Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA) - Da Lat, Vietnam (2010-2011)
The Bidoup Nui Ba National Park (BNBNP) is located in northeastern Lam Dong Province, occupying 70,038 hectares, which is much larger than the average area of national parks in Vietnam. The park is endowed with a wide variety of biodiversity and is rich in flora and fauna. The JICA-BNBNP Project seeks to enhance the capacity of national staff to manage the park’s natural resources and work with target villages through the establishment of a collaborative co-management model.
A plan to implement community-based ecotourism was a major part of the project and I served as the Community-Based Ecotourism (CBET) Expert. I investigated all options and potential for developing ecotourism within the national park and in surrounding target villages.
Adjacent to the national park, there are 5,067 households (26,028 people), most of whom are ethnic minorities and make their living by traditional agriculture. Arable lands are limited and the poverty rate exceeds 30% due to low agricultural productivity. Under these circumstances, people living around the national park are compelled to encroach on and convert the forest into arable land, expand coffee plantations beyond the national park boundary, hunt wild animals, engage in illegal logging, and collect wood fuels. As a result, the biodiversity of the national park is under threat by human activities.
My research and activities culminated into a comprehensive 250-page report for 'Planning and Implementation of Community-Based Ecotourism' and included the following components: