--%>

    Natural landscape means a landscape made up of natural components including geology, topography, climate, hydrology, pedology, and biology. These are components of the natural environment, so natural landscape is considered part of the natural environment. Compared with the previous approach, it is a new approach wasto protect just specified as protection of the individual environmental components, protection of natural landscape is a new approach - partial protection of the natural environment. Protection of natural landscape is the conservation and maintenance ofmaintain important morphology, components, structure and functions of natural landscape - an area formed by the interaction of natural elements over time. This is not only protection of the individual environmental components but also the result of the combination and interaction between natural environment components over time.

    Currently, many countries in the world have issued policies on management and protection of landscape, especially natural landscape.  Some countries have issued separate laws on management and protection of landscape such as Germany, Japan, and South Korea, while others have issued provisions on management and protection of landscape in related laws like Russia, England. In addition, the contents of protection of natural landscape are mentioned in the conventions and guidelines such as the European Landscape Convention, the guidelines of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN)...

 

The natural landscape of Hạ Long Bay - one of the world natural heritage sites

 

Policies related to landscape in Việt Nam

    Legal provisions on protection of landscape in Việt NamViệt Nam have been mentioned in a number of laws and sub-law documents, mainly focused on such documentssuch as: Law on Biodiversity of 2008, Law on Urban Planning of 2009, Law on Minerals of 2010, Law on Cultural Heritage of 2013, Law on Environmental Protection of 2014, Law on Forestry of 2017, Law on Planning of 2017. However, the landscape is being understood in various aspects, there is no concept (terminology) of the landscape that can fully comprehend the landscape contents in accordance with science and practice.

    The Law on Biodiversity of 2008 provides for landscape conservation areas including national-level landscape conservation areas and provincial-level landscape conservation areas. National-level landscape conservation areas must meet the following major criteria: Having a particularan unique ecosystem; Having landscape and unique natural beauty; Having scientific, educational, ecotourism and recreational values. Provincial-level landscape conservation areas are areas under biodiversity conservation planning of provinces or Centrally centrally run cities for the purpose of protecting landscape in their localities but do not meet the criteria for establishing national-level landscape conservation areas.

    The Law on Urban Planning of 2009 provides requirements on urban planning which requires include environmental protection, landscape improvement, and rational use of natural resources.

    The Law on Minerals of 2010 provides the principles of mineral activities that must be associated with protection of environment, natural landscape, historical and cultural relics, scenic spots and other natural resources.

    The Law on Environmental Protection (LEP) of 2014 stipulates that environmental protection activities are encouraged including protection of natural landscape and biodiversity. However, the contents of the Law do not have detailed provisions on protection of natural landscape.

    The Law on Cultural Heritage of 2013 stipulates that the “Natural landscape” is included in the concept of “Scenic spots” and is one of the important criteria for identifying and classifying scenic spots.

   The Law on Forestry of 2017 stipulates that the landscape conservation areas include forests that conserve historical - cultural relics and scenic spots; belief forests; environmental protection forests for urban areas, industrial parks, export processing zones, economic zones and hi-tech parks. The Law prohibits illegal activities that change the natural landscape structure of forest ecosystem.

    The Law on Planning of 2017 with the contents of national sectoralsectorial planning clearly stipulates: The national biodiversity conservation planning covers high biodiversity areas and important ecological landscape. These are the most concerned the objects of conservation planning that are most interested in environmental protection and biodiversity planning because they are outside the nature conservation areas and do not overlap with the existing nature conservation area system (special-use forest system).

Practical needs of incorporating provisions on the protection and management of natural landscape into environmental protection policies

    In the world, in the region and in Việt NamViệt Nam, many development investment activities destroy/ruin the whole landscape or one of their components that makes up the natural landscape, despite achieving economic and maybe social benefits in the short term, but it has been or hascaused long-term consequences.

    The “greatest” case is that 1960 the irrigation projects built during the development of the former Soviet Union since 1960 have that lead to the loss of lost the water supply to for the Aral Sea (next to the Caspian Sea), making the Aral Sea narrow, creating conditions for the formation of the Aralkum desert on which is used to be the seabed area of the old Aral Sea in 2010 (after 50 years of irrigation), this is considered a great lesson of the contemporary world when not protecting landscape.

