All land and the natural resources found under or on it is owned by the people through the state in Vietnam. However, the state recognizes long-term, alienable usage rights over both land and resources. Those with these usage rights in forest land are known as “forest owners.”
One crucial feature of forest governance in Vietnam is that a national level ministry (the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development or MARD) and local administrative units share primary jurisdiction over forests. MARD is responsible for developing national forestry plans which guide decision-making on forest uses. It also is responsible for requesting that the Prime Minister establish new Special use or Protected Forests of national importance. However, provincial and district People’s Committees can also establish forests that are not of national importance and play the potentially much more significant role of allocating usage rights for all types of forest.
Read full topic page “Forest Policy and Administration”, recently published by Open Development Vietnam.