|A giant tree in An Tráng forest, Đông Sơn District, Quảng Ngãi Province. — Photo tuoitre.vn|
QUẢNG NGÃI — Looking up through the leaves of ancient trees in An Tráng forest, 67-year-old Nguyễn Tấn Minh from Bình Tân Phú Commune, Bình Sơn District, Quảng Ngãi central province, expresses his unbound joy about how local residents have come together to keep the homeland green.
For them, protecting the forest and trees is a deeply meaningful activity.
Bình Tân Phú Commune has 18 hectares of natural forest, including 3.7 hectares managed by local authority and the remaining cared for by local residents.
Minh lives in a house near An Tráng forest gate and a historical site of Đông Sơn District, and believes that protecting the forest and historical site is his duty and responsibility.
He says forest is not a common property, but the image of the locality. Preserving it for posterity is a great responsibility for both the elderly, and children as they grow.
"You don't have to go to the high mountains to see the old trees. You can see a lot of ancient trees in An Tráng forest. Everyone has a responsibility to protect them," Minh tells Tuổi Trẻ (Youth) newspaper.
"I watch TV and hear that people should do good things for nature. I don't know what they do to protect nature in other localities. Here, we maintain An Tráng forest to not only keep the homeland green but also to be responsible to our predecessors and the next generation," says Minh.
He says there are many ancient trees in this forest, and it will take six or seven people to hug around a single tree.
"It takes hundreds of years to have such a forest, so we have to preserve it for our children."
Between August 1970 to April 1975, Đông Sơn District was established, including five communes in the southeast of Bình Sơn District and nine communes in the east of Quảng Ngãi City.
An Tráng forest was chosen as the base of the local Party Committee. It has witnessed many fights between warring forces.
Nguyễn Văn Phúc, vice chairman of the People's Committee of Bình Tân Phú Commune, says local people preserve An Tráng forest as it is a treasure.
"The forest is well protected. It is also proof to teach the young generation love and responsibility to keep forests," Phúc says.
There are seven natural forest in Bình Tân Phú Commune and they are all well protected, Phúc says.
Covering an area of seven hectares, Phú Vinh forest is a rich biodiversity site with many species of birds and animals.
During the drought season, many areas in Bình Tân Phú Commune have a shortage of clean water, but the people living next to the forest always have enough water due to the forest.
Nguyễn Ngọc Sơn, 60, from Phú Vinh Village, says in many localities, people encroached on forest land for production and acacia cultivation. But in Phú Vinh Village, local people say "no" to cutting trees for building houses or other purposes.
If they find dead trees, they notify the local authorities.
According to village regulations, firewood is harvested only once a year and is required to be auctioned.
The money collected from the sale of firewood is used to support people in sickness and poverty and other activities of the village, Sơn says, adding that people who violate regulations on forest protection are strictly fined.
Sơn has been involved in forest protection for 15 years and not received any support from his work. He says he will continue to do this job to keep his homeland green. — VNS