Soc Trang's forest co-management model helps improve locals’ incomes hinh anh 1Illustrative image (Source: VNA)

Soc Trang (VNA) -
The co-management model for mangrove forest protection in Soc Trang province has improved livelihoods in local communities and efficiently protects forests.

Located south of the Hau River, the southern-most tributary of the Mekong River, Soc Trang has faced the impacts of climate change, including coastal erosion.

Human activities like over-exploitation of aquatic resources in mangrove forests have caused the degradation of those forests which act as shields preventing erosion of coasts.

To grow mangrove forests, the province launched the co-management model in Au Tho B hamlet in Vinh Chau town’s Vinh Hai commune in 2007.

Under it, local people together with authorities protect the forests and exploit aquatic resources and wood.

Thach Soal, head of the Au Tho B hamlet co-management group, said: “Previously local people who came into mangrove forests to exploit aquatic resources were not aware of the need to protect forests and even cut trees.”

As a result, coastal areas eroded and this impacted the livelihoods and agricultural production of local people, he said.

After participating in the co-management model, people have begun to protect mangrove forests and exploit aquatic resources properly since they now understand mangroves provide them with their livelihood, he added.      

Besides protecting forests, locals have also planted more trees.

Nguyen Thanh Toan, Vice Chairman of the Vinh Hai Commune People’s Committee, said after the co-management model was adopted, mud flats have been developed and mangrove forests are being grown densely.

People are benefiting more from the forests’ aquatic resources, he added.

After its success in Au Tho B, the model has been expanded to the province’s other coastal districts like Tran De and Cu Lao Dung.

In Cu Lao Dung’s An Thanh Nam commune, forest rangers and locals protect nearly 600ha of mangrove forests, which have prevented erosion.

Thach Son, head of the commune's co-management group, said for locals, “Protecting forests is protecting their livelihoods.”

Besides protecting mangrove forests, locals also breed aquatic species like obtuse horn shell and mud clams in mangrove forests to improve their incomes.

Tran Trong Khiem, head of the province's Forest Protection Sub-department, said people’s awareness of the importance of mangrove forests has increased significantly after participating in the co-management model.  

They voluntarily co-operate with authorities to protect and grow mangroves, he said.

The co-management model has helped protect the forests and improve incomes for people, he added.

The province has 1,500ha of mangrove forests under the co-management model, according to the sub-department.

Its mangrove cover has increased from 5,500ha in 2011 to nearly 8,000ha now./.