The politics of swidden: A case study from Nghe An and Son La in Vietnam

Thuy Thu Pham, Moira Moeliono, Grace Yee Wong, Maria Brockhaus, Dung Ngoc Le

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

Abstract

Swidden cultivation practices have been seen as a major driver of deforestation and forest degradation in Southeast Asia. Using two case studies from Vietnam, this paper examines discourses around swidden practices at multiple levels of governance. Our findings show diverse interpretations of swidden resulting in different policy preferences and policy translations when addressing the issue. At national level, swidden is blamed as a principal driver of deforestation and forest degradation, and as such is a practice to be eliminated. As a result of this national stance, provincial level authorities see the existence of swidden as a failure by which their political performance will be judged. Conversely, swidden communities are seen at district level as an innovative solution to help resource-limited police forces ensure national security in border areas. Local commune and village leaders view swidden as a traditional practice to be respected, so as to maintain harmonious relationships amongst social groups, and avoid ethnic groups protesting against the government. Such differences in discourses and political interests have led to swidden becoming an ‘invisible’ issue, with government authorities failing to collect and report on data. Not recognizing swidden also means that swidden actors are practically ‘forgotten’ in the design and implementation of Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+) and Payments for Ecosystem Services (PES). Their omission from forest conservation and management incentive programmes could lead to further social marginalization, and potentially result in deforestation and forest degradation in the area. Our findings suggest that REDD+ policies should take into account diverging political interests on controversial land uses such as swidden cultivation.
Original languageEnglish
JournalLand Use Policy
ISSN0264-8377
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - Mar 2018
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

Cite this

Pham, Thuy Thu ; Moeliono, Moira ; Wong, Grace Yee ; Brockhaus, Maria ; Le, Dung Ngoc. / The politics of swidden: A case study from Nghe An and Son La in Vietnam. In: Land Use Policy. 2018.
@article{a9e8095277c94104afd993a92287eb47,
title = "The politics of swidden: A case study from Nghe An and Son La in Vietnam",
abstract = "Swidden cultivation practices have been seen as a major driver of deforestation and forest degradation in Southeast Asia. Using two case studies from Vietnam, this paper examines discourses around swidden practices at multiple levels of governance. Our findings show diverse interpretations of swidden resulting in different policy preferences and policy translations when addressing the issue. At national level, swidden is blamed as a principal driver of deforestation and forest degradation, and as such is a practice to be eliminated. As a result of this national stance, provincial level authorities see the existence of swidden as a failure by which their political performance will be judged. Conversely, swidden communities are seen at district level as an innovative solution to help resource-limited police forces ensure national security in border areas. Local commune and village leaders view swidden as a traditional practice to be respected, so as to maintain harmonious relationships amongst social groups, and avoid ethnic groups protesting against the government. Such differences in discourses and political interests have led to swidden becoming an ‘invisible’ issue, with government authorities failing to collect and report on data. Not recognizing swidden also means that swidden actors are practically ‘forgotten’ in the design and implementation of Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+) and Payments for Ecosystem Services (PES). Their omission from forest conservation and management incentive programmes could lead to further social marginalization, and potentially result in deforestation and forest degradation in the area. Our findings suggest that REDD+ policies should take into account diverging political interests on controversial land uses such as swidden cultivation.",
author = "Pham, {Thuy Thu} and Moira Moeliono and Wong, {Grace Yee} and Maria Brockhaus and Le, {Dung Ngoc}",
year = "2018",
month = "3",
doi = "10.1016/j.landusepol.2017.10.057",
language = "English",
journal = "Land Use Policy",
issn = "0264-8377",
publisher = "ELSEVIER SCI IRELAND LTD",

}

The politics of swidden: A case study from Nghe An and Son La in Vietnam. / Pham, Thuy Thu ; Moeliono, Moira; Wong, Grace Yee; Brockhaus, Maria; Le, Dung Ngoc.

In: Land Use Policy, 03.2018.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

TY - JOUR

T1 - The politics of swidden: A case study from Nghe An and Son La in Vietnam

AU - Pham, Thuy Thu

AU - Moeliono, Moira

AU - Wong, Grace Yee

AU - Brockhaus, Maria

AU - Le, Dung Ngoc

PY - 2018/3

Y1 - 2018/3

N2 - Swidden cultivation practices have been seen as a major driver of deforestation and forest degradation in Southeast Asia. Using two case studies from Vietnam, this paper examines discourses around swidden practices at multiple levels of governance. Our findings show diverse interpretations of swidden resulting in different policy preferences and policy translations when addressing the issue. At national level, swidden is blamed as a principal driver of deforestation and forest degradation, and as such is a practice to be eliminated. As a result of this national stance, provincial level authorities see the existence of swidden as a failure by which their political performance will be judged. Conversely, swidden communities are seen at district level as an innovative solution to help resource-limited police forces ensure national security in border areas. Local commune and village leaders view swidden as a traditional practice to be respected, so as to maintain harmonious relationships amongst social groups, and avoid ethnic groups protesting against the government. Such differences in discourses and political interests have led to swidden becoming an ‘invisible’ issue, with government authorities failing to collect and report on data. Not recognizing swidden also means that swidden actors are practically ‘forgotten’ in the design and implementation of Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+) and Payments for Ecosystem Services (PES). Their omission from forest conservation and management incentive programmes could lead to further social marginalization, and potentially result in deforestation and forest degradation in the area. Our findings suggest that REDD+ policies should take into account diverging political interests on controversial land uses such as swidden cultivation.

AB - Swidden cultivation practices have been seen as a major driver of deforestation and forest degradation in Southeast Asia. Using two case studies from Vietnam, this paper examines discourses around swidden practices at multiple levels of governance. Our findings show diverse interpretations of swidden resulting in different policy preferences and policy translations when addressing the issue. At national level, swidden is blamed as a principal driver of deforestation and forest degradation, and as such is a practice to be eliminated. As a result of this national stance, provincial level authorities see the existence of swidden as a failure by which their political performance will be judged. Conversely, swidden communities are seen at district level as an innovative solution to help resource-limited police forces ensure national security in border areas. Local commune and village leaders view swidden as a traditional practice to be respected, so as to maintain harmonious relationships amongst social groups, and avoid ethnic groups protesting against the government. Such differences in discourses and political interests have led to swidden becoming an ‘invisible’ issue, with government authorities failing to collect and report on data. Not recognizing swidden also means that swidden actors are practically ‘forgotten’ in the design and implementation of Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+) and Payments for Ecosystem Services (PES). Their omission from forest conservation and management incentive programmes could lead to further social marginalization, and potentially result in deforestation and forest degradation in the area. Our findings suggest that REDD+ policies should take into account diverging political interests on controversial land uses such as swidden cultivation.

U2 - 10.1016/j.landusepol.2017.10.057

DO - 10.1016/j.landusepol.2017.10.057

M3 - Article

JO - Land Use Policy

JF - Land Use Policy

SN - 0264-8377

ER -