November 29, 2022 — The 3rd Project Steering Committee (PSC) Meeting for the project on “Conservation and development of forest ecosystems biodiversity resources at Cat Tien National Park (AFoCO/024/2021)” was convened from 28-29 November at Cat Tien National Park Headquarters. Cat Tien National Park, in the Northeastern part of Ho Chi Minh City. The park is situated along the Dong Nai River, with a beautiful landscape that is home to more than 80 local plant species. The Cat Tien National Park is accessible by boat through the Dong Nai River. The monitoring of the main project sites was conducted on November 28 and the 3rd Project Steering Committee (PSC) Meeting was held on November 29.
At the PSC meeting, the progress and accomplishments of the project were presented by the project coordinator, Dr. Pham Huu Khanh, who explained the project’s current progress in different areas of the park. Activities assessing the need for capacity building for local communities to adapt to climate change and social impacts as well as the following training have been conducted in 2022. The planting of Golden Camellia trees is complete, and the project team is currently monitoring the survival rate and growth of the plantation while conducting maintenance activities.
Among the project’s key outputs, is the development of the model plantation of Golden Camellias (Cammellia spp.), an indigenous, rare, and valuable tree used for timber, high-quality drinks, medicine, and as an ornamental plant. During the project monitoring exercise held on the first day of the visit, the team visited the Golden Camellia plantation site, where a total of 5ha of golden camellia trees of 7 different species were planted in 2021. The survival rate of each tree will be monitored further to select the most suitable species that can grow and propagate best under the park’s ecosystem conditions. One of the sub-activities to be implemented alongside the model plantation includes the development of branding plans for Golden Camellia products. Research on Golden Camellia tea products as potential items is underway.
Another site that was visited was the orchid house where the project team kept the collected 35 different species of Orchidaceae to develop a greenhouse within the park. In 2023, a greenhouse with a total of 50 different orchid species will be constructed in the park.
The Secretariat acknowledged the efforts of the IA in the implementation of the project activities and looked forward to furthering communication in the planning of the 2023 work and budget plan, especially on activities that commenced in 2022 and are expected to end in 2023. For AFoCO/024/2021, the mid-term evaluation is slated for September 2023.
In 2023 and 2024, in line with the project’s strong focus on local livelihood improvement and community-based small enterprise development, 3 buffer zone villages where project activities targeted at improving sustainable livelihoods will be conducted will see substantial progress. The project activities will support the park’s conservation management strategy of improving livelihoods for local people in the buffer zone to reduce pressures on park resources, minimize territorial violations by ethnic minorities, and enhance community-based forest protection.
- In Villages 3 and 4 (Phuoc Cat 2 Commune, Cat Tien District, Lam Dong Province), which are in the most remote areas of Lam Dong Province within the core zone of CTNP, the project will support the planting, maintenance, and marketing of high-value tree crops (cashew-nut, durian, avocado) to help improve the livelihoods of ethnic minorities.
- Village 7 (Dac Lua Commune, Tan Phu District, Dong Nai Province) faces threats from illegal grazing, which has adverse impacts on conservation, the destruction of plantations, heightened risks of forest fires, increased vulnerability to disease outbreaks, and more competition for food with wild animals. The project will set aside 5ha of land for intensive grazing pastures for ethnic minorities.
- Homestay models will be developed and promoted in Nam Cat Tien commune (located at the entrance of CTNP in the buffer zone), Tan Phu district, Dong Nai province in accordance with local customs and practices as a form of tourism-based alternative livelihood. The model will subsequently be replicated in other communes where suitable.
Read about the project in the Nhân Dân news article HERE.