Environmental perceptions, traditional ecological knowledge and land use change in Vietnams northern uplands
My research explores the relationships between land use land cover (LULC) change and local perceptions of natural resources (built on traditional ecological knowledge) in Lào Cai Province, Vietnam. Vietnams mountainous uplands are home to over 5.2 million ethnic minority individuals, yet there is little research on their land use decision-making processes. How policy interacts with immediate needs, such as water and food supply, to bring about certain land use changes remains poorly understood. Using satellite images, I will map LULC change to determine regional patterns and to select 3 sites that encapsulate trends in LULC transition. I will complete 3.5 months fieldwork to understand the human decisions driving the observed land use changes in these locations, using qualitative methods including semi-structured interviewsand cognitive mapping exercises. I will develop policy recommendations and share these with Vietnam National University academics and their Lào Cai colleagues to bring ethnic minority decision making and knowledge more central to debates over perceptions of rural land use management and policy directions.