The spread of rubber plantations in Vietnam has gone so fast, that time and again targets set by the government are being exceeded. This raises serious concerns on the amount of forest land left for households and communities who depend on it for their livelihoods.
Vietnam’s northern central provinces are still planning for new rubber development areas, whereas national targets have long been met. Earlier study by CIRUM in Huong Son district of Ha Tinh province, shows an increase of land area managed by companies at the expense of households, communities, and forest land with regeneration potential. It was concluded that national policies, and policies and practices of provincial decision makers and rubber companies stimulate the further increase of land area managed by companies. If land acquisition by rubber companies keeps developing this way it will lead to more landless people with threatened livelihoods.
The case study in Que Phong district of Nghe An province described below, shows that even illegal encroachment of a rubber company on community forest land is very difficult to stop. When finally it has been brought to a halt, the damage done may be hard to reverse, leaving villagers with affected livelihoods and potential conflict with neighbouring communities.
On the basis of the case study, this paper draws conclusions and gives recommendations as input for land and forest allocation policy development.