Warning and Disclaimer

So this is just a blog I'm using to upload a bunch of the essays and assessment tasks I wrote for my various uni degrees. Basically I put a lot of effort into some of these and it seems a waste for them to only be read once... so I figured upload them onto the web and see if anyone looks at them.

did ok at most of my essays, some better than others so copy the ideas at your own risk... Given the slow increase in my marks over the years clearly it took me a while to get started. You can probably work out when I wrote each assessment based on the length of the reference list (and there's probably a correlation with the marks I received for that assessment too)

I had a glance over the cover sheets and don't think there's anything stopping me uploading them as I don't think the uni claims ownership over them. You sign off saying that the work has never been submitted before, not that you won't do anything with it later.

That all being said, if you do find these useful for your own uni work... DON'T copy them (not because I care about you copying them) but because you WILL get done for plagarism yourself... Take some of the main points if you want, definitely steal my reference lists, but don't copy text from the essay because you will get done...

So yeah, read on if you're interested, follow up the references... but don't copy if you know what's good for you

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Vủỏn Quỏc Gia Cảt Tiẽn (Cat Tien National Park)

Cat Tien National Park Conservation Program Description

Cat Tien National Park (CTNP) is located 150 km North East of Ho Chi Minh City in the Dong Nai Province of Vietnam and it is a biodiversity hotspot playing host to a number of internationally endangered species and sub-species (Polet, 2003). The Cat Tien National Park Conservation Project (CTNPCP) was begun in 1998 by the World Wide Fund For Nature (WWF) as an integrated conservation and development project, with the long term objective to conserve the forest and its biodiversity (Wells, 1999). The funding for this project comes from the governments of Vietnam and Netherlands; this is in line with the 10% of the total technical and financial cooperation that European countries must allocate to Asian and Latin American Countries (European Communities, 1993).

CTNP is divided into two sections (Nam Cat Tien and Cat Loc, see map one) with a combined area of 73,878 ha. With re-demarcation CTNP boundary this area will be reduced to 70,549 ha (Management board of CTNP, 2003). There are 73 mammal species, 311 bird species, 69 retile species, 30 amphibian species and 99 fish species confirmed to occur in the national park, including many threatened species (Polet and Tran, 2003). The function of CTNP is to protect and conserve the local ecosystem with the objectives of (CTNP, 2002):
  • Preserving CTNP’s tropical rain forest ecosystem
  • Conserve rare genetic resources of flora and fauna
  • Protect the Tri An Reservoir watershed
  • Conduct scientific research that contributes to conservation activities
  • Implement international nature and conservation programs as assigned by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development
  • Undertake interpretive programs to improve local awareness of the forest management and development law
  • Manage and utilise estates, materials, labour and government budgets in an appropriate and effective way, and as per government instruction

Map One (Not included here)- Cat Tien National Park showing the division between Cat Loc and Nam Cat Tien  
Development of tourism has a lower priority than conservation in CTNP, but biodiversity research, tourism and conservation education are all important aspects of CTNP’s public functions, subsidiary to its main function. An important part of this view is that eco-tourism and community based tourism programs can and should lead to an increase in economic benefits. These economic benefits need to be used to improve CTNP’s facilities and the living conditions for CTNP’s staff, the people living inside the parks boundaries and to a lesser extent the people living in the parks buffer zone (CTNP, 1999). CTNP’s view is similar to the recommendations made by the World Parks Congress in Durbin 2003, and this is that tourism in and around protected areas must be used as a conservation tool (ICUN, 2003).

The organization of tourism activities in CTNP falls under the responsibility of the CTNP Department of Administration and Tourism Services. There is however a limited number of staff available for tourism activities and facilities such as the information office, cars, boats and guides need to be shared with other park staff and departments. There is also a lack of information available for tourists and few of the CTNP staff speak fluent English (CTNP, 1999).

9,442 people live within CTNP, with the majority 81% living on the edges, five villages (1,794 people) are located deep within the park, but the human population of the buffer zone is far higher however. The people living inside CTNP have no legal title to the land but are treated as de facto legal inhabitants. There are 11 different ethnic groups inside CTNP boundaries and 24 ethnic groups in the buffer zone (Polet, Do & Nguyen, 2003). The groups inhabiting the park are broadly divided into three categories. The Kinh (the Vietnamese ethnic majority), indigenous ethnic minorities that have been living in the area for several centuries after being displaced from the ancestral homes by the Kinh (the S’Tieng, Chau Ma and Chau Ro) and recently migrated minorities from northern provinces that migrated to the park after the American War (the Tay, Nung, Dao, Hoa and H’Mong are examples).

