|A nghiến tree that was found chopped down in Phong Quang Special Use Forest in Vị Xuyên District. The culprit has not been found. — VNA/VNS Photo Hồng Cừ|
HÀ GIANG — Valuable ancient trees in northern mountainous Hà Giang Province, some of which are hundreds of years old, are at risk of disappearing because of continued illegal logging that responsible agencies have been unable to curb.
Felled nghiến (Burretiodendron hsienmu) trees have reportedly been transported from Phong Quang Special Use Forest to the main road via the only access trail, which passes by the forest’s Management Board and ranger unit.
Phong Quang Special Use Forest covers more than 8,000 hectares of Minh Tân, Phong Quang, Thuận Hoà and Thanh Thuỷ communes in Vị Xuyên District. The forest has a large number of nghiến trees; their timber is valuable for its hardness and durability.
In 2016, the Government ordered the forest closed to commercial exploitation to avoid harmful logging and deforestation of the ancient trees. However, people have continued to harvest nghiến timber illegally.
Since early this year, many forest resource violations have been recorded.
This month, in the Lũng Chuối 2 area of Lùng Thiềng Village, Minh Tân Commune, three nghiến trees were found to have been chopped down. The trees had an average diametre of 1.5 metres. They were split into small parts and removed, leaving sawdust strewn on the ground.
On August 14, the remnants of five downed nghiến trees were found in Hoàng Lỳ Pả and Lùng Thiềng villages in Minh Tân Commune. Ninety-five cubic metres of wood was taken.
A month ago, three more of the ancient trees were felled in the same area.
Over two days at the start of March, loggers chopped down seven trees for over 142 cubic metres of wood.
The culprits have not been uncovered, although the only way to access the nghiến trees is a trail on the rocky mountain, not far from the forest’s management board.
A representative from the Phong Quang rangers unit said they did not have enough enforcement staff to cover the whole area, which lies on the border with China.
The illegal logging happened at night, with the culprits working in the dark and easily spotting the lights of patrols to evade capture.
A meeting was held between the provincial Police Department, the provincial Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, provincial border soldiers, and local authorities of Vị Xuyên District and Minh Tân Communes on October 15 to find solutions to the rampant illegal logging.
Nguyễn Đức Vinh, director of the provincial Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, said the ranger unit and the forest management board must clearly know their roles.
The forest ranger needed to clarify the responsibilities of staff in charge of patrolling the areas where illegal logging was found.
The management board must quickly impose measures to curb the exploitation, transport and purchase of illegal forest products in the area. — VNS