Sustainable rattan and bamboo | WWF

Sustainable rattan and bamboo

WWF’s sustainable rattan project operates in Bolikhamxay, Xekong and Saravan provinces. The objective of the project in Laos – which also runs in Cambodia and Vietnam – is to secure credible forest certification, establish a more sustainable rattan production supply chain, and develop sustainable financing for small and medium sized enterprises to invest in it.

 

Rattan is a naturally renewable palm that has multiple uses, such as for furniture, handicrafts and building material. However, the way rattan is harvested and processed needs to improve in order to secure the supply in the long term.

 

As part of this project, communities and companies are working with WWF to implement a viable and sustainable forest management model. This means that villages can earn income from the harvesting, splitting and weaving of rattan for sale on international markets.

 

Specifically, WWF is developing forest management plans with communities, training pre-processors and traders on clean production, building business links, and promoting Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) and Fair Trade certification of forests and products.

 

This rattan management project is also hoped to become a model for the development of other sustainable supply chains in Laos, such as bamboo and tea.

 

Some huge successes have already emerged from the project. Since 2008, over 5,500 ha of forest are now FSC certified and 28 villages in the three provinces have directly benefitted from the sale of rattan products.

 
	© Vangmuang Phongphailath / WWF-Laos
An aerial view of the wild rattan forest in Sobphouan Village, Bolikhamxay Province, central Laos.
© Vangmuang Phongphailath / WWF-Laos
 
	© WWF Laos
Sustainable Rattan Management Model
© WWF Laos

Rattan baskets weaving

Women weave rattan baskets in Thaveng Village, Bolikhamxay Province, Laos. Thirty-one families in this village are involved in weaving rattan products that are sold in Laos and also exported. Since 2012, when they got involved in rattan weaving, the families’ collective income has more than tripled. 

 
	© Thippakone Thammavongsa / WWF-Laos
Women weave rattan baskets in Thaveng Village, Bolikhamxay Province, Laos
© Thippakone Thammavongsa / WWF-Laos

Seeds of life

AN ALTERNATIVE SOURCE OF INCOME

 

Rattan is a naturally renewable palm that grows in the tropical regions of Africa and Asia and is used for furniture, handicrafts and building material, among other uses. An NTFP that’s relatively easy to harvest and has multiple uses, it can help alleviate pressure on natural forests by providing local communities with an alternative source of income.

 

Rattan is an invaluable part of rural people's livelihoods in Laos but over-harvesting and land conversion is causing a rapid decline of natural rattan.

 

WWF has been working with communities and government officials in Bolikhamxay Province and neighbouring Xekong and Saravan provinces since 2006 – and in southern Laos since 2009 – to develop a viable and sustainable management and supply chain model that ensures the forest is protected while also contributing to local livelihood.

 

The project, supported by IKEA, the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) and the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA), provides capacity building, funding and training to villagers on rattan harvesting and production.

 

It is part of wider WWF efforts in the Greater Mekong region – particularly Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam – to establish a sustainable rattan supply chain from natural forests and create income from NTFPs.

 

In Laos, villagers have been trained to manage their inventory and harvest, split and weave rattan that’s sold domestically and is also exported to countries like Thailand, Switzerland, Sweden and the US.

“The WWF project helped us in training and giving us encouragement to do this work that now provides us with sustainable income. The project acts like a bridge between us and the market, the outside world,” says Khensy Milatid, Duputy Chief of Thaveng Village, head of the group that produces rattan handicrafts. 

 

 
 

SEEDS OF LIFE, THE FULL STORY

 
	© Thippakone Thammavongsa / WWF-Laos
Click on the image to view the full story of how rattan has become "Seeds of Life) for many villagers of the 4 villages under Sustainable Rattan Project. 
 
	© Thippakone Thammavongsa / WWF-Laos
Hand-made products of rattan in Thaveng village, Bolikhamxay province.
© Thippakone Thammavongsa / WWF-Laos
 
	© Thippakone Thammavongsa / WWF-Laos
Khensy Milatid, Duputy Chief of Thaveng Village, head of the group that produces rattan handicrafts.
© Thippakone Thammavongsa / WWF-Laos

Sustainable Rattan Case Study

When Mr. Linhthong La-Intong moved to Sobphouan Village from his native Xiangkhouang Province some 13 years ago, things were very different.

 

“But one thing stayed the same,” La-Intong tells us. “It’s our forest.”

 

The village’s nearby forest is more diverse these days, he tells us. He mentions seeing more wild pigs and deer, and that the villagers see to it personally that poachers don’t get their way in their protected forest.

 

“When illegal hunters are caught by our patrol, we take them to the village chief.  The first time they get a stern warning. Second time offenders get fined 500,000 Kip and the third time it’s 1.5 million [Kip].  The fourth time, they go to jail.”  

 

(Click on his photo to read the full story) 

 
 
	© Thippakone Thammavongsa / WWF-Laos
Mr. Linhthong La-Intong, head of the Sobphouan village rattan forest management group, and head of the village patrol team.
© Thippakone Thammavongsa / WWF-Laos

PM Thongloun Sisoulith made a short visit to a rattan furniture factory in Vientiane Province

Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith and other senior government officials on 20 June 2017 visited Vientiane province as the government aims to encourage more effective livestock breeding and organic vegetable projects in the province.

During his trip, a short visit was made to a rattan furniture factory called Danlao in Viengkham district, and handicraft groups in Nayang village, Phonhong district, Vientiane province which aim to promote local businesses and encourage improvements to household incomes.

(Click on the photo to see the full article published in Vientiane Times on the PM visitation to this province)  
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About Danlao Rattan Factory

Danlao, a family owned enterprise, employs some 30 people, many of whom have been with the company for more than ten years.

Danlao sources rattan and finished products from villages that are part of WWF’s sustainable rattan project

“WWF came to us at the right time, when we were facing a lack of raw supply,” says Danlao owner Saykham Phetmany. “In the past, our company and also the provinces where we harvested rattan didn't do surveys and we didn’t have actual production figures so the government did not approve the quota to harvest. When the project came, we identified and conducted surveys, which helped us to increase the quota and to support our workers to have work.” 

 
 
	© Unknown
Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith and other senior government visited a rattan furniture factory called Danlao in Viengkham district, Vientiane province.
© Unknown
 
	© WWF-Laos
Rattan product producing at Danlao Rattan Factory in Vientiane province
© WWF-Laos

WHAT IS FSC ?

FSC stands for Forest Stewardship Council, a global not-for-profit organisation dedicated to the promotion of responsible forest management worldwide. By Laos’ rattan forest being FSC accredited, it means its management is at the highest standard, ensuring benefits for both nature and the communities dependent on it.

Unsustainable rattan harvesting leads to forest degradation, and affects tropical forest ecosystems as well as rural people’s source of income. Achieving a more sustainable rattan production will ensure future rattan supply and prevent negative impacts on nature, communities and companies.

 

In the long term, the objective of the WWF Sustainable Rattan Project in Laos, Cambodia, and Vietnam is credible forest certification as well as establishing a more sustainable rattan production supply chain. 
 

As part of this project, communities and companies in Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam are working with WWF to implement a viable and sustainable forest management model. 

 
 
	© Thippakone Thammavongsa / WWF-Laos
Baskets at the Danlao factory in Vientiane Province, Laos. The FSC-certified baskets are exported to Coop.
© Thippakone Thammavongsa / WWF-Laos