Photo via Flickr user manhhai. They also wanted to kill off the agricultural crops that fed the Viet Cong (as well as local civilians). Also known as the Sacred Fig, the Bodhi is recognizable by its heart-shaped leaves, its distinctive canopy which flares out horizontally, and the multiple vines which grow around its thick trunk like veins. In some cases, such as rubber, independent foreign companies and individuals, rather than the government directly, controlled commodities, with the profits spilling over in the form of taxes and tariffs in return for financing and favorable land deals. After glancing at topographical maps on his wall, he stood, pushed open his office door, and walked through a courtyard toward the Vinh Cuu reserve’s front gate. The International Union for Conservation of Nature said in 1998 that a “long period of selective logging” had reduced Vietnam’s Hopea odorata stock to “small groups of trees or isolated individuals.” The Viet Nam News reported this month that illegal logging was so rampant in 2010 that four forest rangers had been killed and 44 injured trying to stop it.Hopea odorata is a species in the Dipterocarp genus, a family of large tropical hardwoods native to the lowland forests of Southeast Asia. On the one side are those who would replace the lost forests with acacia and eucalyptus plantations — alien, monocultural forms of regeneration that supply abundant wood products but support little biodiversity. Menu. Inside the home of a plantation operator. Mike Ives is a Hong Kong-based journalist who previously covered Vietnam for The Economist and The New York Times. The road turned to clay and snaked into a dense bamboo canopy. Your donation will help restore Vietnam’s forests, protect threatened species, regulate climate, provide economic stability for villagers, and safeguard watersheds that serve local communities. In 1943, Vietnam used to possess more than 400 000 ha of mangroves. While treatment at the hands of colonial exploiters sets an exceedingly low bar that is easily surpassed today, the work remains physically demanding and dangerous, with risks from snakes and insects, as well chemical poisoning during processing. Natives were forced to harvest latex from trees growing naturally in the forest. This, according to National Geographic Society explorer Wade Davis, transformed rubber "from a curiosity to a fundamental component of the industrial age.". Rubber trees at Xuan Loc sabotaged by the Vietcong. Notably, the Vietnamese government scientists interviewed for this article suggest that Hopea and other native species should not only promote biodiversity, but supply Vietnam’s domestic timber market and $2.8 billion-per-year furniture export industry. Thanks to improved technology, partly developed to fuel the massive military machines involved in World War II, they were quickly able to surpass previous output, with plantations in Cambodia and Vietnam hitting a combined 75,0000 tons annually. The French defeat at Dien Bien Phu and subsequent national partitioning did little to stabilize conditions on the rubber plantations. ), “The idea is to have other things in the system so the grower has an opportunity to maintain an income in the five-to-thirty year period,” Beadle said. The National Coordinators of Vietnam Veterans Against the War once wrote: “We supposedly valued human life while our enemy did not. However, most of it got wiped off and got reduced to 155 000 ha in 2006 because of the war. No longer seen as a source of income, American actions hastened rubber's demise. This list may not reflect recent changes (). In doing so, however, individuals and small communities, often living on the margins of society, miss opportunities for economic independence and security, instead placing themselves at the mercy of large bureaucracies. Binh claims it was rare for a week to pass without someone being crushed by a tree, while broken limbs were commonplace. In the 1960s, the tropical forests were destroyed through the slash-and-burn method as well as deforestation. Photo via Flickr user manhhai. Working conditions on Vietnamese rubber plantations demand consideration as well. Moreover, in the near-term, the trade war between China and the US threatens to further depress Vietnam’s rubber profits. Reforestation and sustainable forestry is supported by the regional authorities, … He said that the reserve’s effort to spur villages to replant native tree species has faced some resistance. An early Mesoamerican game played with a rubber ball before the arrival of the Europeans. A nose-dive in natural rubber production because of the blight would certainly have a calamitous effect on aviation, shipping and transportation, rippling across all aspects of modern-day life. They could easily slip in and out to wreak havoc while also traveling into and through areas their more mechanized foes could not. Thirty-five years after North Vietnamese tanks entered Ho Chi Minh City — formerly Saigon — and four decades after U.S. forces destroyed ordamaged large swaths of Vietnamese forest with bombs and defoliants, this landscape is a window into Vietnam’s struggle to regenerate its once-abundant forests. The Micheline Plantation described them as "often depraved (opium addicts, public girls, lazy) having only an idea: desert to go to Cholon.". • A former UPI war correspondent remembers Errol Flynn's son and the photos he naively took. Colonial