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Authority to report on illegal logging claims

Update: April, 07/2012 - 09:33

QUANG NAM — A delegation from the Viet Nam Administration of Forestry is inspecting deforestation in central Quang Nam Province following instruction from Deputy Prime Minister Hoang Trung Hai.

The move was made following reports about recent deforestation en masses by local people in valleys with hydro-power projects.

The administration is required to report the inspection result to Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung before April 20.

Focus will fall on deforestation of upstream protective forest in Bac Tra My, Nam Tra My, Phuoc Son, Dong Giang, Tien Phuoc, Nam Giang and Tay Giang districts.

These localities reported that illegal timber exploitation and transport have become more complicated, badly affecting the environment, forest protection and management tasks.

In the past, many rare and precious forests in the area between Nam Giang and Tay Giang districts were considered unapproachable, but thanks to the reservoirs, illegal loggers could now easily get access to these forests, chopping down hundreds of cu.m of timber, Deputy Head of the provincial Forest Management Unit Dang Dinh Nguyen told Lao dong (Labour) Newspaper.

Meanwhile, local residents living in these areas were also found to destroy the forest for farming purposes.

Local residents in Tien Phuoc District, for example, have cut down trees to plant crops, destroying nearly 60 ha of rare and precious forest.

Meanwhile, more than 48ha of protective forest in Bac Tra My District have been deforested over the past five years, which comes to around 700cu.m of timber.

Deputy Director of Song Tranh 2 Protective Forest Management Board Nguyen Vinh Hien said deforestation by local residents still existed as many farmers who have been resettled for hydropower projects still lacked land for agricultural production while they have not found new jobs.

"To prevent further deforestation, local rangers have increased inspection and encouraged local residents to stop destroying the forest while allotting areas for them to protect to help increase incomes," he said.

However, he said, the lack of human resources hindered the forest protection task.

The provincial People's Committee has decided to set up a steering committee on forest development and protection during the 2011-20 period.

The committee will focus on guiding such issues as construction and implementation of forest development and protection plans, forest fire prevention, control and increase inspection over deforestation, illegal transport and trade of forest products.

In the first quarter of this year, local rangers discovered 290 cases of violation, seizing more than 420cu.m of timber.

The province has nearly 426,000ha of forest with total wood reserves of around 30 million cu.m, more than 388,000ha of which is natural forest.— VNS

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