Bringing new technologies to forest protectors
Half of all Vietnam’s mangroves are in Ca Mau, its southernmost province. Over 60,000 hectares of Ca Mau’s mangroves are managed by seven forest management units and one national park, which don’t have the man power or funding to do the job properly. The mangrove forests are difficult to access and to protect and there are cases of government officials being attacked by illegal mangrove cutters.
Nhung Mien Forest Management Unit, in Ngoc Hien District, covers 12,000 hectares. Management board staff use rulers and paper maps to measure forest area. This is slow and inaccurate. IUCN and SNV, with the help of Dr. Vo Quoc Tuan a professor at Can Tho University who recently competed his PhD in Germany, recently organized a 3-day training course to train staff to use GPS and GIS to update farm units and forest maps.
Ten management board staff were trained to use GPS to quickly and accurately map farm boundaries and land use. They the learned how to download the GPS points into a GIS program to visualize what they had just mapped and check the results for accuracy. These new skills will help them in their daily work mapping, managing, and protecting mangroves.
With German government funding, IUCN and SNV are working with Ca Mau-based Ming Phu, one of the world’s largest seafood processors, to certify1,000 farmers in Nhung Mien to produce organic shrimp. A condition for certification is that farmers maintain 60% of their land under mangrove. Nhung Mien Forest Management Board will use GPS and GIS to help monitor compliance with this condition.
Mr. Ho Kim Cuong - Programme Support Officer Ca Mau Province