Thursday, June 29 2017

VietNamNews

Bắc Giang farmers deplete forest

Update: June, 12/2017 - 09:34
The northern province of Bắc Giang’s People’s Committee has asked authorities in Sơn Động and Lục Ngạn districts to take measures to better manage and protect forests in the localities. — Photo vksbacgiang.gov.vn

BẮC GIANG — The northern province of Bắc Giang’s People’s Committee has asked authorities in Sơn Động and Lục Ngạn districts to take measures to better manage and protect forests in the localities.

Since mid 2016, local farmers reportedly chopped down natural forest to make room for industrial trees which generate more income.

In May, 2016, nearly 200 people in Khe Táu Hamlet, Lục Ngạn District chopped down 63ha of natural forest which had been allocated to three local households in 1994.

The police investigation into the cause stalled as police failed to identify all involved parties.

Late last year, locals burned forest to make room for industrial trees but the fire not only destroyed their 23.7ha of forest but also another 28.7ha of forest of Mai Sơn Plantation.

Head of Bắc Giang Forest Protection Division Hà Minh Quý told Tiền phong (Vanguard) newspaper that last year, forest rangers recorded 73 deforestation violations. In the first half of this year, they encountered 30 cases of deforestation, with a total destroyed area of 16.7ha.

The deforestation was mostly in areas allocated to local farmers for management and protection, however many farmers chopped down the natural forest trees and planted industrial trees like Keo (acacia) or sandalwood trees.

Quý said that the deforestation occurred as farmers lacked production land and they could earn more money from industrial trees.

“Local authorities and forest rangers found it difficult to manage the forest as loggers chopped down trees on areas they were allocated by the Government,” he said.

Forest rangers now had to protect the forest from both illegal loggers and local residents, he said.

Vice head of Bắc Giang Province People’s Committee Dương Văn Thái said during a recent visit to the two districts that without proper management, the province could lose its 4,000ha of natural forest.

“It’s right to develop the economy but it’s not acceptable to make a trade-off between economic returns and forest conservation,” he said.

He also called on more communication to increase public awareness about forest protection. Farmers who are charged with managing and protecting the forest must agree not to chop trees down illegally, he said. — VNS

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