Currently local communities hardly benefit from tourism and without changes in approach tourism will become one of the most important threats to CTNP and its values. This is important as the park aims to exclude any human activity negatively interfering with CTNP’s objective to maintain its natural ecosystem. Uncontrolled tourism results in littering, noise problems, wildlife disturbance, habitat loss and air, soil and water pollution. Current tourism developments and activities are not in line with CTNP’s conservation aims, there is no strategy adhered to for managing tourists and both planning and management need to improve to halt tourisms negative impact on the environment (Becker & Tran, 2003).

There has been an increase in the number of visitors to CTNP every year since 1995, with domestic visitors far outnumbering international visitors (see table one). Factors that might explain the surge in domestic visitors include; it is easier for Vietnamese people to travel as they no longer need travel permits, transport is easier to arrange, there was a change to a five day working week from a six day one giving people time to travel, and finally there is a rising standard of living which means people can afford to travel (Becker & Tran, 2003). This is similar to Butler’s (1991) view that the number of people partaking in leisure activities has grown steadily due to an increase in affluence, mobility and leisure time.
Table One (not included here)- Visitors to CTNP (from Becker & Tran, 2003)  
The vast majority of visitors enter CTNP by the advised method of boat crossing of the Dong Nai River and entering via the parks headquarters (see photo two). Few people enter by road from Ta Lai and even fewer by boat and road from Cat Tien District and Dak Lua. A bus service to Dalat from Ho Chi Minh City is available and if you stop at Tan Phu you can hire a motorbike rider to take you along the 24km dirt road to CTNP (Becker, 2004).
Photo Two (not included here)- boat crossing of the Dong Nai River

There is a vast spectrum of visitors to CTNP with a huge diversity regarding their activities, interests, facility use, length of stay and impact on the environment. This agrees with Butler’s (1991) view that different groups of visitors will have different impacts on the Environment. CTNP (1999) divided the visitors into seven groups that where later expanded into nine groups by Becker and Tran (2003).

The first group is large hundred strong groups of school children and other young children from the Ho Chi Minh City area. Some groups coordinate their arrival with the park, but other groups arrive unannounced. These groups normally stay for one night normally at the parks headquarters using tents, not in the guesthouses. The group mainly wants to see wildlife, play games, sing and dance around bonfires till late at night. These groups normally follow the exact same paths in huge numbers causing damage, make a lot of noise (it is common for them to use loudspeakers, sirens and musical instruments) and leave behind a huge amount of litter. They also negatively affect other visitors’ experiences and staff.

The second group of visitors is large groups of domestic tourists from the Ho Chi Minh City area (see photo three). These groups normally stay for one night and are organised by a tour operator with little coordination with CTNP. These groups aim to see wildlife, play games, listen to music, sing karaoke and be out with their family. Once again these groups follow the same paths, make a lot of noise (the leaders use whistles, sirens and loudspeakers), litter hugely and disturb other visitors and the staff.
Photo Three (not included here)- a portion of a larger group of domestic tourists  
The third group is smaller groups of younger domestic tourists from the Ho Chi Minh City area. These people normally come with a tour operator and stay for one or two nights with the aim of observing nature in a peaceful place. They normally use park facilities and vehicles and often stay at guard stations deep in the park. These groups tend not to litter and do not disturb the other visitors.

The forth group is small groups of foreign tourists visiting the park for one or two days with a local tour operator or motorbike rider, normally without an advance booking. These groups are looking for a quiet place or a tropical forest that they can go wildlife watching in. Most trails are walked (rather than concentrate on one), they tend not to litter (with some even removing litter that they find). They rent bicycles and visit the Chau Ma ethnic minority in Ta Lai where they purchase traditional weaving products (see photo four). They go out at night with park staff spotlighting for wildlife and stay in the guesthouses and guard stations (see photo five). They tend not to bother other visitors.

Photo Four (not included here)- a Chau Ma man and boy

Photo Five (not included here)- a typical Cat Tien guesthouse (comprising of six rooms)  
The fifth group are foreign tourists that come either alone or in small groups without a tour operator or motorbike rider. These people aim to visit the jungle and see wildlife. They normally stay a few nights and they visit the ethnic minority villages (see photo four), walk most of the trails and use park facilities. These groups respect park rules and do not disturb other groups.

