Land allocation policy and conservation practices in the mountains of Northern Vietnam
In Vietnam, a quasi-private property regime has been established in 1993, with the issuance exchangeable and mortgageable land use right certificates. Using primary qualitative and quantitative data, this paper investigates the role of the titling policy in fostering the use of soil conservation practices by upland farmers in the northern mountains region. There, population growth and growing market demands have induced farmers to intensify agricultural production onto steep slopes. While poverty has been reduced, environmental 16 problems such as soil erosion, landslides, and declining soil fertility have become severe over the past years. Our findings suggest that soil conservation technologies although relatively well known are perceived as being economically unattractive. Focusing on agroforestry, we estimate household and plot level econometric models to empirically assess the determinants of adoption. We find that the possession of a formal land title influences adoption, but that the threat of land re-allocations in villages creates uncertainty and discourages this type of investment. We conclude that more efforts are needed from decision-makers to promote and support the adoption of conservation practices and also to clarify objectives of the land policy in order to secure land tenure and initiate a more sustainable development in fragile areas.
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