Since 2012, the EC-LEDS program has partnered with Vietnam to implement its Payments for Forest Environmental Services (PFES) system, the first PFES to be nationally mandated in Asia. Between 2011 and 2014, the PFES system protected nearly 3.3 million hectares of forest yearly, about 27% of Vietnam’s total forested area.
More than 70% of Vietnam’s 92 million people rely heavily on the country’s vast forests for their livelihood. Despite a relatively small net rate of national deforestation, reducing forest exploitation in Vietnam can provide significant economic and climate benefits.Vietnam’s PFES accounts for $55-60 million USD annually, nearly 25% of the Vietnam government’s total annual investment in the forestry sector.
People and ecosystems in Vietnam’s small rural communities stand to benefit most from PFES. For example, last year in Hang Cau village, where the majority of farmers live at or below the poverty line, PFES funds were used to pay individuals for their forest monitoring work, renovate the village’s deteriorating community center, build a new fence to control cattle grazing over 38 hectares of land, and set aside additional funds for financing vital improvements to the village road.
PFES is a mechanism that requires users of forest environmental services to make payments to suppliers of these services, which include forest carbon sequestration and the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions through the prevention of deforestation and forest degradation, watershed protection, tourism, and aquaculture.