|A forest in Bình Phước Province’s Bù Đăng District. — VNA/VNS Photo
BÌNH PHƯỚC — The policy of payments for forest environmental services in Bình Phước Province has helped protect and develop forests, and improve the livelihoods of forest protecting households.
The southeastern province began implementing the policy in 2013 and it has achieved effective results in terms of economy, environment and society, according to the provincial Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.
Under the policy, households, forest owners and firms that participate in protecting forests are paid an annual fee calculated on each hectare of forest that they protect.
Many households and community-based groups in the province have participated in protecting forests.
In the Bù Gia Mập National Park, which has the province’s largest primitive forests, the park’s management board has attracted nine community-based groups with more than 300 members participating in protecting the park’s forests.
Forest protection group No.1 in Đắk Ơ Commune’s Hamlet 3 in Bù Gia Mập District has nearly 100 members and is protecting about 2,700ha of forests belonging to the national park.
Besides cultivating crops on their farmlands, the group’s members inspect and patrol the forests, and this helps improve their income and protect the forests.
“The members take their turns to patrol and protect the forests. The forests protected by the group have not been damaged by forest fires or illegal logging,” said Điểu Ma Giang, head of the group.
The members are paid forest environmental services fees every quarter, he said, adding that the money amount is not large but creates motivation for the members and the community to protect the forests.
Forest protection households also have additional income from harvesting products such as honey, mushroom and other forest resources.
The province had more than 171,600ha of forests as of last year, including 55,850ha of natural forests, according to the department.
Most forests are located in Bù Đăng, Bù Gia Mập, Lộc Ninh and Đồng Phú districts.
In 2013-21, the province collected more than VNĐ244 billion (US$10.2 million) from firms that use forest environmental services such as hydropower plants, clean water producing plants, and establishments using water resources for industrial production, according to the department.
During the period, the province paid more than VNĐ219 billion ($9.2 million) to forest protection households and forests owners, it said.
Nguyễn Văn Long, deputy director of the province's Fund for Forest Protection and Development, said the implementation of the policy has played an important role in forest management and protection.
“It has provided money for forest owners to manage and protect forests in the context that the province’s budget for forest management and protection is still limited,” he said. “It has mobilised the participation of communities and households, especially ethnic ones, in protecting forests, thus enhancing the efficiency of forest management and protection.”
The province has had 30 cases of violating forest management and protection in the first nine months of the year, down 21 cases against the same period last year, according to its Statistics Office.
It has planted 403ha of new forests in the first nine months of the year, up 41ha against the same period last year, said the office. — VNS