Phong Nha-Kẻ Bàng National Park (PNKB NP) is a world heritage site in Vietnam, where ecosystem conservation is accompanied by government policies intended to improve local livelihoods. Currently, two policies have been implemented: the tourism development and payments for forest environmental services (PFES) programs. This study employs both semi-structured and in-depth interviews to analyze the relationships between tourism development, ethnic differences, and the PFES in the PNKB NP area. The results are as follows. The PNKB NP has devoted much time to the tourism development policy, with some success. However, disparities in implementation have meant that central areas, such as Xuan Tien Village, have benefited significantly from tourism revenue, whereas remote areas, such as Rao Con village have not yet had the opportunity to participate in income-generating tourism activities. As a result, the gap between the livelihoods of the two villages has widened, exacerbated by inappropriate distributions of the financial budget (the Phong Nha fee). Moreover, the lack of participation in the policy by local residents has meant the PFES has had little effect on their livelihoods. Thus, although the aforementioned policies were expected to improve local livelihoods, this has not occurred, because the PFES mechanism does not sufficiently consider those living in the area.
A key problem faced by Japanese agriculture is the decline in the number of fulltime farmers due to the aging population, which combined with the absence of farm successors is leading to abandoned and under-used farmland. Under these conditions, we analyze the shifts in labor force allocation within households, between households, and between different communities, in order to secure the continuity of farming activities. Recent agricultural policies aim to increase the active participation in farming of women and of returning farmers, people who left their hometown to engage in non-agricultural work but return to or take up farming after retirement. The study examines strategies to maintain the continuous use of farmland despite the declining numbers of farmers by analyzing the Tachi settlement, whose residents commute for work to the nearby urban areas of Kanazawa and Komatsu cities in Ishikawa prefecture. The study analyzed the occupations of household members in this settlement and evaluated how the residents’ employment choices have influenced the continuous use of farmland in the area. Many studies in agricultural geography in Japan on systems of farmland use and community farming have focused on households centered on a male head-of-household. Our study is original in its focus on the occupations of all individuals in each household to assess the allocation of farming labor in rural households and other mechanisms to maintain their farmland, such as consigning work to other farmers, or renting out their farmland. Over the past decades, with the decline in the number of successors willing to inherit the farms, the number of farms taken over by the next generation has decreased in Tachi, and those responsible for the farmland have had to request help from outside their settlement. However, the study reports some recent positive trends (a family moving back to the settlement and taking up farming, including leasing previously abandoned land). Consequently, farmland use is being localized again within the settlement. Our case study, Tachi, can be considered a representative case study, as it encapsulates many of the recent trends in development of marginal rural communities Japan (rapid socio-demographic decline and its impact on the continuity of farmland use and management practices, especially in terms of labor allocation, but also regarding the mechanisms of renting out/lending farmland). The limited local scale allows for the detailed survey of the entire community as well as an in-depth analysis of data. Findings of this study might prove useful in the elaboration of rural/farming policies with the potential of wider implementation in similar areas in Japan but also (at the broader scale) in Asia.