Central Highlands’ forests damaged by assigned forest protectors
VietNamNet Bridge - The program of assigning individuals and households to protect forests in the Central Highlands has failed as the protectors destroyed the forests or turned a deaf ear to deforestation.


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The forests in the Central Highlands play a very important role in the region, and affect the water sources, environment and socio-economic development of central coastal areas, the eastern part of the southern region and Mekong Delta.

Dak Lak provincial authorities have allotted 5,026 households and communities, mostly ethnic minority groups in the districts of Ea Sup, Buon Don, Krong Bong, Ea Kar, Cu M’gar and Krong Ana, to manage and protect 36,056 hectares of forestland.

Dak Lak provincial authorities have allotted 5,026 households and communities, mostly ethnic minority groups in the districts of Ea Sup, Buon Don, Krong Bong, Ea Kar, Cu M’gar and Krong Ana, to manage and protect 36,056 hectares of forestland.

To date, 10,610 hectares of forests have been found destroyed, or appropriated and used for other purposes.

According to the Dak Lak agriculture department, households responsible for protecting the forests have cut down forests to have land for cultivation. 

In Ea Sup district, 4,000 hectares of forests have been assigned to locals and they have cleared 2,000 hectares.

The most serious situation can be seen in Ea Bung commune, where 13 groups of households take care of 1,735 hectares of forest. Meanwhile, 1,264 hectares have been cleared and used for agricultural production.

In Buon Don district, nearly 1,000 hectares of forests assigned to people have been devastated.

Dak Nong province has discovered that 5,781 out of 8,321 hectares of assigned natural forests, or 69.4 percent, have been appropriated.

According to the Dak Nong agriculture department, the forests assigned to the community have low reserves, and are located in remote areas.

The assignment of forests to local people to manage and protect was praised as a good idea, as locals could also use the forests for their living.

However, the devastation of large areas of forests in the Central Highlands shows that model has failed.

Siu Ting, deputy chair of Chu A Thai commune in Gia Lai province, said locals do not want to protect forests because they cannot expect big benefits. 

The forests assigned to them for protection are exhausted and located far from residential quarters. Many households have decided to give back the forests to the state.

According to Dak Lak agriculture department, forest protectors can expect benefits equal to 2 percent of wood when the exploitation period comes. However, they will have to wait 10-20 years.

Meanwhile, the households which undertake forest protection are poor and don’t have capability and facilities to implement measures to protect forests.


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Kim Chi
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