|A tree stump left behind by unlicensed loggers in Quảng Bình national park. —Photo baoquangbinh.vn|Viet Nam News
QUẢNG BÌNH — More than sixty six large trees of rare species were found to have been illegally cut down in the core of a protected forest area in the central province of Quảng Bình.
On Wednesday, Phong Nha-Kẻ Bàng National Park confirmed the illegal logging had occurred in the park’s territory, leading to the loss of 45 ebony trees – listed as an endangered species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature – and 21 other trees of other rare and protected varieties.
The park’s director Lê Thanh Tịnh suspected the trees were cut down during November and December last year. Evidence from the scene showed the loggers had used handheld chainsaws.
Tịnh said the area is close to a road, on which construction is ongoing. The road is being constructed for and by the Cồn Roàng Border Guard Station and will be used for traffic to the province’s border with Laos.
Tịnh admitted the park rangers’ shortcomings had made the violations possible, but also said the border guard station shares responsibility.
Staff at the two stations that conduct checks on vehicles entering and exiting the park’s territory reported that no civilians were allowed to enter the area. The report said all vehicles carrying blue registration plates, denoting vehicles owned by a governmental agency, complied with the check rules. However, vehicles with red registration plates refused to obey due to army regulations.
The province’s Party Committee has ordered a swift investigation.
The housing and furniture industry in Việt Nam relies on natural timber and most of the country’s citizens believe owning natural wood items makes them look wealthy. Phong Nha-Kẻ Bàng National Park is a UNESCO world heritage site famous for its protection of animal habitats as well as the sustainable exploitation of its karst cave system. — VNS