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Abstract

This paper examines the process of implementing land privatization and its effects on household livelihoods in the Uplands of Vietnam. The research was undertaken with three upland villages situated in the buffer zone of Cat Tien National Park in the southern uplands of Vietnam where have recently been adopted a land privatization program according to the 1993 Land Law and some other frontier development programs, such as nature conservation, remotely mountainous community development programs supported by the central government. Such policies and programs have ultimately aimed at improving both upland livelihoods and environmental sustainability of the uplands, simultaneously. The research demonstrates unequivocally that though the land privatization throughout the nationwide has been guided by the unique legal framework, the implementation of land privatization in the uplands, particularly in the buffer zone communities locating around the protected areas has resulted in the notable divergence across communities, even households. The differences in the result of implementing land privatization in the upland communities were mainly caused by different factors embodied in both land legislation and local practices. Unsurprisingly, the divergence of implementing land privatization among communities and households has actually created differentiation in distributing benefits of land privatization among communities and households. In fact, the empirical findings suggest that land privatization (land titling) served only as initial conditions while households´ initial assets play as the determinants factors which determine how households transfer their land title into material benefits. The empirical investigations also suggest that together with land privatization, market liberalization, the government's programs for socio- economic development and nature conservation have strongly influenced on the southern upland livelihoods. Differences in the results of land privatization, households´ initial assets ownership as well benefits from such programs which have been enable households to pursue different patterns and tendencies in livelihood makings. In other words, distributing benefits from land privatization and other government's programs was not equal among households and the ways in which households diversified their livelihoods, differently.

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