Nung ethnic community wins environmental gong
  • | VNS | July 29, 2013 09:56 AM

The Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources has awarded the 2013 Vietnam Environmental Award to the Nung ethnic community in the northern mountainous province of Cao Bang for their solutions in protecting, preserving and developing their natural resources.

Local authorities checking forest protection activities in Ha Lang district. Photo by Vacne

The province's Phuc Sen Commune is home to around 2,000 Nung, who live in stilt houses and make a living from farming and the traditional craft of hand-forged agricultural tools, said Linh Van Phu, Chairman of the commune's People's Committee.

In the past, local people often collected firewood from the forests to use in their forging trade due to a lack of arable land. As a result, deforestation occurred, resulting in stifling air, unusually cold or hot weather, dwindling rainfall and arid land, which made the daily lives of the locals very difficult.

In response, the Party Committee and the commune's authorities launched a campaign to plant, protect and develop forests, which received a warm response from residents. Under the campaign, community forestry was protected while regulations for the management and protection of forestry in accordance with the real needs and conditions of each hamlet was established.

A tree that can easily grow in limestone and has the ability to quickly regenerate - known locally as Mac Rac or Dau Diu - was discovered in the region. These trees, once mature, create favourable conditions and moisture for other plants to grow; they also serve to supply the local community with enough charcoal for use in their traditional craft of forging.

Many neighbouring communes came to learn about and implement this local community-based forestry management model which proved successful for contributing to a sustainable local and regional ecological and environmental landscape.

Following the success of their flourishing forestry management project, Phuc Sen Commune is benefiting from a project to promote sustainable development which aims to develop Pac Rang Hamlet into an ecological destination and traditional forging craft village.

So far, the project has completed several of its plans, including the upgrading of local roads and drainage systems and the building of cultural houses and traditional stilt houses. The entire project will be completed by the end of 2013.

Leave your comment on this story