officials knew it was in their best interest to present the region as uninhabited, and thus free for the taking. And while French plantations vanished in favor of state-owned enterprises after 1975, the battle between large operations and smaller family- or community-run operations continues. Souvenirs of torture in Vietnam. The development allowed the colonial government to exert political and social influence in the region, which partly explains their preference for large foreign plantations as opposed to smaller-scale operations run by Vietnamese. During the Vietnam War, U.S. forces sprayed 72 million liters of herbicides, including Agent Orange, on the Vietnamese countryside and dropped roughly 13 million tons of bombs, according to Jakarta-based forestry expert Chris Lang. A retired US Marine has shared the extraordinary story of how he travelled from New York to Vietnam during the Vietnam War to deliver beers to friends serving in the US Army. 1964 was a key year in the Vietnam War. The forests of Vietnam can be divided into two broad categories: evergreen forests, which include conifers, and deciduous forests. As Vietnam cultivates its own expertise and experience, companies have increasingly looked beyond the borders to Laos and Cambodia to establish plantations. In the war of resistance against the French, the tree became a secret bunker to shelter guerrillas. Vietnam is one of the countries to which the Bodhi … Editor's note: Happy April Fools' Day! These native stands of trees have been badly decimated not only in Vietnam but across all of Southeast Asia. Although the Dipterocarp forests of Southeast Asia support a “substantial proportion of the world’s biodiversity,” they are “among the fastest disappearing in the world,” according to Switzerland-based researcher Chris Kettle. Venomous snakes. A rubber plantation in Bien Hoa, 1964. Horrific crimes against humanity accompanied the wealth. this way- the stone lets me go. A landmark 1998 decree set a goal of restoring Vietnam’s forest cover to 1940s levels by 2010 through planting 5 million hectares (19,300 square miles) of trees — 2 million for reserves and 3 million for wood production. In the case of Hopea odorata, he said, unless the tree is planted with acacia at a special density ratio — 600 hopea trees and 1,000 acacia trees per hectare — shade from the acacias stunts the hopeas. But proponents of reintroducing native tree species face resistance from a timber industry that favors fast-growing exotics like acacia. In Vietnam, where 25 million people depend on forest products for subsistence, that higher price makes a difference: Many Vietnamese villagers prefer to plant acacia, which they sell to domestic paper mills. We've heard the negatives about this movie, and most of them are basically correct but there are a few things to say that, if not positive, put the movie in a less negative light. Vietnamese soldiers have been searching two hamlets on the outskirts of the Vietnamese capital for at least 18 unexploded bombs dropped by a U.S. B-52 bomber in December 1972, during the late American President Richard Nixon's Christmas bombing offensive. The Americans sought to defoliate the trees and bushes, so that enemy soldiers would be exposed. In Brunei, a study has shown that acacias convert disturbed forests into “nearly mono-specific stands.”, Boi, now 70 and semi-retired from Vietnam’s Forest Inventory and Planning Institute, hopes that as trees like Hopea odorata are planted across central and southern Vietnam in coming decades, stands of Australian trees will gradually yield to healthy native forests. It's worth noting that whatever disregard the American military held for rubber holdings, it was worse for Vietnamese people. As Big Energy Gains, Can Europe’s Community Renewables Compete? Dec 25, 2013 - Transporting the Christmas tree in Saigon, 1970 In his expansive book, Rubber and the Making of Vietnam, historian Michitake Aso goes into great detail about that process and its particulars, of which this article provides a shallow overview. Our consumer-centric commodification of nature may soon lead to an inhospitable planet, to say nothing of the suffering of our fellow humans along the way. Founded in 1995 by Danaan Parry and Jerilyn Brusseau — whose brother, U.S. Army helicopter pilot Lt. Daniel Cheney, was shot down and killed during the Vietnam War in 1969 — PeaceTrees Vietnam is a shining example to the world of how tragedy and conflict can be transformed into peace and partnership. From tires to sandals to medical instruments, rubber is a ubiquitous part of the modern experience, yet few people know much about its origins or the complex, exceedingly violent history that accompanied its ascension to one of the world’s most important commodities. In line with the thinking of the time, colonial officials had little interest in researching or developing native plants such as fruit and rice that locals were proficient in harvesting, and instead looked to use land for foreign botanicals. But at the moment, he said, “biodiversity isn’t good there — there are no birds or wildlife.”