Illegal Logging in Vietnam: Lam Tac (Forest Hijackers) in Practice and Talk

Resources, Environment and Development Group

Event details

RE&D Research Seminar

Date & time

Thursday 12 July 2012


Coombs Seminar Room C, Coombs Building, Fellows Road, ANU


Phuc Xuan To


Dr. Colin Filer
6125 3039
This seminar examines the political economy of illegal logging through a case study from Vietnam. Using commodity chain analysis, my research examines the extraction and trade of a high-value timber species in the context of national-level debates about illegal logging, corruption and the role of the state. The findings suggest that central government concerns over authority and public discussions about corruption inform the criminalization of logging. However, criminalization in turn provides grounds for powerful wholesalers, timber brokers and government officials to engage in and control the timber business. The paper concludes that these fraught interactions between local political economy and national politics may be a more general dynamic of illegal logging. A singular focus on law enforcement may therefore serve neither local livelihoods nor forest protection in areas with small-scale extraction.

Phuc Xuan To is a Research Associate with the Resource Management in Asia-Pacific Program, under the new ARC project ‘The Political Ecology of Forest Carbon: mainland Southeast Asia’s new commodity frontier?Ÿ? He has worked for several years as the Southeast Asia Analyst for the Forest Trade and Finance Program of Forest Trends Association, based in Hanoi, Vietnam. He received his doctoral degree in Geography at Humboldt University in Berlin in 2007, where he also worked as a junior researcher at the Research Group on Post-socialist Land Relations. His dissertation examined the political economy of the forest sector in Vietnam, with particular attention to the dynamics of access and control over forestland and forest resources. From 2007 to 2009, Phuc was a Post-Doctoral Fellow with the Anthropology Department at the University of Toronto, where he was involved in the ’ Challenges of Agrarian Transitions in Southeast AsiaŸ? (ChATSEA) project. Phuc’s recent work has focused on the study of PES/REDD+ with a particular focus on benefit distribution systems, and timber markets in Vietnam and the lower Mekong region.

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