|More than VNĐ28.5 trillion (US$1.23 billion) has been earmarked for a project to protect, restore and sustainably develop forests in the Central Highlands until 2030. — VNA/VNS Photo
HÀ NỘI — More than VNĐ28.5 trillion (US$1.23 billion) has been earmarked for a project to protect, restore and sustainably develop forests in the Central Highlands until 2030.
The project, which was approved by Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc last week, aims to cut forest losses and restore the coverage rate to 49.2 per cent, or 2.72 million hectares.
The funding, of which 27 per cent will come from the State budget and the rest from official development assistance and other sources, will be used to protect the current 2.24 million hectares of natural forests, stop deforestation and encroachment on forest land, and fight illegal logging and the trade of forest and wildlife products.
The project has a target of planting 7,100 more hectares of special-purpose and protective forests, 136,000 ha of productive forests and 48.4 million scattered trees.
Under the project, forestry policies will be built to form community-based forest management systems and attract investment from all economic sectors involved in the production of non-wood forestry products.
In 2016, Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc ordered the closure of more than 2.2 million hectares of natural forests in the Central Highlands. The move aimed to stop over-exploitation after statistics from the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) showed that about 300,000ha of natural forest had been cleared from 2010-14.
MARD’s survey showed that forest coverage in the Central Highlands stood at 55 per cent in 2000, but fell to 46 per cent in 2016. The quality of forests in the Central Highlands has reportedly declined sharply. Nutrient-rich forests account for only 14.5 per cent. Three years after the closure, the region is reportedly facing severe illegal logging, causing a decrease in forest coverage and losses to the local budget. — VNS