. The new government, however, chose to operate the industry in accordance with colonial structures that showed little concern for workers and gave preferences to the large foreign companies that remained. As of 2018, Vietnam is the world’s third-largest producer and exporter of rubber, boasting shipments of 1.58 million tons, worth over US$2.1 billion, a 14.5% increase in volume over the previous year. Unlike native Dipterocarps, acacias block indigenous trees, shrubs, and lianas (woody vines) from growing underneath them, which eliminates the habitat of native insects, vertebrates and fungi; reduce biodiversity; and lead to species extinction. They paid bribes and ransoms to insurgent forces while requesting help and providing support to the southern government. So in addition to places of rebellion, the rubber plantations became sites of sabotage and death, as well as safe havens, way stations and valuable supply caches. Rather than the wholly inadequate health services offered to people uprooted from their homelands, companies attributed the abysmal health to the "primitive lifestyle of Annam people when it comes to hygiene and their attitude to disease.". They requested protection to keep their interests safe. Mui sat under a portrait of former Vietnamese President Ho Chi Minh. At the end of the film, the ghosts of abused workers rise from the earth to enact their revenge on their villainous overseers. Boi and others have long realized that importing Australian exotics was just a partial solution. In addition to the environmental impact of rubber production, the industry still faces the risk of the South American Leaf Blight arriving and devastating plantations. The Ben Hai river region, where the acacia forests are situated, was heavily destroyed during the Vietnam War and is therefore in need of further development. It quickly ravaged entire crops, dooming the project. Pages in category "Trees of Vietnam" The following 200 pages are in this category, out of approximately 222 total. "Every day one was worn down a bit more, cheeks sunken, teeth gone crooked, eyes hollow with dark circles around them, clothes hanging from collarbones. But while the CIA recognized that rubber was of the utmost importance, they levied numerous criticisms and presented a pessimistic evaluation of the industry: under the southern government, the sector was unable to properly grow and adapt to the increased competition posed by synthetic alternatives; revolutionaries would continue to use plantations for recruitment and cover as well as economically devastating attacks; and French companies, which produced up to 90% of exported rubber, ultimately may pull out due to declining global prices, continued insurgent harassment and lack of support from the government. Photo via Phnom Penh Post. Hopea seedlings require two years in the nursery — about 20 months more than acacia seedlings — and are 5 to 10 times more expensive. Despite this financial success, rubber plantations were becoming increasingly dangerous places, as political hostilities festered. Vietnam – good growing conditions for acacia trees. It was fought between North Vietnam and South Vietnam. In the Rather than the previously offered idea that the parasite can’t take hold in Vietnam’s ecosystem, it is possible that the geographic distance that has so far kept it out, but experts are not quite sure why an outbreak hasn't occurred here yet. A rubber boom in the late 19th and early 20th centuries resulted in enormous colonial plantations and collection efforts in South and Central America, Sri Lanka, Malaysia and Africa. In addition to the general funds it brings to the country, the rubber industry is quick to point to the way in which a commodity positively impacts the lives of people, especially ethnic minorities and those in rural locations. While the French did eventually station troops at some locations, often to meet their own means of launching military maneuvers, they also refused to guard others, which necessitated their abandonment. 4:00 a.m. RSS. Agent Orange An herbicide dropped on the forests and bush in Vietnam to defoliate (strip the leaves from plants and trees) an area. “Now I’d like to return to natural forests. This is cause for major concern in Vietnam, as the nation exports 80% of the latex it produces. Photo via Bao Moi. The only sound in the dusty parking lot was of birds chirping. Colonial opinions were not much more united. And most of them are poor, so planting acacia is easier.”. Agent Orange is a herbicide and defoliant chemical, one of the "tactical use" Rainbow Herbicides.It is widely known for its use by the U.S. military as part of its chemical warfare program, Operation Ranch Hand, during the Vietnam War from 1961 to 1971. This article was part of Saigoneer's 2019 April Fools' Day celebration. Two cans were mounted on trees along either side of a path. A third one kneels behind the sandbags, forlornly holding an empty helmet in her hand. Download Vietnam palm tree stock photos. Category:Trees of Vietnam. Hopea logs were made into canoe-like boats that once ferried rice and coal around southern Vietnam’s Mekong Delta. Rubber plantations provide evidence of some of the worst abuses of natives at the hands of the French, while later serving numerous purposes for a range of private and public actors. The Viet Minh successfully used them as examples of colonial exploitation and placed them at the center of propaganda campaigns while recruiting among their workforce. Therefore, rubber plantations occupied a formidable role in the political structures, aims and experiences of indigenous resistance that would manifest itself in the nation’s subsequent wars with France and the United States. In 1761, amateur American