Rampant deforestation in the central region

Monday - 03/07/2017 23:59
Many people in Quang Tri Province are still destroying the forest to create short-term agricultural land despite a prime ministerial order to close all forests in the area last year.
Rampant deforestation in the central region

The deforestation rate has increased sharply in recent years in Huong Hoa District, Quang Tri Province. Dozens of watch houses have been put up so that people can cut down the trees more easily. The fallen trees are gathered and burnt later. 

Hundreds of trees with diameters from 10 to 60cm are cut down everywhere, next to the newly cultivated fields and banana plantations.

Many illegal loggers also take advantage of the situation to collect the wood. A man from Van Kieu ethnic group said it was normal to see loggers pull wood blocks out of the forest. "There are about four buffalos used to transport the wood blocks. During busy periods, about 10 buffalos work at the same time," he said.

The forest area no.693 covers 1,190 hectares under the Huong Hoa-Da Krong Protection Forest Management Board. As of March 9, about 3.85 hectares were destroyed and encroached by 13 local people.

Nguyen Cong Tuan, the management board's deputy head, said after being informed of the situation, they had held a meeting to raise people's awareness and reported the case to the local authorities and the forest ranger unit.

"We don't have the authority to punish anyone. We've reported to the authorities but we can do nothing if they don't carry out any punishment," he said.

Meanwhile, Vo Van Su, head of the Huong Hoa District Forest Ranger Unit, claimed that the deforestation already stopped a long time ago. The unit and the management board inspected the forest on June 22 but didn't detect any illegal logging activities. After being shown the images of the destroyed forest, he said they would have a recheck.

Le Quang Thuan, vice chairman of Huong Hoa District, said they had ordered tightened management and asked the local police and authorities to investigate the case. He said he had received the proposals to prosecute some violators.

Quang Nam Province ordered the closure of the forest area 15 years ago. But recently, it has become a hot spot for deforestation. In last July, one month after the prime ministerial order, a huge area of forest land was destroyed near Vietnam-Laos border. Five suspects were detained but there is a rumour that they were working with state officials.

On June 18, the loggers were transporting four cubic metres of wood when they were intercepted by the police. The loggers ran away.

Huynh Tan Duc, director of the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development said the forest ranger units failed to do their work. But deforestation is also a social problem as there is a huge demand for wood.

Quang Nam Province authorities are encouraging local people to plant herbal plants to earn money from the forests so that they would be more protective of them.


From: http://english.vietnamnet.vn/fms/environment/181309/rampant-deforestation-in-the-central-region.html

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