The sixth group comprises of small groups (up to four) of foreign birdwatchers. These groups book long in advance and stay for weeks at a time. They use park facilities and normally take a guide along with them. These groups tend to pose no environmental threat and help the park update its wildlife records.

The seventh group is comprised of domestic and foreign tourists on a half or full day daytrip on their way from Ho Chi Minh City to Da Lat. Rarely do these groups make a reservation. They normally stay around the headquarters with some groups littering and others not.

Domestic or foreign researchers comprise the eighth group with regular visits from a few days to months at a time. This is coordinated with the park and they use park facilities, equipment, data and staff to aid their research. There is often a positive interaction with staff as it gives the staff a chance to learn from specialists, however there is sometimes a negative impact when too many specimens are taken or leave their traps in place in the forest.

The ninth and final group is groups of people (both small and large) that use the park for meetings and training. These groups coordinate with the park in advance but tend to have no interest in the environmental setting. They stay for between one night and many weeks, park facilities are used and they often disturb other visitors with their drinking and karaoke.

A change in visitor behaviour and visitor management has been acknowledged as being needed to stop the negative side effects of tourism. It has been suggested that a move to small-scale eco-tourism or nature-based tourism should be made to protect, maintain and restore the area (Becker & Tran, 2003).

Tourism development in CTNP aims to (CTNP, 1999):
  • Inform the general public about biodiversity and conservation in general and more specifically about lowland tropical rainforest ecosystems of Vietnam
  • Enable the general public to experience a ‘wilderness’ ecosystem
  • Enable the scientific community to conduct ecological and environmental research in CTNP
  • Provide economic opportunities for the human communities in the buffer zone of CTNP
CTNP (1999) conducted a SWOT analysis of CTNP in relation to tourism. The strengths it perceived were its motivated staff (see photo six), its important facilities already in place (see photo seven), and its good condition forest and wetland ecosystem (see photo eight for an example). The weaknesses it has are a limited trail network that needs constant maintenance, a lack of information materials in the park, a lack of experienced guides, a lack of English proficiency in the staff and a reluctance of staff to correct visitors who break the rules (for cultural reasons). Opportunities for the park are seen to be the growing number of visitors the park is getting and the large amount of assistance that the park receives from the WWF and the World Bank. The activity that threatens CTNP most is large groups visiting CTNP as these groups threaten the parks vulnerable ecosystems and place stress on the parks facilities and staff while disturbing other visitors. 
Photo Six (not included here)- Staff of CTNP

Photo Seven (not included here)- The Main Research Building of CTNP
Photo Eight (not included here)- Bau Sau (Crocodile Lake) Wetlands

Key Questions about the CTNPCP’s ability to Contribute to Sustainable Development

In the international literature on eco-tourism there are a series of questions that can be raised about any programs ability to contribute to sustainable development.

Most eco-tourists come from more developed countries (MDC’s) and as such they can lead to tourism operations being forced to cater for the tourists from MDC’s tastes and needs (Cater, 1994). This can place extra stress on the infrastructure and staff of a tourism operation in a Less Developed Country. IN CTNP however the vast majority of tourists are domestic and so therefore do not come with the expectation of being catered to like they are in their home country, as they are in their home country! The foreign tourists from MDC’s also tend to be seeking a more ‘authentic’ experience so they are normally far less demanding about being catered to like they are in their home country. However the development of some facilities the Vietnamese feel are desirable for tourism (such as a bridge over the Dong Nai River) are seen as undesirable by the CTNPCP as they would reduce control of and increase the already unsustainable numbers of tourists (Becker & Tran, 2003).

The United Nations world summit for sustainable development (UN, 2002) states that it is critical for sustainable development to be successfully implemented in the Asia Pacific region if sustainable development is to be successfully implemented globally. It also stated that biodiversity plays a critical role in overall sustainable development and is being lost at an unprecedented rate due to human activities. It states that local people need to benefit from the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity if biodiversity loss is to be reversed. CTNP aims to conserve biodiversity and it doing an effective job, this is despite the fact that only few locals benefit directly from this biodiversity conservation. Through properly implemented eco-tourism it would be possible for local people to begin to see direct benefits from the CTNPCP and this would probably increase the CTNPCP’s effectiveness even further.

This is also in line with the ICUN recommend, which is that local communities should see direct financial benefit from tourism so that they will be accepting of it (Eagles, Bowman & Tao, 2001). The employment of local people in any form in CTNP is poor however, as most high-level staff come from and are appointed by Hanoi (the capital). Canteen, maintenance and cleaning work is often done by overqualified and overworked staff, these jobs could be passed on to locals in need of employment giving more educated staff more time to conduct scientific and tourist work (Becker & Tran, 2003). Local markets do sell some produce to the park, motorbike riders do gain customers from the park and some local people received training as guides but they are seldom recruited (Ina Becker, pers. comm.).

