Building upon the perspectives of the policy arrangement approach, this
article explores the extent to which forest governance has changed under the two national programs on forest rehabilitation in Vietnam. This article then assesses how these changes have impacted people’s participation in forest rehabilitation and the country’s forest cover for the past 25 years. Findings reveal that, despite a significant discursive shift from central state forest management to shared responsibilities among stakeholders in forestry, accompanying rules and regulations as well as actors’ constellations and resource allocations have not sufficiently changed to fully implement the new rehabilitation arrangements. This partial institutionalization of the new forest governance discourse has determined the low local support for forest rehabilitation, which has shaped its rather poor legitimacy and effectiveness.