Forest devastation continues as agencies neglect their jobs
VietNamNet Bridge - The deforestation cases found recently, including 10,000 hectares in Quang Tri province, the fokienia forest devastation in Quang Nam province, and the use of 575 hectares of forest for a husbandry project in Binh Phuoc province, all show problems at supervising agencies.

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FAO once ranked Vietnam second in the world in the number of primitive forest devastation cases, just after Nigeria. From 2008 to 2013, the Central Highlands lost 130,000 hectares of forest, including 107,400 hectares of natural forest and 22,200 hectares of planted forest.

A report released at a conference in June discussing solutions to restore forests in the Central Highlands held showed that in 2010-2014, the forestland in five provinces of the Central Highlands fell by 180,000 hectares. In the last 30 years, 1.5 million hectares of forests, or 41 percent of the total area in the region, have been lost.

At the conference, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc ordered the closing of natural forests and strictly prohibited use of natural forests for growing industrial crops.

The deforestation cases found recently, including 10,000 hectares in Quang Tri province, the fokienia forest devastation in Quang Nam province, and the use of 575 hectares of forest for a husbandry project in Binh Phuoc province, all show problems at supervising agencies.
Just one month after the instruction was released, in July 2016, the Binh Phuoc provincial People’s Committee licensed a business to run an animal husbandry and rubber plantation project on an area of 575 hectares of natural forests.

Machines and workers were sent to the area to chop down trees hundreds of years old. 

Local people reported the deforestation to the local authorities many times.

Amid the public’s protest, in mid-August 2016, the provincial agriculture department decided to suspend the project. However, by the time the decision was released, a large area of the forest, hundreds of years old in Ward No 69, had been cleared.

Hundreds of hectares of forests disappeared one month after the local authorities’ decision to convert forestland into a site for a husbandry project.

About 10,000 hectares of 21,795 ha of forestland under control of the Ben Hai River Basin Forest Management Board have been devastated. 

However, the deforestation case, which the management board’s head admitted was the "biggest ever case in Quang Tri province" was only discovered by the press and  investigations conducted by agencies in early August 2016.

On July 9, local people noticed a large volume of fokienia wood hidden in a place just 500 meters away from the Dak Oc border gate checkpoint. Another large volume of fokienia wood was also found hidden on the grounds of the Nam Giang border gate customs agency.

Deputy chair of Quang Nam province Le Tri Thanh said the illegal loggers in these cases may have been under the protection of high-ranking officials.


Dai Doan Ket

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