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VN to earn $60.4m from firms for forest services

Update: April, 06/2015 - 08:49
Viet Nam hopes to collect a total of VND1.3 trillion (US$60.4 million) from a programme titled Payments for Forest Environmental Services (PFES) this year. — Photo nghean

HA NOI (VNS) — Viet Nam hopes to collect a total of VND1.3 trillion (US$60.4 million) from a programme titled Payments for Forest Environmental Services (PFES) this year.

This is similar to the amount collected last year, said Pham Hong Luong, deputy director of Viet Nam Forest and Protection Fund.

Luong was speaking in Ha Noi at a meeting in late March to discuss payments for environmental services.

Thirty-seven of the country's 63 provinces have established a forest-protection fund to look after nearly six million hectares of trees.

Those paying to use them include water-suppliers, hydro-power companies and tourist agencies.

The programme was set up to provide incentives for individuals and communities to protect forests by compensating them for any costs incurred.

Workshop participants said that four years after it was set up, PFES had created positive changes in forest management.

They added that it not only altered awareness about protecting and developing forests, but provided a way to help eradicate hunger and poverty in mountainous areas.

On average, each household earns VND1.8 million (US$83.6) per year from PFES.

Environmental services regulates the water cycle, soil formation and forest growth to absorb carbon from the atmosphere and protect biodiversity.

However, the workshop was told that many problems existed in forest environmental services.

One was that Government agencies were often slow at doing things, leading to delays in PFES payments.

Vo Dinh Tho, director of the southern Lam Dong Province's Forest Protection and Development Fund, said a fixed payment of VND492,000 (US$22) was paid to a forest owner for each hectare looked after each year.

The annual payment to households in the province is between VND12 and 15 million. The region has high forest coverage and many hydro-electricity plants.

Tho suggested that the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and relevant agencies work out ways to solve any difficulties. — VNS

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