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Vietnam’s carbon forest market roused

The field research phase of a REDD project (reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation) at the Bach Ma National Forest has been completed, and experts have begun designing the project, said representatives of the companies in charge of the project’s management.

It is expected that the REDD project in Bach Ma will benefit 63,000 local residents and help protect thousands of animal and plantation varieties at the national forest. The project has been scheduled to last 30 years and it is expected to absorb 15,500 tons of living mass every year. The total volume of carbon to be collected during the project lifetime would be about 0.36 million tons.

“A big amount of money has been injected in the project. The projects on growing forests that can absorb carbon remain quite unfamiliar in Vietnam. And we have decided to grab the opportunity,” the representative from VCE said.

Meanwhile, another project by VCE and VCL has also been carried out well at the Tam Dao National Forest, which is expected to absorb 50,000-60,000 tons of living mass every year, and about 40-50,000 tons of carbon. As such, the total volume of carbon to be collected from the 30-year project would be 1.2-1.5 million tons.

Kicked off in 2009, the project includes 32,000 hectares of the natural forests located on three provinces of Vinh Phuc, Thai Nguyen and Tuyen Quang and will benefit 200,000 local residents.

Unlike other carbon projects in Vietnam which relate to afforestation activities, the REDD at Bach Ma and Tam Dao aim to preserve and promote the biological diversification value of the natural forests in Vietnam.

“We want to develop REDD projects in the areas which have been severely suffered from the deforestation and forest degradation in natural forest areas in Vietnam,” the representative from VCE said.

Now VCE and VCL are conducting the field work for two similar projects at the Xuan Son National Forest in Phu Tho province and Ba Be in Bac Kan. With the projects, investors would only spend money for protecting forests, while the products they need are the Certified Emission Reductions – CERs, or the certificates on emission reductions granted by the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) executive boards. The CERs would be sold to the clients, who are foreign enterprises which will use the CERs to offset the volume of emissions they have to cut as per requests of countries’ authorities.

Bruce Browntree, Director of VCL, said that the carbon forest projects would help make the environment greener and help Vietnam attract more foreign investors. The environment friendly business has become a requirement in the business strategies of many countries in the world. VCL, which is also running some similar projects in Indonesia and Papua Guinea, also wishes to carry out the projects in Vietnam.

Vietnam proves to be the ideal place for growing forests to reduce emission and cope with the climate change. Vietnamese forests can much better absorb carbon than the forests in other countries.

However, to date in Vietnam, the majority of REDD projects have been carried out by the government in cooperation with international organizations, including the World Bank, AusAid, GTZ or SNV, while the projects are just in the early stages of implementation.

The United Nations, for example, is running the trial UN-REDD project in the districts of Lam Ha and Di Linh in Lam Dong. The first phase of the project, capitalized by the Norwegian government, began in September 2009 and would last 20 months.

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