It notes that Vietnam produced the fifth-most rubber in the world at the time, tallying US$33.5 million in profits, of which US$13.4 million went to the government, accounting for 57% of the nation’s foreign earnings. Intrigued by latex, European explorers quickly imported it from the Americas, but the long ocean voyage revealed a critical flaw in the raw good: when it becomes too cold it cracks; when too warm, it melts. “The American army used planes to kill our forests,” said Tran Van Mui, director of the Vinh Cuu Nature Reserve, which since 2009 has promoted a $1.5 million program of native tree reintroduction among villagers. Photo via Flickr user manhhai. Natives were forced to harvest latex from trees growing naturally in the forest. Unlike native Dipterocarps, acacias block indigenous trees, shrubs, and lianas (woody vines) from growing underneath them, which eliminates the habitat of native insects, vertebrates and fungi; reduce biodiversity; and lead to species extinction. “Now I’d like to return to natural forests. Conflicts brewed as competing forces with opposing ideologies turned to them with different aims. This hasn’t stopped officials around the world from attempting to classify plantations as "forests," as opposed to "agriculture," for the sake of carbon credits under various programs. 16, 2004. Photo via Flickr user manhhai. Souvenirs of torture in Vietnam. Hopea logs were made into canoe-like boats that once ferried rice and coal around southern Vietnam’s Mekong Delta. Vietnam’s forest recovery efforts have been driven in part by Phung Tuu Boi, a forester who experimented with various regeneration projects after the war. Photos taken on colonial rubber plantations via Alpha History. Today, the surrounding countryside is a patchwork of villages, farms, and recovering forests. The International Union for Conservation of Nature said in 1998 that a “long period of selective logging” had reduced Vietnam’s Hopea odorata stock to “small groups of trees or isolated individuals.” The Viet Nam News reported this month that illegal logging was so rampant in 2010 that four forest rangers had been killed and 44 injured trying to stop it.Hopea odorata is a species in the Dipterocarp genus, a family of large tropical hardwoods native to the lowland forests of Southeast Asia. Recognized by UNESCO as a worldwide biosphere in 2000, the Can Gio mangrove forest is considered as the “green lungs” of Saigon’s population. They paid bribes and ransoms to insurgent forces while requesting help and providing support to the southern government. “During the Vietnam War, I was a child. Can Geothermal Power Play a Key Role in the Energy Transition? Boi and others have long realized that importing Australian exotics was just a partial solution. From over 60,000 tons produced annually to virtually none, the industry fell into disarray. While the trees do serve to collect and store atmospheric carbon, they do so at a lower rate than that of a more diverse ecosystem. They also applied the latex to capes to create crude rain jackets. When the outer layer of bark is ruptured, the sticky, milky substance flows out to deter hungry invertebrates. So in addition to places of rebellion, the rubber plantations became sites of sabotage and death, as well as safe havens, way stations and valuable supply caches. In another grove of trees sits the Vietnam Women's Memorial, another figurative sculpture depicting three nurses and one wounded soldier. I was one of the unfortunates to be bitten by a snake out in the bush. “Sometimes local people say no,” Mui recalled on a recent morning in his office. Despite this financial success, rubber plantations were becoming increasingly dangerous places, as political hostilities festered. By the end of the war in 1975, estimates put Vietnam's forest coverage at just 17%, down from more than 40% in the 1940s. When displaced to new land they are unfamiliar with, the people struggle to adapt their traditional ways of life and agriculture, as depicted in the short film, Rubber in a Rice Bowl and Rubber Barons: Growing rubber on an industrial scale can devastate natural environments. In the war of resistance against the French, the tree became a secret bunker to shelter guerrillas. The native forests of Vinh Cuu were exploited until a 1997 logging ban halted the destruction, said Tran Van Mui of the Vinh Cuu Nature Reserve. Colonial officials knew it was in their best interest to present the region as uninhabited, and thus free for the taking. Binh claims it was rare for a week to pass without someone being crushed by a