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Vientiane province sets example in sustainable rattan management

Vientiane province sets example in sustainable rattan management
Vientiane Times, 13 May 2010
A project run in Vientiane province has improved sustainable
management of rattan resources and helped protect vulnerable species
of the plant.
A sustainable rattan management model has been implemented in three
villages of Meuangfeuang district, an official from the Vientiane
provincial Forestry and Agriculture Department, Mr Misaen
Sorsisanavong, said yesterday.
“If we hadn't introduced measures to protect rattan, some species
would be close to extinction in the province by now,” he said.
Under the project, villagers are not prohibited from harvesting rattan
but must obtain permission to do so.
Village authorities continually monitor local rattan resources and
allocate areas where villagers can harvest the plant.
Mr Misaen said that once an area is partially cleared the local
authorities allocate a new area for villagers to harvest.
“Cleared areas are left to regenerate for many years to ensure
sustainable use of the plant,” he said.
According to the Forestry Research Centre under the Ministry of
Agriculture and Forestry, there are 32 species of rattan in Laos.
However some species are threatened in many areas of the country,
especially Thoun rattan, due to unsustainable harvesting practices and
high demand from domestic and international markets.
Thoun rattan, known locally as vai thoun, is close to extinction in
Laos. “Despite dwindling supplies and rising prices, manufacturers of
rattan-based goods continue to plunder rattan resources in Laos,” Mr
Misaen said.
“We hope using this model of sustainable management will allow local
people to continue to use the plant for their traditional activities
and also provide a reliable and sustainable supply for producers of
rattan-based goods.”
Mr Misaen said the project had also distributed rattan saplings to
villagers to cultivate, to deter them from cutting down wild rattan
People in rural areas of Laos like to gather and eat the fruit of the
rattan, which they also sell in markets for about 5,000 kip per piece.
Those who know that the remainder of the plant can be sold to
factories do so, but those who don't throw away the plant after
collecting the fruit.
Rattan grows abundantly in Borikhamxay, Khammuan and Vientiane
Factories in those areas export goods made from rattan to markets in
Europe and Asia. Both Vietnam and Thailand import raw rattan from
Laos, according to Mr Misaen.

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