grantees » Van Tiep Tran

Van Tiep Tran, Vietnam

Tiep is a Vietnamese scientific specialist from the Ninh Thuan province in Vietnam. He is the Head of the Technical and Scientific Department of the Nui Chua National Park in his native area. He started working in sustainable development when he realized that there is a powerful link between the forest and the communities which live within it, and many activities can strengthen both the people’s livelihood and the protection of biodiversity. He is wholeheartedly dedicated:  “My office is the national park!” Tiep is responsible for organizing and implementing non-timber forest products (NTFPs) projects to work with the Raglai and Cham tribes living in the forest. NTFPs allow people to gain economically from the products of the forest without the harvest of trees, such as honey, syrup, medicinal plants, etc., and encourage a sustainable relationship with nature.  Notably, Tiep has helped the local people to re-forest 300 hectares to be used for NTFPs.

Together with his colleague Van Xiem Phan, Tiep used the JWH initiative grant to follow two international internships to study others’ methods for forest conservation. In India, he worked with the Keystone Foundation, where he learnt about bee-keeping and the management and restoration of traditional medicinal plants. “Our experience with Keystone definitely helped open our minds”. In the Phillipines, he worked with NTFP Exchange Program, and learnt best practices for eco-tourism, which will greatly help the eco-tourist centre at the Nui Chua National Park. The trips served to invigorate his confidence and knowledge: “Biodiversity conservation can undoubtedly go with community development using the NTFP approach.” He also followed an intensive English course, which allowed him a greater communication with international partners and access to international case studies. 

Immediately upon his return, he held a workshop to disseminate all that he’d learnt. He recruited over 140 households and several commune officials throughout the various villages in the Nui Chua Park, established 8 teams to protect the forest and several pilots to test new NTFPs.  Overall, he’s learnt about greater possibilities and innovations, and also has new networks within which his organization will continue to grow.