Last update 1/11/2012 10:00:00 AM (GMT+7)

Vietnam’s sustainable forest target deemed unattainable
A forest development program of the agriculture ministry has a target of making around one-third of the nation’s forests meet sustainable development standards by 2020 but this goal is considered too ambitious.

Under the Forest Development Program of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, 30% of forests will be issued the Sustainable Management Certificate by 2020.

Speaking at a conference last week, Cao Chi Cong, director general of the ministry’s forest use department, said Vietnam has 10 sustainable afforestation models nationwide. Five of them have been piloted with international involvement and the rest carried out by local authorities and businesses without a specific direction on sustainable forest management.

Only 20,000 hectares has been licensed with the Forest Sustainable Certificate. “Given the current implementation pace, the 30% target is infeasible”, said Cong.

A ministry report says the newly planted forest area reached an estimated 214,700 hectares last year, down 14.8% year-on-year. Of this, the protective and for-specific-use forests totaled 20,500 hectares, down 67% year-on-year, and commercial forest reached 194,300 hectares, up 2.2%.

The ministry has been doing well on the sustainable forest certification program but at the provincial and lower levels, especially the corporate sector, things have turned out to be unsatisfactory.

“Only if customers demanded licensed wood, enterprises would be willing to get the license. Most of these businesses have not been proactive in sustainable forest development,” Cong said.

According to a report by the Vietnam Administration of Forestry, Vietnam last year turned out more than 5.5 million cubic meters of wood, up around 20% from 2010.