    Việt Nam is famous for many beautiful natural landscape areas, environmental impact management tools such as strategic environmental assessment for planning and environmental impact assessment for development investment activities have a history of more than 20 years of existence, making an important contribution to the protection of natural environment for people. However, there are still many cases, the natural landscape has been changed in a negatively direction, it is very difficult or impossible to restore to the original stateand irreversibly.

    In many localities, the socio-economic development planning destroyed/ruined natural landscape areas, historical and cultural relics; Little attention has been paid to the landscape with of environmental and ecological importance such as: important wetlands, high biodiversity areas and biodiversity corridors (outside the nature conservation areas as prescribed in the legal provisions on forestry and biodiversity), important parks, large green spacesareas, green belts, forests, rivers, streams and flows in urban and rural areas; Little attention has been paid to the integrity and correlation of overall and the close connection between the landscape components.

    In the period of industrialization and modernization over the past 20 years, the Central strips of landcoastal area from Thanh HoóaHóa to Ninh Thuận Thuaận have been exploited for a site of titanium ore mixed ore exploitation for a long time. This has led to the destruction of the landscape of coastal sand dunes, which caused tremendous environmental and ecological consequences. Resort projects in some nature conservation areas using special-use forests in many provinces from the North to the Central; construction investment activities along the coast of Hạ Hạ Long Bay; projects in Hà Hà Giang Province such as Lũng Lũng Cúú spiritual project in Lũng Lũng Cúú Commune, Đồng Văn district District or smaller such as the observation spot at Mãaã Pìiì Lèeèng in Pảaải Luủủng and Paảả Vi Communes, Mèèo Vạạc District ... are projects that have ruined the beautiful and important natural landscapes areas of the country.

    So what causes the aforementioned adverse consequences? There is a lack of legal provisions, technical guidelines on impact assessment of natural landscape in the strategic environmental assessment of planning, including provincial socio-economic development planning; Lack of legal provisions as well as technical guidelines on the assessment of adverse impacts on the morphology, structure and functions of important landscape areas in the process of the environmental impact assessment, site selection as well as design of the investment projects.

Proposed provisions on protection and management of natural landscape in the Draft Law on Environmental ProtectionLEP (amended)

Provisions on identifying important natural landscape areas

    Natural landscape means a landscape made up of natural components, without or with very little human impact. Important natural landscape areas are those with levels of sensitivity, nature conservation and biodiversity requirements, divided into groups:

    Group 1: Nature conservation areas in accordance with the legal provisions on biodiversity; marine conservation areas in accordance with the legal provisions on fisheries; special-use forests as national parks, natural reserves, and species-habitat conservation areas in accordance with the legal provisions on forestry; natural landscape areas recognized as special national relics, national relics in accordance with the legal provisions on cultural heritage and areas recognized as world Ramsar sites, world natural heritage areas, ASEAN heritage parks, world biosphere reserves and global geoparks;

    Group  2: Aquatic resource protection areas in accordance with the legal provisions on fisheries; forests used for preserving historical –- cultural relics and places of scenic beauty; belief forests; forests protecting environment of urban areas, industrial parks, export-processing zones, economic zones and high-tech zonesspecial-use forests as landscape protection areas, scientific research and experimental forests, national botanical gardens or national seed forests; protection forests in accordance with the legal provisions on forestry; provincial relics in accordance with the legal provisions on cultural heritage;

    Group 3: Important wetlands; high biodiversity areas and biodiversity corridors (outside the areas of groups 1 and 2); buffer zones of nature conservation areas in accordance with the legal provisions on biodiversity; buffer zones of special-use forests in accordance with the legal provisions on forestry; buffer zones of the world biosphere reserves in accordance with the legal provisions on biodiversity, fisheries and forestry or specified by the world for each title; important parks, green spaces, flows (not overlapping with other important natural landscape areas prescribed) in urban and rural areas.

    Accordingly, important natural landscape areas are prescribed in accordance with the legal provisions on biodiversity, fisheries, forestry, cultural heritage, environmental protection, other relevant legal provisions and international treaties to which Việt NamVieệt Nam is a signatoryParty. The Government regulates criteria to prescribe important natural landscape areas as important green spacesareas, flows in urban and rural areas.

