HA NOI — The issuing of Decree 117 on the organisation and management of Special Use Forests (SUF) was an important step in the fight to protect our environment, said Hua Duc Nhi, Vice Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development in the capital city yesterday.
Forest management officers patrol at the Copia special use forest in Moc Chau District in northern Son La Province. — VNA/VNS Photo Ngo Lich
"The Decree will also help to strengthen Viet Nam's legal framework for biodiversity preservation and conservation," said Nhi.
"The new document will allow Vietnamese laws and international conventions to operate side by side while avoiding overlapping and inconsistency," he added.
According to Nhi, Viet Nam's SUF system was established nearly 50 years ago under the Law on Forest Protection and Development and the Land Law. The system's main function is to preserve and conserve the diverse forest eco-system and biodiversity as well as the natural landscape, cultural and historical value and the environment.
In the period under review, with the government's efforts and support from the international community, about 2.2 million hectares have been identified as SUF. In that area, roughly 160 zones have been marked off as examples of important eco-systems on land, wetland and by the sea.
Viet Nam has been recognised as one of 16 countries with a high level of bio-diversity in which many precious and endemic animals live.
Deputy Director General of the Directorate of Forest Ha Cong Tuan pointed out difficulties and challenges facing Viet Nam in preserving and conserving the rich bio-diversity of the SUFs.
"Illegal logging and hunting as well as the harvesting of non-timber products have seriously undermined the flora and fauna in the forest, particularly those listed in the Red Book of Endangered Species," said Tuan.
"The increase in population, the import of exotic animals, serious pollution and climate change pose threats to the SUFs."
"The issuance of Decree 117 will help with the decentralisation from central agencies to local agencies in managing SUFs while enabling people who live in the buffer zones to enter the forest to exploit non-timber products and at the same time, protect the forest. Such a benefit sharing mechanism is very useful," said Tuan.
Juergen Hess, Co-ordinator of the GIZ Programme on the Management of Natural Resources in Viet Nam said the natural resources portfolio of the GIZ had been working with the Department of Nature Conservation under the Vietnamese Directorate of Forestry in a project which started in November 2010. The project will last 10 years with objectives to improve the effectiveness of the institutional, legal and policy framework for biodiversity conservation on forest eco-systems in Viet Nam.
"There are three pilot areas at local levels, including Ba Be National Park in northern Bac Can Province and Na Hang Nature Reserve in northern Tuyen Quang Province; Pu Hu and Pu Luong Nature Reserves in the central province of Thanh Hoa; and the Bach Ma National Park in the central province of Thua Thien Hue," said Hess.
He expressed his conviction that Decree 117 would make forest conservation more efficient and effective. — VNS