Productions of Space, Power and Desire at Cuc Phuong National Park, Vietnam

Wen Zhou


Based on fieldwork conducted during April 2008 and May 2009, this paper considers the establishment of a "buffer zone" in Vietnam's Cuc Phuong National Park. My research reveals a wide gap between intent and practice in the space of Cuc Phuong, indicating the difficulty of reconciling local interests with imposed conservation agendas. While some villagers relocated to or outside of the buffer zone continue to practice newly illegal activities, many, especially those closely affiliated with the park service, have transformed their relationships to the natural environment, developing lifestyles that better align with conservation goals. Increased connectivity between urban centers and rural areas surrounding Cuc Phuong National Park, however, has presented serious challenges as the promises of economic development threaten any commitment to conservation on the part of the government or villagers.

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