BAC KAN (VNS)- Forest managers of the Ba Be National Park in the northern province of Bac Kan have discovered that 15 precious nghien trees, which are hundreds of years old, have been cut down in Cho Don District's Nam Cuong Commune.
The managers said that on November 17 or 18 the perpetrators used chainsaws to cut down the trees, whose scientific name is Burretiodendron hsienmu. The trees weighed a total of 40 cubic metres. At the present time, one cubic metre of nghien can be sold at about VND15 million (US$710).
Deputy Chairman of the provincial People's Committee Nong Van Chi inspected the scene yesterday, along with representatives from the local Forest Management Department, police and district people's committee.
Some parts of the trees were discovered separated into blocks, but had not been transported out of the park.
The initial investigation showed that the loggers are local residents who have joined forces with wood traffickers to cut down the trees.
The Bac Kan Police, in co-ordination with the forest managers, are researching the transportation methods used to remove the chopped wood.
The provincial authorities condemned the incident as serious deforestation.
Chi told Viet Nam News on the phone yesterday that the Ba Be National Park Management Board must take a lot of the blame.
He said that they had neglected their agreed responsibilities as they did not organise regular and thorough patrols and inspections.
Although the trees were cut down on November 17 or 18, the damage was not detected until two days later.
The management also did not work with the people's committee in the communes in managing different areas of the park.
Chi also criticised them for waiting too long before reporting the case to the provincial authorities, leaving difficulties for the investigation.
He confirmed that the provincial people's committee is studying and defining the responsibility of each individual in the case, and handing out appropriate punishments. Local authorities have discussed managing the access of chainsaws for residents.
"Nghien is a very hard type of wood and it can take one person many days to cut it down by axe. But it takes only 20 minutes to cut down a nghien tree using a chainsaw," said Chi.
A report released by the Bac Kan Forest Management Department showed that in the first half of this year nearly 50 valuable nghien trees, equal to a total of 160 cubic metres, have been illegally cut down. — VNS