The objective of the study is stratification of Vietnamese territory into forestry ecological areas based on ecological factors determining the generation and development of different types of forest vegetation cover.
Greenhouse gas emission (GHG) from land use changes, especially from conversion to non-forest land use and unsustainable forest management contributes up to 20% of global GHG emissions. The increase of GHG contents in the atmosphere is the primary reason of global climate change. Therefore, at the 13th Conference of Parties (COP13) in Bali, Indonesia, the initiative “Reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation” (abbreviated in English as REDD+) in tropical countries was proposed and received strong support from international community. To implement this initiative, United Nations REDD+ Programme (UN-REDD+) was established and implemented in 2008. Vietnam is one of the first countries selected for implementing UN-REDD+, in which Vietnam Administration of Forestry is in charge of UN-REDD+ in Vietnam, with technical supports from Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), United Nations Development Program (UNDP), and United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).
One of the important requirements for the implementation of REDD+ activities is the development of Reference Emission Level (REL) or Reference Level (RL) and the Monitoring, Reporting and Verification (MRV) system as the basis for estimating and commercializing emission reduction credits generated by REDD+ activities.
In order to support the development of REL/RL and MRV, within the scope of cooperation between FAO, UN-REDD+ Vietnam and Forest Ecology and Environment Research Center of the Vietnam Forestry Science Institute, the study of forestry ecological stratification in Vietnam is carried out with participation from leading experts in related fields (meteorology, geology and geomorphology, forest ecology, pedology, GIS, vertical visibility…). The objective of the study is to devide stratification of Vietnamese territory into forestry ecological areas based on ecological factors determining the generation and development of different types of forest vegetation cover. The study reviewed related researches and selected factors for the stratification of forest land, which are: climate, geology, topography and pedology. Based on selected factors, the criteria for ecological stratification are proposed. Forest ecological stratification system includes three levels: Area, Region and Sub-region. Forest ecological stratification divided Vietnamese territory into two areas (Northern and Southern areas), 8 regions (North East, North West, Northern delta, North Central, South Central, Central Highland, South East and South West) and 47 ecological sub-regions (in which 4 sub-regions are islands and archipelagos). Sub-regions are basic measurement for determination of generation and productivity of each particular forest types. Forest ecological stratification maps are developed for ecological regions and a database on climate (meteorologic characteristics, precipitation, and temperature), topography, pedology and specific forest vegetation cover will be established for each ecological region and sub-region.
Forest ecological stratification study is a pioneer research, but inherited from the research results in stratification in related sectors, and is unprejudiced. The forest ecological stratification result not only directly contributes the establishment of REL/RL and MRV in REDD+ implementation, but also serves as the basis for the management and development of forestry in Vietnam. However, due to limited duration, the forest ecological stratification result has not been verified, therefore, it is necessary to further invest and improve this stratification study.