Home Institution

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Publication Date

Spring 2009

Program Name

Viet Nam: Ecology and Sustainability in the Mekong Delta


Recognizing the connection between local communities and conservation areas, Integrated Conservation with Development Projects (ICDPs) are being developed across the world to simultaneously address conservation and local development goals. Through a case study of the Phu My Lepironia Conservation Project (an ICDP) in Kien Giang Province, Vietnam, this study aimed to examine the nature of the role of the local community in ICDPs, the factors affecting this role and the impact this role is having on the conservation project. Participant observation and open-ended interview techniques were used to achieve this aim.

The study found that, despite the goal of the conservation management staff to build a strong relationship with the local people and eventually hand over management to community members, the current role of the local people is very limited and almost entirely economically focused. A myriad of complex, interconnected factors were found to contribute to this role and to the overall low level of awareness and understanding. This limited role had important repercussions on the distribution of benefits from the Project as well as conflict management.

The results of this study were useful in providing an understanding of the current state of the community-Project relationship in Phu My and a potential basis for decisions concerning the future of the Project. It also adds to the growing body of case studies concerning conservation management around the world as researchers and conservationists try to find holistic solutions that positively influence both environmental conservation and local communities.


Natural Resources and Conservation


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