The proposed PhD-research addresses the issue of vulnerability in relation to climate change in upland areas of Vietnam and views vulnerability and resilience as determinants of adaptive capacity. The overall objective of the PhD is to investigate the underlying factors that contribute to an understanding of social and environmental resilience of upland farming systems in the context of environmental change. The immediate objectives of the study are to: 1. Establish links and probable relationships between environmental stress and shocks and changes in land use and livelihood strategies. 2. Identify farming practices that have been adopted as a response to environmental change. 3. Examine the sustainability of current farming practices through environmental indicators such as soil erosion and soil fertility. 4. Establish the level of household social vulnerability to environmental change.
Completion Report - Summary:
The research included an assessment of the impact of land use changes in two municipalities by examining the long-term changes linked to the expansion of acacia production and the interplay between land use change and the effects of tropical storms. Both analysis of satellite imagery and interviews with local households indicated that natural forests are being replaced by forest plantations. This has had a profound impact on household adoption of acacia production.
The project also found that the introduction of forest plantations has reinforced existing inequalities in landholding, which in turn has increased household vulnerability to natural hazards. The most vulnerable households are the landless and ethnic minorities, both of which depend on short-term income from casual labour.
The project also assessed the results of the implementation and outcomes of national development programs in one mountainous commune in Vietnam by tracing the history of State intervention and the capacity of households and the community to adapt to change.
The households that are characterized by adaptive capacity are those that have better access to capital while others remain vulnerable because they are constrained in accessing resources and engage in non-diversified livelihoods.