Viet Nam News
ĐẮK LẮK — The expansion of artificial forests and roads around Ea Sô Natural Reserve in the Central Highland province of Đắk Lắk has been blamed for the increased encroachment by timber loggers.
Vice director of the natural reserve Nguyễn Quốc Hùng said on Tuesday the natural reserve shared an approximate 20km border with Krông Pa District of Gia Lai Province in the north.
The district has seen natural forests being replaced with rubber farms, which help loggers easily penetrate to the core of the natural reserve.
Hùng said the loggers, usually in groups of 10 or 20, rode motorbikes and carried guns while entering the reserve for logging and hunting.
To the east, the natural reserve shares a border with Sông Hinh District of Phú Yên Province. There are four timber processing workshops on the forest edge that allegedly consume illegally-logged timber.
The Krông H’năng Hydro Power Plant on Krông H’năng River, built in 2007, dried up the lower part of the river, and is a new path for encroachers to enter the natural reserve, according to Hùng.
The Ea Sô Natural Reserve also shares a border with Krông Năng and Man Đrắk in Đắk Lắk Province, where ethnic groups, including Tày, Nùng, Ê đê and M’nông live. The ethnic groups usually go into the forest for hunting or to burn land for cultivation.
In the first nine months of this year, forest rangers in the natural reserve detected 35 cases of illegal logging and penalised 38 people for chopping, transporting timber and carrying weapons.
Since 2011, they have busted 67 cases involving 81 loggers, 43 vehicles and seven sawing machines and seized more than 7,300 cu.m of timber.
Vũ Đức Minh, head of a forest protection station, said the rangers faced high pressure with increased encroachment by illegal loggers.
They had also assigned staff to the border areas to timely detect illegal loggers, Minh said, adding that there were no roads for patrolling, causing difficulties for them.
Meanwhile, he said, loggers took advantage of the increasing water level of Ea Pich River and Krông H’năng River to transport the timber.
Ea Sô Natural Reserve’s managers and local forest rangers requested further cooperation among provinces to better protect the natural reserve from illegal loggers. — VNS