Last update 2/12/2012 8:13:00 AM (GMT+7)

Protecting preventive forests remains a thorny struggle

VietNamNet Bridge – Local residents and illegal lumberjacks have been ignoring the laws and destroyed the forests. Meanwhile, local authorities say they do not know about that because they are not reported.

Tens of hectares of the preventive forests in the two communes of Dak Somei and Ha Dong of Dak Doa district in Gia Lai province have been destroyed.

When Dan Viet’s reporters came to make a film, local residents were still continuing their work of chopping down trees and sawing timber. A lot of big trees with the diameter of 40-50 cm were seen lying on the ground after they were chopped down. The trees were waiting for the illegal lumberjacks to come to carry them to the road for sawing.

Hoang Trong Thai, an officer of the Kon Ka Kinh National Park in Dak Doa district, said that the Dak Doa preventive forest has been destroyed most seriously since several days before Tet. The illegal lumberjacks deliberately cut down trees during that time, because they wanted to escape from the management of the state management agencies which were away for Tet holiday.

According to Dan Viet, the total destroyed forest area may reach 50 hectares. Meanwhile, Chair of the Ha Dong Commune’s People’s Committee, though admitting that the preventive forest in the commune has been destroyed, said that the suffered area was just 400 square meters.

Meanwhile, Head of the Dak Doa forest ranger unit, has affirmed that the Dak Doa preventive forest management board must take responsibility for the destroyed forest. Meanwhile, his unit only has the function of supervising and speeding up the protection of the forests and dealing with violators.

According to Lam, since early 2012, the unit has discovered five deforestation cases which occurred on the area of 3.3 hectares.

Lao dong newspaper has also reported that the time just before Tet and Tet holiday is the “time of illegal lumberjacks”. In the districts in the west of Quang Nam province, the local forests have been destroyed, while timber has been carried by both the land and waterways to the cities, where it sells to traders.

The local forest rangers have discovered 80 cases of illegal timber trade and carry, seizing more than 100 cubic meters of timber. However, local residents said that this is just the tip of the iceberg, while the deforestation is more serious than it is seen in the locality which is considered richest in forests in Vietnam.

Dealing with illegal lumberjacks is really a violent struggle. Nguyen Dinh Thuan, Deputy Secretary of the Ia Rsai commune Communist Party Committee, said on Phap Luat TP HCM that even forest rangers cannot suppress the lumberjacks, let alone the commune’s authorities.

Thien Nhien va Con Nguoi newspaper has reported that nearly 1000 households in Bac Lieu province build houses illegally in the preventive forest areas and encroached the East sea protection corridor – the two important shields of the province in getting adapted to the climate change. Bac Lieu is believed to be one of the provinces and cities of Vietnam that suffers most from the climate change.

Statistics show that there are more than 3000 hectares of the coastal preventive forests and 55 kilometers of sea embankment. Since the last many years, 440 households with 2000 people have been living freely in the coastal preventive forests, while hundreds of households build houses right on the sea dyke protection corridor.

Most of the household settling there are poor people or minority people, who do not have land to cultivate and do not have stable jobs. The people usually destroy the forests illegally and prevent forests, illegally catch aquatic resources; thus seriously affecting the sea ecosystem.

C. V