inventor Charles Goodyear accidentally discovered vulcanization by adding pressure, heat and sulfur to natural rubber, which made the compound’s chemical bonds simultaneously stronger and more elastic. That, sadly, is not reality. Communist activists saw great potential among the workforce and actively infiltrated ranks to gain supporters, form unions and instigate strikes arguing for better wages and treatment. Many Vietnam veterans who had been exposed to Agent Orange during the war have shown an increased risk of cancer. Despite these challenges, Vietnamese growers are planting Hopea odorata and other native Dipterocarps on small scales. In a trend eerily reminiscent of colonial activities, these corporations are rarely snatching up unoccupied lands; instead, they force ethnic minorities to relocate, often through illegal or immoral means. At best they were spoken to like subservient children unable to care for themselves, and at worst, categorized as depraved sub-humans prone to a multitude of moral ills including gambling and dishonesty. Agent Orange An herbicide dropped on the forests and bush in Vietnam to defoliate (strip the leaves from plants and trees) an area. Rising sea levels threaten key coastal areas like the Mekong Delta, which produces the majority of Vietnam’s rice. In Vietnam, much of the damage has already been done, and people are left to lament what has already been lost. Everyone appeared almost dead, and in fact in the end about all did die." Rubber also plays a role in carbon emissions, in regards to both the trees and the energy needed for latex processing and transport. “The American army used planes to kill our forests,” said Tran Van Mui, director of the Vinh Cuu Nature Reserve, which since 2009 has promoted a $1.5 million program of native tree reintroduction among villagers. The vietnam war Pictures That Moved Them Most While the Vietnam War raged — roughly two decades’ worth of bloody and world-changing years — compelling images … With large swaths of forest destroyed by wartime defoliants, and even larger areas lost to post-war logging, Vietnam has set an ambitious goal for regenerating its woodlands. Attempting to land a plane with synthetic tires would put all cargo and passengers at great risk every flight. In truth, numerous quasi-nomadic ethnic minorities, such as the Stieng, lived on the land. Beatings and rapes accompanied lesser forms of torture, including meager wages and insufficient food. Companies and private individuals faced a back-and-forth with government officials. Serious allegations of trafficking and slavery abound. Saigoneer will never see coffee the same way again. An average tapper was expected to cut between 300 and 600 trees a day. The tree — “Sao Den,” or “black star,” in Vietnamese — was popular in traditional Vietnamese economies because it resists termites. Work was no easier once the rubber trees became seven years old and their latex could be harvested. The kitchen is the heart of a home. Heartbreak Grass, Flame Lillies, Twisted Cord Flowers, and Bark Cloth Trees are all powerful enough to kill a human or cause blindness upon contact or accidental ingestion, which is more common than one might think. Bring that flamethrower back over here. Jun. Migrants in Tonkin bound for southern plantations. “That’s what you have to do to meet the needs of the rural poor.”. American troops fighting among rubber trees. Series Vietnam: A Television History Title. Can Geothermal Power Play a Key Role in the Energy Transition? This is a work of fiction. From over 60,000 tons produced annually to virtually none, the industry fell into disarray. Conflicts brewed as competing forces with opposing ideologies turned to them with different aims. When America ramped up its presence, it mostly picked up where the departing French left off. When displaced to new land they are unfamiliar with, the people struggle to adapt their traditional ways of life and agriculture, as depicted in the short film, Rubber in a Rice Bowl and Rubber Barons: Growing rubber on an industrial scale can devastate natural environments. Vietnam’s forest recovery efforts have been driven in part by Phung Tuu Boi, a forester who experimented with various regeneration projects after the war. Terms and Slang . The cramped barracks consisting of little more than wood floors and sheet metal roofs made even leisure time insufferable. More about Mike Ives →, Never miss a feature! by Perry Deane Young. This cruel reality seemed to matter little to the colonial overseers, who viewed the workers as expendable. If high taxes, cumbersome regulations and lack of protection were to lead the French to divest, the Americans argued that the southern government would be unable to take over operations thanks to limited experience and knowledge, as well as military resources. We should fear such a comeuppance. By the time the Americans fled in defeat, the rubber fields had suffered great damage, and the people living in their proximity were filled with toxic chemicals whose effects would continue to be felt for decades to come. Starting in 1943, large estates began to occupy a much larger percentage of rubber-producing lands, peaking at 82% in 1970. There are more than 1,500 species of woody plants in the country, ranging from commercially important hardwoods, such as ebony and teak, to palms, mangroves, and bamboos. 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