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Bình Phước suspends six forest projects

Update: August, 29/2016 - 11:45
The southern province of Bình Phước will stop clearing natural forest land for the planting of industrial trees with high economic value, the provincial authority has announced. — Photo thanhnien.vn

BÌNH PHƯỚC — The southern province of Bình Phước will stop clearing natural forest land for the planting of industrial trees with high economic value, the provincial authority has announced.

Bình Phước Province’s Department of Agriculture and Rural Development reported that it had initially suspended six projects for developing cultivation, husbandry and planting industrial trees of high economic value.

The suspension follows an order by the provincial People’s Committee last week in response to Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc’s authorisation last June to close natural forests nationwide. Nearly 2.2 million hectares of forest land was deemed at high risk of being exploited and having its designated use changed illegally.

The department said it would review the six projects being implemented in the province that have the aim of turning nearly 700ha of forest land into land for husbandry and cultivation, particularly for high value industrial plants such as cocoa, pepper and cashew.

The authority said it would report the process of the suspensions to the provincial People’s Committee as soon as possible.

The projects include one plantation of rubber trees on 262ha of forest in the Tà Khiết region under the management of the Tà Khiết Forest Management Board, two 100ha rubber plantations being implemented by the Phước Long Rubber Company, one 224ha husbandry development being implemented by the Sông Bé Rubber Company, and two 80ha areas of forest land that was for ethnic minority people to develop cultivation and husbandry.

The department director Trần Văn Lộc said while the province’s authorities were going to suspend the six projects, they were also considering continuing others in the districts of Đồng Phú and Bù Gia Mập.

The PM announced the closing of natural forests at a conference in Central Highland Đắk Lắk Province’s Buôn Ma Thuột City in June. It was aimed at seeking solutions to achieve sustainable forest recovery in the region in order to cope with climate change during the 2016-2020 period.

Phúc also ordered a stop to granting licences for hydropower projects that are subject to forest policies, and to project owners who violate regulations on forestation.

In Bình Phước, forests are located mostly in the northeast and southeast, as well as along the northern border with Cambodia and the western border with Tây Ninh Province. Much of the rest of the area is used to grow perennial cash crops. The total agricultural area is 293,700ha. There are 21,900ha of specially used land and 5,700ha of residential land. — VNS

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