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International visitors provide insight into global challenges surrounding forest management

Last week, White Mountain National Forest hosted representatives of government and nongovernmental organizations from Vietnam. The visit was arranged as part of Quebec Labrador Foundation’s Southeast Asia Conservation Exchange Program with Viet Nature. The idea was to exchange information about public/private partnerships in biodiversity conservation, as well as the opportunities and challenges surrounding such partnerships.

Forest employees provided an overview of the Forest Service mission and structure, as well as the agency’s place within government, forest planning, experimental forests and associated research, and sustainable forest management. The visitors were very interested in forest planning and approaches to zoning, or land management allocation, on the forest. In contrast, land management in Vietnam is divided by protected area management, forestry and development.

The visitors were also interested in our support and influence on private forestry, wildlife management and climate impacts. Discussions centered around several topics, including challenges in wildlife management; for example, Vietnam has a problem with wildlife poaching. Other topics included the

Forest Supervisor Tom Wagner spoke about the history of White Mountain National Forest, key partnerships and business practices that help sustain the forest infrastructure and management and other topics, before leading a tour of the forest headquarters and its LEED design features. Participants in the exchange left with a greater appreciation for global challenges to conservation.

Representatives of government and nongovernmental organizations from Vietnam pose for a group photo in the lobby of the White Mountain National Forest Visitor Center.
Representatives of government and nongovernmental organizations from Vietnam pose for a group photo in the lobby of the White Mountain National Forest Visitor Center.