National Park loses 100 trees a month to illegal loggers

VietNamNet Bridge - At the Yok Don National Park, 100 trees are cut down every month on average. In 90 percent of cases, illegal loggers responsible for the damage cannot be found.


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Do Quang Tung, director of Yok Don National Park, admitted that deforestation at Yok Don has become more and more serious. 

On August 19, forest rangers discovered two logs of perfumed wood (Pterocarpus macrocarpus) that had been chopped down in Ward No 417. 

Just some days later, on September 5-6, they found about 100 cubic meters of logged woods on the edge of the stream. This might be the place for illegal loggers to gather logs of wood before they are carried away. On September 16, they discovered a truck carrying illegally logged wood.

A local authority official said that more than 50 percent of local residents have been living on logged illegal wood. They are backed by rings of criminals who pay for vehicles and essential goods. 

He said that if no more drastic measures are taken to stop the deforestation, Yok Don will be depleted in the near future.

It is estimated that three trees in Yok Don are chopped down every day, which means that the national park loses 100 precious trees a month. To date, 470 illegal logging cases have been found so far this year, while 200 cubic meters of wood have been seized.

Tung complained that it is more and more difficult to fight against illegal loggers who are getting aggressive. In late July, when forest rangers asked illegal loggers to hand in wood, the loggers resisted with knives.

In late August, when illegal loggers were discovered carrying precious wood away for the national park, they attacked forest rangers with knives, sticks and stones and ran away.

According to Tung, logging wood and trading wood legally is one of the main sources of the income of residents around the Yok Don National park. A cubic meter of wood can buy four tons of rice. Meanwhile, a small log of wood which can be carried on a backpack can be sold for VND300,000.

The high profit has prompted local residents to give up farming and shift to logged wood for sale. 

Tung admitted that the national park and local authorities are powerless in dealing with the illegal logging, saying that forest rangers could catch illegal loggers red-handed in 10 percent of cases.

He blames this on the limited number of forest rangers and the lack of instruments. Yok Don is one of the country’s largest national parks with 115,545 hectares, but there are only 217 forest rangers and workers. Under the current standards, there must be one forest ranger for every 500 hectares of forest. 

Chi Mai


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