Colorado State, Forestry University of Vietnam Enter Joint Agreement to Enhance Teaching, Research Opportunities and Save Forests

The Forestry University of Vietnam has chosen Colorado State University as its first American partner in an effort to expand curricula and research efforts in the heavily forested, richly biodiverse Southeast Asian nation.

As part of the arrangement, four Vietnamese students are completing master’s degrees at Colorado State. Le Trong Hung and Nguyen Van Ha, both faculty members at the Forestry University of Vietnam, are studying agricultural and resource economics and will return to teach at the Forestry University. Nguyen Bich Thuy, studying forest sciences, will return to become deputy chief for planning in the An Giang province forestry department and Hoang Thanh, a student of agricultural and resource economics, will return as director of the conservation program for the World Wildlife Fund Indonesia program in Hanoi.

An international memorandum of understanding will be signed in ceremonies in Ammons Hall at 9:30 a.m. May 12. Representing Colorado State will be President Albert Yates, Provost Loren Crabtree and Dean Allen Dyer of the College of Natural Resources. Signing for the Forestry University will be Director Nguyen Dinh Tu, the institution’s head.

"This is a wonderful opportunity for both institutions," Crabtree said. "Colorado State has long been recognized for its international activity, and we are delighted that the Forestry University of Vietnam has chosen our students, faculty and institution to join with them in research and teaching.

"We’ve developed curricula and courses that our Vietnamese colleagues want for their students, and they offer us a wealth of collaborative research projects involving the richly biodiverse lands of Southeast Asia."

Another advantage to conducting instruction and research on topics like silviculture, forest management and fire control, according to Freeman Smith, professor of earth resources, is the parallel academic structure between the Forestry University and the College of Natural Resources.

"The focus in both institutions is oriented toward integrating forest use–wildlife management, timber harvest, sustainability, recreational use–and so our research needs and opportunities are very closely matched on both sides," he said.

Smith, along with professors Donald Crews of forest sciences and George Wallace of natural resource recreation and tourism, visited the Forestry University in January 1998. They worked out syllabi, teaching materials and other requirements for an initial three-course curriculum covering conservation biology, environmental impact assessment and monitoring and social forestry. Smith said the Vietnamese seek to be careful stewards of their land.

"They have extensive forest resources they can develop, and, with proper management techniques, they can go into a sustained-yield mode, providing raw materials for their wood products industry and yet offering habitat, watershed control and recreational opportunities as well," Smith said. "The government is willing to support this."

Vietnam offers lush tropical forests in the lowlands and in the country’s south while the northern part of the country, where the university is located, and the highlands have some hardwoods and conifers, Smith said.

The university, located about 20 miles southwest of Hanoi, the capital city of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, consists of a 70-acre main campus adjacent to a 1,000-acre research campus, with some 2,500 students and 250 faculty members. It offers degrees through the doctorate program.