant the lost forests around their villages which will have a sustainable positive impact on their lives and living environment.
Deforestation and forest degradation in these mountainous areas are increasing at an alarming rate due to illegal logging, overexploitation of forests and climate change impacts. It is more and more difficult for the women to find firewood, medicinal plants or fodder for the animals.The forest supplies them and their families with clean water, allows farming, protects the steep slopes from erosion and regulates the microclimate of the region. All these important functions are at stake!
Especially ethnic women are vulnerable to the negative impacts of deforestation, but they can also be the main changing agent! Based on local peoples' knowledge on land, trees and forests, we want the women in Xuan Nha to replant destroyed forest around their villages. The women will learn how to collect seeds from indigenous trees from natural forest and produce seedlings in a local nursery. They will be taught how to plant the multipurpose trees and take care of the newly established forest.
Apart from restoring the environment around the villages we also expect that after less than a decade the women will profit from their new forests in collecting forest products. We intend to replicate this model to form a local forest restoration movement as well as to provide a best practice example for other degraded forest areas. Lessons learnt will not only be discussed with local stakeholders but also with Tay Bac University in Son La, with which we have a long-standing cooperation.