The CTNPCP has run community developing activities such as fruit tree planting, developed SALT (sloping Agricultural Land Techniques) programs, re-establishing traditional weaving techniques in Ta Lai (all of which are alternative income techniques) (Management Board of CTNP, 2002). A difficulty with these alternative income programs has been that people have tended to treat these as extra income methods and have continued with their old activities that are less suitable to conservation also (Ina Becker, pers. comm.). Boundary re-demarcation, resettlement, high efficiency stoves, land reclamation at Bau Chim, tree planting and population surveys were all conducted to mitigate over population inside the parks boundaries (Management Board of CTNP, 2002).

Eagles, Bowman and Tao (2001) listed the disadvantages of non-sustainable tourism development, the advantages and the disadvantages of sustainable tourism development in protected areas. CTNP is experiencing many of the symptoms of non-sustainable tourism development listed, particularly those related to conservation (such as erosion, wildlife disruption, visitor pressure, pollution and the diverting of resources away from other management priorities). By comparing the list of advantages and disadvantages of sustainable tourism it is obvious that small scale tourism could take place in CTNP without any threat to the parks other management goals (such as biodiversity conservation) however it is equally obvious that the tourism that is taking place at this location is not sustainable or an advantage to CTNP. Another suggestion made was sufficient funding needs to be allocated for effective planning and management of protected areas, including tourism management. In CTNP the planning for this was conducted however these plans were never completely implemented. The only implementation from the plan was the construction of more guesthouses and an information centre for visitors, none of which was funded by the Vietnamese government (Becker & Tran, 2003). In fact funding for the conservation programs in CTNP is in short supply (Murphy, 2004), making revenue generated by tourism even more attractive.

The ICUN lists the potential benefits of tourism in protected areas, the negative impacts of human use of the environment and the environmental risks of tourism (Eagles, McCool & Haynes, 2002). A toolkit for visitor management was also included and it has been advised that CTNP begins to implement (Becker & Tran, 2003). In the CTNP Tourism Management Plan (CTNP, 1999) CTNP aimed to implement the following activities, many of which where later mentioned in the ICUN’s guidelines. The activities where:
  • Establish a Centre for Service, Eco-tourism and Environmental Education
  • Upgrade the existing tourism facilities including staff training
  • Zone the park for tourism purposes
  • Manage the number of visitors
  • Charge visitor entrance fees
  • Establish a maintenance program
Bushell (2000) described a series of principles of eco-tourism in practice. These were that the program:

i. Focuses on personally experiencing natural areas in ways that lead to greater appreciation and understanding

ii. Integrates opportunities to understand natural areas into each experience

iii. Represents best practice for ecologically sustainable tourism

iv. Positively contributes to the ongoing conservation of natural areas

v. Provides constructive ongoing contributions to local communities

vi. Is sensitive to, interprets and involves different cultures, particularly indigenous culture

vii. Consistently meets client expectations

viii. Has accurate marketing leading to realistic expectations

When CTNP is compared to these principles it shows that it achieves some of them and fails in other areas. In some areas the failure is due to poor tourism management and in other areas it is because that area is of less relevance. CTNP achieves the 1st, 2nd and 7th principles, achieves with more improvement possible the 4th principle, does not achieve the 5th principle even though it has a high chance of doing so if properly managed, does not achieve the 6th principle as there is not really a large difference between the ethnic majority and minorities (they are all traditionally shifting cultivators, and none have a particularly strong spiritual attachment to the land) and does not achieve the 8th principle as it seems to be marketed as a location for both small scale and mass tourism, which should not be the case as mass tourism is highly threatening to the park.

Assessment of CTNP’s value and effectiveness

In 2004 CTNP is at a crossroad, this is because at the start of the CTNPCP this year was decided to be the year that the WWF would withdraw. There is a high potential for eco-tourism to be a great aid to CTNP. Not only could it help aid the funding of CTNP’s conservation projects, it could aid the local population because (if managed appropriately) it has the potential to provide employment and economic benefits, if this occurs it would also mean that the local population would not have to exploit the forest so heavily, assisting CTNP with it’s conservation aims.

