|Tourists visit a mangrove forest in Ca Mau Province. The province has approved a plan to lease out forests to develop eco-tourism and breed aquatic species. — VNA/VNS Photo Anh Ton
HCM CITY (VNS) — The Ca Mau Province People's Committee has approved a plan to lease out forests to develop eco-tourism and breed aquatic species.
Le Van Su, director of the province Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, said the plan would be implemented in the second quarter of this year.
The southernmost province will lease 700ha of forests in the Ca Mau Cape National Park in Ngoc Hien District, mostly to people living in the park. While they can practise aquaculture and offer eco-tourism services, they will not be allowed to cut down trees or dig.
The lessees will be responsible for protecting the area of forest they rent.
The lease contracts will be for three years.
The programme will be overseen by Ngoc Hien District, the province Department of Agriculture and Rural Development and the park.
Le Dung, deputy chairman of the Ca Mau Province People's Committee, said the lease period was short and the leased area limited since the plan was in the experimental phase.
During the pilot period, the province would weigh the plan's pros and cons, he said.
If its positives outnumbered negatives, the plan would be expanded to manage the forest better and improve the lives of locals, he said.
In recent years the forest shrimp-farming model has helped many people in Ca Mau earn stable incomes while also protecting the province's submerged forests.
The province has more than 100,000ha of forests, including 72,880ha of submerged forests.
Ca Mau is a peninsula and its submerged forests have been shrinking in recent years because of several reasons, including erosion.
The My Binh rivulet mouth in Phu Tan District's Phu Tan Commune, for example, has been severely eroded and mangrove trees here have been uprooted by strong waves.
Erosion has occurred over a total length of more than 40km along the province's coasts, according to its Irrigation Sub-department.
The Ganh Hao river mouth, West Sea Dyke, and the Ca Mau Cape National Park, a world biosphere reserve, are among the province's most eroded areas.
Ca Mau authorities have taken several measures to check the erosion, including building dykes and planting submerged forests along the dykes.
Nguyen Long Hoai, head of the Irrigation Sub-department, said protecting dykes and submerged forests was one of the important measures to cope with climate change.
The province was planting more new submerged forests and replanting submerged forests in the eroded areas, he said.
Ca Mau will be one of the Cuu Long (Mekong) Delta provinces hardest hit by climate change, a simulation done by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment has found. — VNS