|A mangrove forest in which aquatic species are bred in Bạc Liêu Province. The forest - aquatic species farming model has helped forest protection households achieve steady incomes. — VNA/VNS Photo Tuấn Kiệt|
BẠC LIÊU — The Cửu Long (Mekong) Delta province of Bạc Liêu is speeding up afforestation and stepping up protection of existing forests.
Lưu Hoàng Ly, director of the province's Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, said forests are being developed to preserve bio-diversity, make them tourism attractions, adapt to climate change, and improve locals’ livelihoods.
The department and some companies have successfully researched to grow new forests in mudflats, especially in Bạc Liêu City and Gành Hào Town, he said.
It regularly propagates forest protection and management regulations, he said.
The province has forests on half of the 7,800ha zoned for them, mostly mangrove considering its coastline of 56km.
The mangroves prevent coastal erosion and protect fishery resources, according to the department, but in the process are themselves affected by strong winds and rising sea levels.
Authorities have handed them over to households and companies to protect them while exploiting their resources sustainably.
They will continue doing so to develop eco-tourism, according to the department.
Its project to protect forests in 2011-20 saw the planting of more than 200ha in Bạc Liêu City and Hoà Bình and Đông Hải districts.
The project has helped protect and develop mangrove forests along the coast.
The province has zoned 1,265ha of mangrove forests to be grown on mudflats in 2021-25.
There are 895 households living near forests that earn their livelihoods mainly from protecting the forests and breeding aquatic creatures.
Vũ Hữu Trúc in Hoà Bình District’s Vĩnh Hậu Commune has been allocated an 8.5ha mangrove forest for protecting and exploiting its resources.
He breeds aquatic species in the forest and earns around VNĐ150 million (US$6,500) a year from it, he said.
The households that tend forests normally breed shrimp, crab and fish in mangrove forests and harvest 550-700kg per hectare per year.
Besides, authorities grant them VNĐ450,000 ($19) per hectare a year for protecting the forests, and they also offer eco-tourism services.
Nguyễn Thị Thuỷ in Hoà Bình District’s Vĩnh Hậu Commune has been offering tourism services in her forest since early last year.
In her forest, visitors can catch fish and other aquatic species, cook them and enjoy local dishes.
To attract more tourists to forests, authorities in coastal areas are planning to establish tourism co-operatives and co-operative groups that will be responsible for forest management and protection and linking up with travel companies to develop suitable tours. — VNS