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

Dressler, W.H.
To, P.X.
January 2013

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.

Publication type: 
Journal Article
Source name: 
Conservation and Society
Page numbers: 
Medknow Publications
Protected areas
Viet Nam