The chapter describes the changes in forest social-ecological systems (SESs) in Cat Ba Island. It shows that the forest SESs are dynamic, and have undergone a transition from local people having unimpeded access to exploit forests, to biodiversity conservation combined with new sources of livelihood external to the forests. The research highlights the importance of multiple drivers of change and disturbances in the system. The analysis of system changes over the past decades provides a greater understanding of adaptation processes, and informs the interpretation of responses to future changes on Cat Ba, including the more recent emphasis on conservation. In addition, the analysis allows us to learn from past experiences for future responses, and identifies opportunities to reconcile conservation and development objectives more effectively. The relevance of SES analysis as a multiperspective approach, which combines theories of knowledge, livelihoods, and human perception and attitude, as adopted in this study, cannot be overemphasized. The approach has proven to be worthy for revealing and understanding the relationships between conservation and development, the processes that drive these relationships and their ultimate socioeconomic and environmental implications. The research described in this chapter was based on three communes in close proximity to Cat Ba National Park (Gia Luan, Viet Hai, and Tran Chau), which were previously dependent on livelihoods strongly associated with the forests.
Redefining Diversity and Dynamics of Natural Resources Management in Asia, Volume 2: Upland Natural Resources and Social Ecological Systems in Northern Vietnam / Ganesh Shivakoti, Mai Van Thanh, Tran Duc Vien and Steven Leisz (eds): pp.177-192