It has been noted that large tourist groups pose one of the greatest threats to CTNP, but that small-scale sustainable eco-tourism has a huge potential to positively contribute to CTNP (Becker & Tran, 2003 and CTNP, 1999). Becker and Tran (2003) proposed a solution to this problem of large mass-tourism groups besides a policy of exclusion. As the majority of visitors (the large mass-tourism groups mainly) want to see wildlife rather then experience the forest, possibly the Vietnamese government could begin to promote the zoo’s in the area rather then CTNP. Saigon Zoo even has an education program for schools (making it even more appropriate for the large groups of school children). Also the development of mass tourism and sporting facilities at CTNP should be halted (these was particular concern over the development of tennis courts and a swimming pool at CTNP head quarters). For people that want to experience these sorts of facilities and activities perhaps Vinh Cuu would be able to be publicly or privately developed into an amusement park (this style of development has proven to be extremely popular in Vietnam, for example the Suoi Tien amusement park).

It has been shown that while CTNP has great potential as an eco-tourism project focusing on conservation and sustainable development, this is not occurring. Tourism is uncontrolled, occurring at unsustainable levels, which is not in line with CTNP’s main objectives. Policies, plans and suggestions have been made how to convert this program into a sustainable one but these have not been implemented or adhered to. Without a change of policy regarding tourism in CTNP the future looks bleak for the whole conservation project.

Becker, I. (2004) How to get to CAT TIEN National Park [On-Line] Available: http://www.blakup.demon.nl/cat_tien/travel.htm  
Becker, I. & Tran Van Mui (2003, March). Vietnam’s Cat Tien National Park in Need of Sustainable Nature Based Tourism. Paper presented at the Tiger in the Forest: Sustainable nature based tourism in Southeast Asia symposium, New York, The United States of America.  
Butler, R. (1991). Tourism, Environment and Sustainable Development. Environmental Conservation, 18 (3), 201-209.

Bushell, R. (2000, October). The Place of Ecotourism, With Particular Reference to Australia. Paper presented at The Geography of Tourism with NSW Department of Education and Training, Tourism NSW, NSW Parks and Wildlife Service, Sydney, Australia.  
Cater, E. (1994) Ecotourism a Sustainable Option? In Cater, E. and Lowman G. (eds) Ecotourism in the Third World: Problems and Prospects for Sustainability, 69-86. Chichester: John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

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Eagles, P., Bowman, M. & Tao, T. (2001) Guidelines for Tourism in Parks and Protected Areas of East Asia. IUCN- The World Conservation Union.

Eagle, P., McCool, S. & Haynes, C. (2002) Sustainable Tourism in Protected Areas: Guidelines for planning and management, IUCN Gland, Switzerland and Cambridge, UK.

European Communities. (1993) Towards Sustainability, Official Journal of the European Communities, No C 138/5.

IUCN (2003) WPC Recommendation, Tourism as a Tool for Conservation and Support of Protected Areas. World Parks Congress: Benefits Beyond Boundaries, Durban.

Management Board Cat Tien National Park (2003). Conservation Management and Operational Plan 2003-2008. Cat Tien National Park, Dong Nai, Lam Dong and Binh Phuoc Provinces- Vietnam.

Murphy, D. (2004). An Evaluation of Habitat and Species Management Activities in Cat Tien National Park, Vietnam. Technical Report 49- Cat Tien National Park Conservation Project- Vietnam.

Polet, G. (2003). Co-Management in Protected Area Management; the case of Cat Tien National Park- Southern Vietnam. In Persoon, G., van Est, D. & Sajise, P. (eds) Co-management of Natural Resources in Asia: a Comparative Perspective. Nordic Institute of Asian Studies, Copenhagen, Denmark.

Polet, G., Do, V. & Nguyen, V. (2003). Monitoring and Evaluation of Human Population in the Bufferzone of Cat Tien National Park- Vietnam. Technical Report 45- Cat Tien National Park Conservation Project- Vietnam.

Polet, G. & Tran, V. (2003). Developing the Capacity to Manage Protected Areas, the case of Cat Tien National Park- Vietnam. In Carabias, J. & Kishore, R. (eds) Capacity Needs to Manage Protected Areas Asia. The Nature Conservancy, Arlington, The United States of America.

United Nations (UN). (2002). Report of the World Summit on Sustainable Development, Johannesburg, South Africa.

Wells, P. (1999). Rapid Assessment of Law Enforcement and Park Protection in the Cat Tien National Park- Vietnam. Technical Report 9- Cat Tien National Park Conservation Project- Vietnam.

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