Biodiversity Conservation and Community Development in the Nui Chua Reserve, Vietnam
The Nui Chua nature reserve, in the coastal area of central Vietnam, was recently gazetted as a protected area. It is a rare, arid region, with the lowest rainfall in all Vietnam, and is home to five communities of varied ethnic origins. Agriculture is the dominant economic activity, but the communities lack suitable cultivation techniques to enable them to improve living standards. Many live at subsistence level, relying on slash and burn agriculture, making charcoal and collecting coral or wild plants for tourist souvenirs.
Truong Quang Tam's project will combine research in the area, establishing baseline survey data, with environmental education schemes for children living in and around the protected area, designing agro-forestry models for the cultivation of cassava, and investigating potential for the development of ecotourism, together with the restoration of traditional culture and handicrafts. An overriding objective is to have the reserve upgraded to National Park status, the first such park in an arid zone in SE Asia.