Conflict over the natural resource in Kuang Xi Waterfall
Kuang Xi is a unique area of authentic cultural, religious, social and biological ecology upstream of the Kuang Xi Waterfall in the Luang Prabang District of Luang Prabang Province in Northern Laos. Since 1975, when Lao PDR became an independent nation, Kuang Xi has been seen as an important area for the whole nation. However, while the local government of Luang Prabang and the local tourism operators gain benefits from visitors to Kuang Xi, the local indigenous people face serious obstacles in continuing their wisdom in practicing their belief of nurturing nature as well as maintaining their daily livelihoods.
For this reason, a study was proposed by a Center for Human Ecology Study of Highland (CHESH) - Lao1 to find a way of coordinating the different stakeholders in sustaining the unique landscape of Kuang Xi by way of an inter-ethnic co-management strategy. CHESH-Lao’s involvement in the Kuang Xi area followed from their earlier work (since 1999) with Luang Prabang Province and District and Provincial Agriculture and Forestry Office (PAFO) in the area of “Culture-Based Sustainable Community Development” with the Hmong village of Long Lan, the Khmu villages of in Deng Sa Vang, Pon Sa Vat in Luang Prabang District; the Khmu in Nam Kha village, and the Lao lum people in Xieng Da village of Nam Bac District, Luang Prabang Province.
CHESH-Lao’s work with these villages was very successful and highly valued by the local authorities. That is why in 2014 the Luang Prabang local authorities invited CHESH-Lao to become involved in the Kuang Xi area in applying the same successful methodology as they had applied in Long Lan and other villages. This method was called “Customary based watershed forest Co-management’.