Vietnam Eyes Global Markets as Bold Forest Vision Takes Shape!

The Vietnamese Government is rapidly expanding PEFC and FSC certification, setting a target of 3 million hectares of certified forest area by 2030.

Tue 27 Feb 24


Vietnam has planted more than 770 million trees over the past three years alone, with more than 490 million trees scheduled for planting over the next two years.

The plan will see Vietnam double its productive forests from 500,000 to 1 million hectares over the next six years. The Vietnamese government is now turning to tax concessions, reviewing the land reserves and small-sized timber forests that are eligible for development, and promoting sustainable forest management and forest certification to drive a forest economy.

However, plans for further plantings could be under threat as local government authorities push for agricultural conversion rather than afforestation, according to a new report in the Saigon news.

Announced by newly elected Prime Minister Phạm Minh Chính in April 2021, Vietnam launched an ambitious plan to plant one billion additional trees over the 2021 to 2025 period, with 69% allocated for urban and rural areas and 31% for protective and natural forests.

It comes as Wood Central reported last month that Vietnam, one of ASEAN’s top-performing economies, is looking to forest-based assets to supercharge its green economy.

Already, the program has seen Vietnam boost its forest cover to 42%, growing its “certified forest area” to more than 465,000 hectares.

The push to grow the country’s productive forests comes amid mounting pressure for the government to reduce heavy reliance on imported “at risk” hardwood species. As it stands, more than 6 million cubic metres of timbers are imported from over 100 countries annually, manufactured into furniture and sold into global markets.

To achieve this, it must substantially increase the level of forests certified to either PEFC or FSC – with the government targeting up to 3 million certified hectares by 2030  – a rapid escalation from pre-2020 levels.

In 2019, the government established a new Vietnam Forest Certification Office (VFCO) – and in 2021, it successfully achieved PEFC international endorsement for its national standard.

“It’s been a worthwhile process, and we are proud to have our national forest certification system endorsed by PEFC,” according to Dr. Bui Chinh Nghia, Chairman of VFCO.

According to Ha Cong Tuan, Vietnam’s former Agriculture and Rural Development deputy minister, the “goal is to significantly increase the number of certified (PEFC and FSC) hectares in Vietnam.”

“Sustainable forest management is a key focus of the Vietnamese government. We are prioritizing sustainable forest management by international practices to increase the certified forest area by 2030,” according to former Deputy Minister Ha Cong Tuan, who spoke at the launch of the VFCO in Hanoi in March 2019.

Vietnam – one of the world’s largest manufacturers of furniture and rubber – is under pressure to speed up targets for PEFC and FSC certification in the wake of the EU Deforestation Regulation and the US Lacey Act. 

By the numbers, more than 30% of furniture sold into the US market comes from a Vietnamese supply chain, with the US government pushing Vietnam to do more to tackle illegal timbers entering its supply chains.

In recent years, experts have pushed the government to focus on building the capacity of micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) and domestic plantations operated mainly by smallholders.

In April, Wood Central reported that Vietnam produces more than 20 million cubic metres of plantation timber annually. However, Vietnamese-grown wood is often sold into the woodchip market rather than used in the country’s furniture supply chains.


  • Jason Ross

    Jason Ross, publisher, is a 15-year professional in building and construction, connecting with more than 400 specifiers. A Gottstein Fellowship recipient, he is passionate about growing the market for wood-based information. Jason is Wood Central's in-house emcee and is available for corporate host and MC services.


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