Thanh thất (Ailanthus triphysa) trees, which are resistant to drought and can grow well in poor soil, are planted in mountainous areas in Ninh Thuận Province’s Thuận Nam District. — VNA/VNS Photo Nguyễn Thành
NINH THUẬN — The south-central province of Ninh Thuận has speeded up afforestation to increase its forest cover from 45.6 per cent last year to 47 per cent by the end of this year.
It has zoned an area of 204,200ha for the purpose, according to its Forest Protection Sub-department.
It has large tracts of vacant lands and bare hills, especially in coastal areas in Thuận Bắc, Ninh Hải, Ninh Phước, and Thuận Nam districts, which face a high risk of desertification.
To increase the forest cover, the province will grow 505ha of protective forests and special-use forests, and replant 302ha this year, according to the sub-department.
It will also regrow 3,027ha of natural forests and allocate 65,987ha of existing forests to households and organisations to protect and sustainably exploit their resources this year.
Dương Đình Sơn, deputy head of the sub-department, said the protection and planting of forests face difficulties this year because of drought.
To meet the coverage targets, the sub-department seeks to strengthen measures to protect existing forests and choose trees that are drought resistant, he said.
Those entrusted with managing the forests have seedlings and other inputs ready for planting when there are rains and the weather is favourable.
They have advocated the benefits of having forests locally, and so the public participates in programmes and projects to grow and protect forests.
They collaborate with authorities to monitor forests to prevent illegal logging and destruction.
The province annually pays households VNĐ400,000 (US$17) per hectare of forest they are allocated to manage.
It provides rice to households that participate in afforestation of hills and protection of forests.
It has developed livelihood models for households related to afforestation and protection of forests.
They include animal husbandry and cultivation of fruit and other high-value plants in forests to increase households’ incomes.
Trees that are resistant to drought and offer high value like cashew, Java olive trees, acacia, and thanh thất (Ailanthus triphysa) are increasingly grown in the province.
The Thuận Nam District Protection Forest Management Board has planted more than 350ha of thanh thất trees in protection forests in coastal areas since 2016.
Trần Ngọc Hiếu, head of the management board, said the board faces difficulties in growing protection forests due to inclement weather, unsuitable terrain and the breeding of animals in forests.
Young trees are often eaten and destroyed by animals but thanh thất trees are not and grow well, he said.
The management board is set to petition the province Department of Agriculture and Rural Development to allow households to intercrop soursop in thanh thất forests to increase their incomes.
With such forest protection measures, the province has reduced illegal logging, illegal destruction for growing other crops and forest fires in recent years, according to the sub-department. — VNS