Mangrove Forests Sponsored by Danish Red Cross Pays Off

Starting in 1994, Mangrove forests cultivated in a project sponsored by the Danish Red Cross have proven their great value in protecting lives and property of thousands of people in the northern province of Thai Binh during storm seasons in Vietnam.
Nam Phu, a coastal village in Tien Hai District with nearly 1,000ha of seafood breeding areas, was one of the areas to have benefited most from the mangrove-planting project.
In the first phase, coastal villages in Tien Hai and Thai Thuî districts planted more than 7,000ha of various types of salt water-tolerant trees. In 2006, the project shifted from an emphasis of planting new forests to one on maintaining existing forests.
Although the initial purpose of the mangrove forest project was natural disaster prevention, the forests have significantly contributed to the socio-economic development of the area. Jobs were created for 3,210 households and the protection of the “green armour” has allowed the local aquatic products sector to prosper and diversify.
Provincial authorities estimate that each village has benefited by as much as VND35-40 million (US$2,200 – 2,500) per month due to the protection of the mangrove forests. Thai Binh Province has also been able to save 15-20 per cent annually on the costs of dike maintenance.
The mangrove project has also raised the awareness of the local population on natural disaster preparedness. They have become more active in planting and caring for forests and battling deforestation, recognising that the trees help minimise storm damage and create a better local living environment.
The province has held a number of training courses on caring for and preserving the forest areas. Teams of rangers have been established and public information campaigns have been conducted.
This year, Thai Binh plans to plant 1,000ha more mangrove forests, increasing the total area of mangrove forest in the province to more than 8,000ha.

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