Provisions on protection of important natural landscape areas

    Protection of natural landscape is the conservation and maintenance of important morphology, components, structure and functions of natural landscape. In particular, conservation and maintenance of the morphology of natural landscape are activities of conservation and maintenance of the landscape, beauty, particular morphology and harmony in the space of the landscape’s space. Conservation and maintenance of the components of natural landscape are activities of conservation and maintenance of the natural elements that make up the landscape (geology, topography, climate, hydrology, pedology, and biology). Conservation and maintenance of the structure of natural landscape are the activities of conservation and maintenance of the vertical structure, horizontal structure and temporal structure of the landscape. Conservation and maintenance of landscape functions are the conservation and maintenance of the functions of the natural ecosystem that make up the landscape.

    Accordingly, specific provisions on protection of natural landscape are as follows: Important natural landscape areas must be assessed, ranked with and defined boundaries defined in the field; develop plans and options to maintain and protect the morphology, components, structure, functions and other values in accordance with the relevant legal provisions. The provincial Provincial People's Committee is responsible for identifying and promulgating a list of important provincial natural landscape areas in the area assigned to be managed as such as  important parks, green spaces, and flows in urban and rural areas. Important natural landscape areas are protected and managed in accordance with the legal provisions on biodiversity, fisheries, forestry, cultural heritage, tourism, environmental protection of Việt NamVieệt Nam and the provisions of international treaties to which Việt NamVieệt Nam is a signatoryParty. Important natural landscape areas are part of national environmental planning, relevant national sectoral planning, and environmental protection contents in regional and provincial planning. The exploitation and use of components of important natural landscape areas must ensure the maintenance of the morphology, structure, functions and biodiversity of natural landscape. According to the above provisions, the Government promulgates specific provisions on protection of natural landscape.

Assessment of the impacts on important natural landscape areas

    Assessment of impacts on important natural landscape areas in environmental impact assessment is the process of analyzing, assessing and forecasting the impacts of investment projects on important natural landscape areas in order to propose measures to achieve the goals of maintaining beauty, protecting the integrity, long-term use of components and the whole of the important natural landscape areas, distributing fairly and reasonably the benefits from the use of landscape.

    The main contents of the assessment of impacts on important natural landscape areas are as follows: Assess the detailed impacts on the morphology, structure, functions and biodiversity of the landscape. Also, assess the fulfillment of the following principles: Protecting the morphologyical, structural structure, function and functional integrity of the landscape; protecting living environment; prioritizing the protection of precious and rare and endangered species; not loosingpreventing loss of real values; preventing from risks; mobilizing indigenous knowledge and the participation of stakeholders and, the community.

    Projects which are reviewed and licensed for investment in accordance with the legal provisions on biodiversity, forestry, fisheries, cultural heritage and other relevant legal provisions but have adverse impacts on important natural landscape areas of Group 1 must conduct and prepare a thematic report on assessment of detailed impacts on the morphology, components, structure, functions and biodiversity of the landscape attached to the environmental impact assessment report.

    Projects which are reviewed and licensed for investment in accordance with the legal provisions on biodiversity, forestry, fisheries, cultural heritage and other relevant legal provisions but have adverse impacts on important natural landscape areas of Group 2 and 3 must conduct and include an assessment of detailed impacts on the morphology, structure, functions and biodiversity of the landscape in the environmental impact assessment report.

Assessment of impacts on natural landscape is a part of the environmental impact assessment report.

    According to the above provisions, the Government details the contents of the assessment of impacts on important natural landscape areas in the environmental impact assessment process.

    Thus, the proposed contents of management and protection of natural landscape in the draft Draft Law on Environmental ProtectionLEP identify important natural landscape areas as those with levels of sensitivity, natural conservation requirements and biodiversity established in accordance with the legal provisions on biodiversity, fisheries, forestry, cultural heritage, environmental protection, other relevant legal provisions and international treaties to which Việt NamVieệt Nam is a signatoryParty; divided into 3 groups with focus on managing and assessing impacts on natural landscape through environmental impact assessment to protect the landscape and minimize adverse impacts of investment projects on important natural landscape areas. Protection of natural landscape is a new approach in the amended Law on Environmental ProtectionLEP that will contribute to increasing the effectiveness of environmental protection and socio-economic development through the maintenance, conservation and sustainable use of functions and values of natural landscape.

 

Phạm Anh Cường, Trần Ngọc Cường, Phạm Hạnh Nguyên

Nature and Biodiversity Conservation Agency

(Nguồn: Bài đăng trên Tạp chí Môi trường số Chuyên đề Tiếng Anh II/2020)

 

Thống kê

Lượt truy cập: 3269642