Forest resources data include timber stock volume, non- timber forest products (NTFPs) and biodiversity. How recent the data needs to be is determined based on forest categories, specifically as follows:
1) Timber stock volume: Timber volume data is used to classify the richness levels of the forest and the logging plan for forest types where harvesting is permitted:
– For the additional inventory to classify forest status as mentioned in section c, a timber stock inventory should be conducted to classify poor, extremely poor, un-forested land and planted forests
– For the additional inventory to develop a harvesting plan, according to the current regulations, except production forests only timber from planted forest in protection forests and scientific research forests can be harvested; harvesting is not permitted in all remaining forest categories (Articles 52 and 55 of the Forestry Law; Articles 12 and 20 of Decree 156). Thus, a high accuracy of timber stock volume data in special-use and protection forests for use in the development of the SFMP is not necessary; timber volume data approved by regular forest inventory is sufficient. For planted protection forest, if there is no up-to- date data and it is expected that during SFMP implementation there may be a need to harvest timber from nursery trees and target trees when the forest has ensured its protection function, it is necessary to carry out additional inventories to collect fresh data on the volume of planted protection forest for the development of a harvesting plan.
2) Non-timber forest products: Current regulations do not allow the harvest of NTFPs in special-use forests, only in protection forests. Therefore, for each forest category, data collection can be carried out as follows:
– For special-use forests, it is possible to use NTFP data from the latest forest inventory results. An additional inventory is not necessary.
– For protection forests, Article 55 of the Forestry Law and Article 20 of Decree 156 stipulate that the harvesting of NTFPs must ensure sustainable development and not affect the protection function of the forest. Thus, to develop a harvesting plan for NTFPs, it is necessary to have detailed NTFP status data for every product group. Although there are available NTFP data from the forest inventory, NTFP species are diverse and the stock volume has a large degree of variation over time due to regular harvesting, use, and seasonal production. Therefore, NTFP data in the latest forest inventory may not be sufficient for planning sustainable harvesting, only to be used to determine the potential NTFP value of the forest. However, a detailed inventory of NTFP availability is also difficult to implement immediately because it is costly, time consuming, and requires expertise. Thus, NTFP data from the latest inventory can be used to identify the potential for the development of NTFPs, and a detailed plan will be carried out in the SFMP when it is approved entitled: “Investigation and planning for sustainable NTFP development and harvesting”. This activity should be addressed with the participation of communities and stakeholders in its development, harvesting, and benefit- sharing in accordance with current regulations.
3) Biodiversity (flora and fauna): Having complete biodiversity data is necessary to develop management plans and strategies for biodiversity conservation. However, obtaining complete data requires high levels of expertise, funds, and time. Therefore, the following methods can be applied to obtain appropriate biodiversity data for the development of SFMPs:
– For special-use forests, when a special- use forest management unit is established, the results of the survey and assessment of biodiversity are quite complete and updated according to regulations. Thus, an additional inventory is not necessary but data can be taken from existing secondary documents and a survey then conducted to verify the data. The survey should focus on ecosystems and groups of endangered, precious, and rare animals and plants according to regulations (especially species in Decree 06/2019/ND-CP). The survey method can be applied as follows: (1) Synthesize information from secondary documents about endangered, precious, and rare species and ecosystems; their scale and location of distribution, existence, development, and their habitats; (2) Interview local people and other stakeholders to verify available information and collect additional information if any; and (3) Conduct a transect survey to verify the available information. If any additional investigations are needed, the method used should be in line with the regulation in Circular 33/2018/TT-BNNPTNT (find attached appendix for guidance on specific investigations).
– For protection forests, normally, the data on biodiversity are not fully researched as for special-use forests. However, a comprehensive biodiversity survey requires a significant budget and significant time. Therefore, the method for evaluating biodiversity in protection forests can be applied following the three steps for special- use forests outlined above.