Viet Nam Applies SMART in Forest Protection and Biodiversity Monitoring

Forest rangers of Xuan Lien Nature Reserve during a conservation of terrestrial tortoises study project. Photo credit: ©CCD/ Le Thanh An


Viet Nam currently has approximately 14. 7 million hectares of forest corresponding to a forest coverage of roughly 42%. Being part of the Viet Nam forests, the special-use forest system – one type of protected forest sector – currently consists of 167 management boards of the special-use forest, covering an area of about 2.4 million hectares. The Department of Protected Area Management (DOPAM) is a managerial body with a very limited number of staff, yet they are tasked with collecting, consolidating, and processing data manually, which has understandably resulted in discreteness and fragmentation in the exchange of information, reports, and data communications between the forest management boards and governmental agencies. Consequently, this has made the timely decision-making process more challenging.

In 2021, the standard SMART data model and a set of technical manuals were available for VNFOREST to implement the SMART nationwide rollout.

“With SMART being applied nationwide in a synchronous and uniformed manner, a national database on forest resources and biodiversity will be established. The management and monitoring of nature resources and biodiversity from the central to grassroots levels by administration agencies will thereby be better-informed, promoting sustainable forest management — contributing to reducing greenhouse gas emissions caused by deforestation and forest degradation and to the realization of the common objectives of COP 26," - said Mr Doan Hoai Nam, Director of the Department of Protected Area Management

SMART is a combination of software, training materials and implementation standards to support a broad range of conservation activities. It is internationally recognized and allows for a harmonized monitoring approach and tailor-made data collection and analyses to support management decisions in and around protected areas.

Since 2016, Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH in cooperation with the Viet Nam Forestry Administration and other stakeholders under the "Conservation and sustainable use of forest biodiversity and ecosystem services in Viet Nam" (referred to as the BIO project) commissioned by the Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), has worked toward standardizing the SMART data model and introducing manuals for the application of SMART throughout the entire system of national parks and protected areas.

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