Bright Peaks, Dark Valleys: A Comparative Analysis of Environmental and Social Conditions and Development Trends in Five Communities in Vietnam's Northern Mountain Region

by Le Trong Cuc and A. Terry Rambo (eds.)

Publisher: Ha Noi: The National Political Publishing House
Available From: The National Political Publishing House
Publication Date: 2001
Binding: print-on-demand















This is the final report of the CRES Upland Working Group's Project on Monitoring Development Trends in Vietnam's Northern Mountain Region ("NMR"). The NMR covers a vast area stretching from Vietnam's border with China in the north, to the southern boundary of Nghe An Province in the central region. It is the home of many of Vietnam's ethnic minorities and contains a disproportionate share of the country's poorest communities. It is thus the focus of developmental concern of the Communist Party and the Government of Vietnam, as well as many international development assistance agencies.



The project was designed to generate detailed empirical data on environmental and social conditions in a sample of communities representing some of the human ecological diversity of the northern mountains. The data were collected in order to create a firm baseline against which to measure future changes in these communities so as to allow monitoring of development trends in future years in the NMR.



This report provides a comparative assessment of environmental and social conditions in the five communities for which case studies were completed during the first phase of project field research. In contrast to the case study reports, which are massive compendia of empirical data on specific sites, this report is comparative and analytical.



It seeks to:




  • Display the range of variation in environmental and social conditions in communities in the NMR


  • Explore interrelationships among key environmental and social variables as these effect the development status of upland communities


  • Identify key processes of environmental and social change at work in the NMR


  • Examine the implications for upland development policies of current development trends