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Conservation and Society
An interdisciplinary journal exploring linkages between society, environment and development
Conservation and Society
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Year : 2013  |  Volume : 11  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 130-143

How Biodiversity Conservation Policy Accelerates Agrarian Differentiation: The Account of an Upland Village in Vietnam

1 Forest and Nature Conservation Policy Group, Wageningen University, The Netherlands
2 Resource Management in Asia-Pacific Program, ANU College of Asia and the Pacific, Australian National University, Canberra, Australia

Correspondence Address:
Phuc Xuan To
Resource Management in Asia-Pacific Program, ANU College of Asia and the Pacific, Australian National University, Canberra
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0972-4923.115727

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This paper shows how the implementation of Vietnam's recent biodiversity conservation policy in Ba Vi National Park has increased the economic value of nature, created sustained conflict, and exacerbated agrarian differentiation in an upland village in northern Vietnam. Increased global and national interest in biodiversity conservation has intersected with markets for ecosystem services that attempt to commoditise biodiversity resources in Ba Vi National Park and reconfigure conservation as market-based development. Efforts to marketise conservation have simultaneously increased the financial value of forestland and drawn new capital investments. In Ba Vi, local elites have captured these new forms of wealth through their connections to political parties, reinforcing the already unequal distributions of wealth and power. Coupled with political power, rising land value has also allowed local elites to become landlords, with the capacity to further dispossess other villagers. The resulting skewed access to natural resources has widened the gap between poor and wealthy villagers, and contributes to their over-exploitation of forests within the Park through informal agricultural expansion. The ensuing local conflicts have also negatively affected livelihoods and biodiversity resources.

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