Hydropower plant to swallow national park

VietNamNet Bridge – About 60 hectares of forests in the core area of the Yok Don National Park in Dak Lak province would be eliminated when the Drang Phok hydropower plant is built.

Competent agencies have given the nod to the plan to use some area of the special use forest (SUF) to build the Drang Phok hydropower plant. The plant’s investor is the HCM City-based Tecco, a construction and new technology application firm.

Vast forest area to be cleared up

The Drang Phok hydropower plant has the estimated capacity of 26 MW which would put out 100 million kwh per annum and the estimated investment capital of 900 billion dong.

The plant’s affected area would be some 320 hectares, including the 59.88 hectares of forests which would be cleared to give place to the plant’s relevant items.

The plant would be built on Serepok River and in the areas put under the strict protection by the Yok Don National Park.

The report about the forest situation was made by the Dak Lak Agriculture-Forestry Programming, Surveying and Designing Center, which is now the Dak Lak Agriculture and Rural Development JSC--showed that the majority of the forests on the 59.88 hectare forest area are the poor forests.

Only 7.14 hectares of natural forests have been found as “rich” and “very rich.” This is the primeval forest with a lot of big unexploited trees, where there are a lot of precious trees and the average wood reserves of 300 cubic meters per hectare.

According to Nguoi lao dong, the hydropower plant would be located in the central area of the Yok Don National Park, some 30 kilometers far from the provincial highway No. 1 (the eastern border line of the park), and some 10 kilometers from the Vietnam – Cambodia border area.

The forest area has been nearly untouched by people. One can see luxuriant trees in the area along the Serepok River, many of which are precious big trees. Especially, the forest area is the accommodation for a lot of wildlife, including hoofed animals – the typical characteristic of the dry dipterocarp forest ecosystems.

Ecosystem to be destroyed

In 2009, competent agencies allowed Tecco to make fact finding trips to the forest area and approved the plan to use 63 hectares of forests to build a hydropower plant. In May 2012, Tecco sent a dispatch asking to reduce the forest area to be used to 59.88 hectares.

Of this, 49.88 hectares would become the area for the hydropower plant for ever, while the other 10 hectares would temporarily serve the hydropower plant construction project. After the plant is built, the investor would grow trees to give back to the forest to the Yok Don National Park.

Tran Van Thanh, Acting Director of the Yok Don National Park, said he fears that the hydropower plant would spoil the ecosystem in the region, and badly affect the protection and management over the national park.

During the construction process, machines, equipments and workers would cause the environment pollution, while the noise would drive precious animals away. Especially, the adjustment of the stream flow would spoil the living environment of the aquatic creatures on Serepok River.

Thanh also said that when the plant becomes operational, the river water level would rise, thus creating favorable conditions for illegal lumberjacks to carry illegally chopped down trees on waterways.


Vietnam, environment, hydropower plant, forest, electricity, project