Editor's note: Happy April Fools' Day! China is the world’s largest latex consumer, and any decrease in manufacturing or increased prices could destabilize the commodity, though some theorize India’s increased consumption could offset a drop in China’s. When it fell to the Vietnamese People's Army and the Viet Cong at the end of the Vietnam War, its name was changed to Ho Chi Minh city in honor of the leader of Vietnam's communist movement. 4:00 a.m. RSS. Rubber plantations provide evidence of some of the worst abuses of natives at the hands of the French, while later serving numerous purposes for a range of private and public actors. From over 60,000 tons produced annually to virtually none, the industry fell into disarray. The forests of Vietnam can be divided into two broad categories: evergreen forests, which include conifers, and deciduous forests. When establishing new plantation areas, workers were forced to labor from sunrise to sunset, chopping down gargantuan trees and clearing thorn-strewn brush beset by menacing sun and swarms of biting insects, tigers, elephants and poisonous snakes. Photos via Belle Indochine. Saigoneer will never see coffee the same way again. Beatings and rapes accompanied lesser forms of torture, including meager wages and insufficient food. At the end of the film, the ghosts of abused workers rise from the earth to enact their revenge on their villainous overseers. Photo via Flickr user manhhai. When America ramped up its presence, it mostly picked up where the departing French left off. Photo via Bao Moi. Ink on dead trees More commonly known as words on paper. 1967, Dak To, South Vietnam, American soldiers use fallen trees for cover during the costly fighting for Hill 875 Erstklassige Nachrichtenbilder in hoher Auflösung bei Getty Images On a muggy morning near Vinh Cuu, a town about 60 miles north of Ho Chi Minh City in southern Vietnam, a blue Toyota pickup whizzed by dense tropical scrub. They could easily slip in and out to wreak havoc while also traveling into and through areas their more mechanized foes could not. He worked with Australian colleagues to plant Australian acacia and eucalyptus trees in deforested areas of central and southern Vietnam. They also wanted to kill off the agricultural crops that fed the Viet Cong (as well as local civilians). When planted in neat rows, rubber trees in the area were susceptible to a devastating plague known as South American Leaf Blight. The plantation’s combination of orderly rows of plants adjacent to more rugged terrain played into the advantages and needs of Viet Minh forces. Financial support aside, many Vietnamese agricultural extension workers lack proper training on how to reintroduce native trees, said Christopher Beadle of Australia’s national science agency, CSIRO. They believed that extracting goods such as coffee, tea, rice and sugar, in addition to controlling local markets for items such as alcohol, could pay for their costly presence in the region. Inside the home of a plantation operator. In Vietnam, where 25 million people depend on forest products for subsistence, that higher price makes a difference: Many Vietnamese villagers prefer to plant acacia, which they sell to domestic paper mills. A list with some of the most terrifying sounds o the Vietnam War. Reintroducing native Dipterocarps in Vietnam — under a communist, one-party government — isn’t as transparent or straightforward a project as it might be in a developed country. Such a setup not only left workers even more susceptible to malaria and the many other pathogens lurking in the wild, but also came at a great financial cost that ultimately left them unable to compete with Southeast Asian plantations where the blight was not found, and thus systematic planting could be implemented. Rubber production in Vietnam slowly recovered after reunification, with growth coinciding with the general economic boom the country has experienced in the decades following Doi Moi reforms. The foreign companies and French colonial administration weren't willing to abandon their lucrative latex dreams, however; upon the defeat of the Japanese, they set about re-establishing rubber production and bringing back or re-training as many workers as they could. Everyone appeared almost dead, and in fact in the end about all did die." Boi and others have long realized that importing Australian exotics was just a partial solution. It was also a massive failure. If production conditions and environmental impacts have drastically improved since the 19th and 20th centuries, we could possibly justify the continued use of rubber, as long as we acknowledge those who suffered in the past to make that possible. In order to prevent the enemy from coming from the North, the soldiers had to destroy everything along the 17th parallel, even trees. Famous as the tree under which Siddhartha Gautama attained enlightenment and thus became the Buddha, the Bodhi Tree, which means ‘perfect knowledge’, has strong spiritual associations and is found in most temple grounds in Vietnam. More than mere symbols, they also aimed to destroy plantation trees, equipment and infrastructure to harm the French economy. Quang Van Dinh, head of Tham A Village in Son La Province, told Vietnam News: "Before, when they [the rubber corporation] called upon the people to contribute land, they said the yield would come in seven years and the money would help people escape poverty. An average tapper was expected to cut between 300 and 600 trees a day. Copyright © 2021 Urbanist Network. Dec 25, 2013 - Transporting the Christmas tree in Saigon, 1970 In addition to the environmental impact of rubber production, the industry still faces the risk of the South American Leaf Blight arriving and devastating plantations. Thirty-five years after North Vietnamese tanks entered Ho Chi Minh City — formerly Saigon — and four decades after U.S. forces destroyed ordamaged large swaths of Vietnamese forest with bombs and defoliants, this landscape is a window into Vietnam’s struggle to regenerate its once-abundant forests. Swimmers Among the Trees: Seal Operations in the Vietnam War Hardcover – April 22, 1997 by Joel M. Hutchins (Author) 3.5 out of 5 stars 5 ratings The Americans sought to defoliate the trees and bushes, so that enemy soldiers would be exposed. An early Mesoamerican game played with a rubber ball before the arrival of the Europeans. Hue is a city of empires, dynasties, armies, conquest and rule. The development allowed the colonial government to exert political and social influence in the region, which partly explains their preference for large foreign plantations as opposed to smaller-scale operations run by Vietnamese. In some cases, such as rubber, independent foreign companies and individuals, rather than the government directly, controlled commodities, with the profits spilling over in the form of taxes and tariffs in return for financing and favorable land deals. Moreover, in the near-term, the trade war between China and the US threatens to further depress Vietnam’s rubber profits. Making matters worse, malaria and other illnesses ran rampant, with insufficient medical attention available. The surrounding forest had served as a haven for the Viet Cong; 10 miles away the Communist guerillas had dug a network of tunnels. By some estimates, forest cover in Vietnam declined by 50 percent between 1945 and 1980. We've heard the negatives about this movie, and most of them are basically correct but there are a few things to say that, if not positive, put the movie in a less negative light. Vietnamese members of rubber unions in particular, argued that while they could serve important roles in resisting and overthrowing the French, their basic functionalities and infrastructure needed to remain intact so as to provide the future Vietnamese economy with necessary funds. Phung Tuu Boi stands in front of a hopea tree at the Forest Inventory and Planning Institute in Hanoi. This article was part of Saigoneer's 2019 April Fools' Day celebration. Heartbreak Grass, Flame Lillies, Twisted Cord Flowers, and Bark Cloth Trees are all powerful enough to kill a human or cause blindness upon contact or accidental ingestion, which is more common than one might think. The National Coordinators of Vietnam Veterans Against the War once wrote: “We supposedly valued human life while our enemy did not. “I just fly with my knife,” Lim Khim Katy explains of the process behind her striking landscapes. 1964 was a key year in the Vietnam War. CATEGORIES: News; Other News; As Scorched Earth to Forest Haven looks to raise £575,000 to support the replanting of Vietnam’s lost forests, we look at some of the tree species that will be used to regreen this extraordinary landscape. This cruel reality seemed to matter little to the colonial overseers, who viewed the workers as expendable. “That’s what you have to do to meet the needs of the rural poor.”. From 1980 to 1990, forest cover in Vietnam declined from 32 percent to 27 percent of the country. 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