I was a Vietnamese-based photographer to contract and consultant for the GIZ-Bio (The Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit) project – “Conservation, Sustainable Use of Forest Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services in Viet Nam” six months ago and spent two months traveling and shooting 4 national forests to use in the media and GIZ platforms later.

Viet Nam is one of the world’s most significant biodiversity hotspots. The biodiversity and ecosystem services of forests play a vital role in the livelihoods of rural populations in Viet Nam, particularly the approximately 25 million people living in the proximity of forests.

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In addition, the biodiversity and ecosystem services of forests are the cornerstones for the agricultural, forestry, and fishery sectors, and thus underpin national economic development. These services also play an important role when it comes to climate change adaptation and mitigation. Despite an overall increase of the forest cover in Viet Nam, the integrity and quality of forests have deteriorated over the last decades, and the forests’ biodiversity and ecosystem services are increasingly threatened.

The Project “Conservation, Sustainable Use of Forest Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services” is supporting the Vietnamese authorities to implement the mechanisms which provide benefits from biodiversity conservation and sustainable management for local people. The project also initiates innovative pilot models in 4 protected areas of Tram Tau, Than Sa-Phuong Hoang, Bi-doup Nui Ba, and Cat Tien.

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On various occasions and for various requirements, GIZ-Bio needs a collection of photos of high-quality. These high-quality photos will be used for communication objectives. On the first hand, the photos will show the problems that the forest’s biodiversity and ecosystems are threatened due to climate change and human beings.


On the other hand, features the messages of what the project is working on and what are the achievements. This will ensure proper reflection of the project activities and will contribute to building a photo pool which can be further used for proper representation of the project, awareness and advocacy initiatives, and presence in the media and GIZ platforms.

Therefore, they need to engage a Vietnamese-based photographer who is a professional and provide good quality photography services. Here were my tasks for two months to capture high-resolution photos and structure them according to the requests:

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A/ Photographing activities in supporting legal and policy framework and Photographing 04 project sites (Tram Tau, Than Sa-Phuong Hoang, Bi-doup Nui Ba, and Cat Tien) including

  • Landscapes and touristic/special spots of 04 project sites
  • Forest biodiversity and ecosystems/habitats, including the diversity and richness of the ecosystems as well as their signs of degradation.
  • Life of forest protection staffs and local people in the buffer zones of the 4 project sites (daily life, culture and cultural activities, the participation of local communities in SFMP planning, forest protection, patrols or meeting of the contract-based community group, children in schools …)
  • Timber and timber processing activities in some timber villages during the field trips organized by Forest Trends to these villages;

In addition, GIZ-Bio asked many other requirements for the qualification of the consultant (Vietnamese-based photographer), and also the standard for the quality of final images with accompanying information.

Some selected images in this blog post were taken in a period of time from 20/07 to 31/10 this year, moving more than 5,000km by my personal car from two southern forests in Dong Nai and Lam Dong province to two northern forests in Yen Bai and Thai Nguyen province. There were 18,250 files, 1TB for backup, and full three editing days to select 200 images. The final results will be 4 booklets in the next year.

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