HA NOI (VNS)— More than 450 instances of illegal deforestation were discovered in the first three months of this year, according to the Viet Nam Administration of Forestry.
In Bac Bien Ho Forest in the Central Highland province of Gia Lai, forest fire destroyed 160ha of wooded land.
While as many as 200ha of forest were destroyed, this represents a decrease from last year, when 220 more instances destroyed even more forest.
During an online Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development conference earlier this week that connected 63 provinces and cities, deputy director of the administration Nguyen Ba Ngai said that by the end of March, only eight provinces had completed afforestation plans – 4 per cent of the goal.
Nguyen Cong Nong, deputy director of the Tuyen Quang Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, complained that the province's afforestation efforts faced many challenges, as the State budget allocated only VND15 million (US$700) for a three-year period of work.
Local households also cannot achieve successful afforestation due to the lack of funds because they are not allowed to borrow capital with preferential interest.
Nong proposed hiring more forest managers. At present, the province has 280 forest rangers – nearly 200 short of the amount required by Government regulations.
Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Cao Duc Phat blamed province and city authorities' irresponsibility for the violations in forest protection.
Some provinces did not have enough manpower and had not found sources of funding for forest protection besides the State budget, he said.
Coming ministry inspections will focus on the central region, where there is the highest risk of forest fires.
Phat asked relevant agencies to speed up afforestation and raise awareness about forest protection. — VNS