tree, while broken limbs were commonplace. These rubber efforts brought about enormous wealth. Photo via Flickr user manhhai. Widgets. The earlier murder of Alfred François Bazin, a Hanoi-based labor recruiter for the company, revealed both the resentment plantations had fomented and the lengths at which Vietnamese were willing to go to put an end to them. The Micheline Plantation described them as "often depraved (opium addicts, public girls, lazy) having only an idea: desert to go to Cholon.". There, a number of colonial scientists experimented with it alongside other plants while the first plantations were being introduced. Not all revolutionaries, however, condoned the wanton destruction of the plantations. I turn. Vietnam is one of the countries to which the Bodhi … Dec 25, 2013 - Transporting the Christmas tree in Saigon, 1970 In the Amazonian city of Manaus, for example, plantation owners were rumored to be so rich that they gave their horses champagne to drink and paid upwards of US$8,000 a night for imported prostitutes while filling the city with extravagant and absurdly impractical buildings, such as an ornate opera house. Serious allegations of trafficking and slavery abound. The Americans sought to defoliate the trees and bushes, so that enemy soldiers would be exposed. While treatment at the hands of colonial exploiters sets an exceedingly low bar that is easily surpassed today, the work remains physically demanding and dangerous, with risks from snakes and insects, as well chemical poisoning during processing. The hopea is a big tree with a long life.”. The cramped barracks consisting of little more than wood floors and sheet metal roofs made even leisure time insufferable. It's worth noting that whatever disregard the American military held for rubber holdings, it was worse for Vietnamese people. Ink on dead trees More commonly known as words on paper. As of 2018, Vietnam is the world’s third-largest producer and exporter of rubber, boasting shipments of 1.58 million tons, worth over US$2.1 billion, a 14.5% increase in volume over the previous year. Therefore, rubber plantations occupied a formidable role in the political structures, aims and experiences of indigenous resistance that would manifest itself in the nation’s subsequent wars with France and the United States. Search. Businesses and governments in these areas are less able to effectively make use of their land, which thus creates a vacuum that Vietnamese companies and workers have rushed in to fill. After the villagers handed over all their land, they only had some 12ha fields of rice left. The only sound in the dusty parking lot was of birds chirping. The slavery, murder and battles accompanying the collection and trade of rubber continued into recent times, as exemplified by its role in supporting Liberia’s murderous warlord Charles Taylor. It's hard to find a Vietnam war movie that DOESN'T come full of distortions based on the film makers political agendas; it's just this time "The Green Berets" comes from the pro-involvement side. They could easily slip in and out to wreak havoc while also traveling into and through areas their more mechanized foes could not. Bicycle and wagon tires, sock garters, shoe soles, toys and cable insulators: a variety of sectors saw the value of rubber. In response, Europe rushed to produce it in their colonies as the ideal tree; Hevea brasiliensis, colloquially known as the "rubber tree," only grows in tropical climates. By some estimates, forest cover in Vietnam declined by 50 percent between 1945 and 1980. One nurse sits upon sandbags, holding the wounded man while another searches the sky for help—perhaps a helicopter airlift. Terms and Slang . Inside the home of a plantation operator. The only thing standing between the country and the ocean is a tree. If production conditions and environmental impacts have drastically improved since the 19th and 20th centuries, we could possibly justify the continued use of rubber, as long as we acknowledge those who suffered in the past to make that possible. They preferred a more restrained approach and condemned the devastation performed by their more aggressive peers. School children look at an unexploded Vietnam War-era U.S. bomb at Soc Son near Hanoi airport December 22, 2000. Vietnamese soldiers have been searching two hamlets on the outskirts of the Vietnamese capital for at least 18 unexploded bombs dropped by a U.S. B-52 bomber in December 1972, during the late American President Richard Nixon's Christmas bombing offensive. 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