Like much of Southeast Asia, Vietnam is among the countries most threatened by climate change. While the nation has made strides economically — reducing poverty considerably and integrating into to global markets — substantial challenges still loom in the face of these triumphs. Unrestrained economic and agricultural expansion has resulted in the degradation and loss of vital ecosystems and forestland. Winrock’s work in Vietnam has been central to supporting biodiversity conservation; for example, implementing a successful Payment for Ecosystem Services pilot, which led to the first national policy in Southeast Asia to facilitate payments to ensure protection of forests in the Lam Dong and Son La provinces. Today, Winrock continues to transition the country to climate resiliency while improving the livelihoods of tens of thousands of rural poor.
“The services that forests provide – in terms of reducing the impacts of climate change and sequestering carbon – those benefits start to expand beyond just the individuals in the households who are living in that forest. We all are actually benefiting from PFES all over the world.” Winrock’s Brian Bean explains how the Payment for Forest Environmental Services system in Vietnam allows beneficiaries of forest environmental services, like hydrological protection for watersheds and waterways, to pay into a fund that is distributed to forest owners to financially reward them for their work to protect and support forestland growth.