|Nguyễn Văn Cộng breeds shrimp and crab in mangrove forests in Kiên Giang Province’s Hòn Đất District. – VNA/VNS Photo Hồng Đạt|
KIÊN GIANG – The Cửu Long (Mekong) Delta province of Kiên Giang is developing mangrove forests in coastal areas and improving the livelihoods of households that protect forests.
It is growing new mangrove forests in the districts of An Biên, An Minh and Hòn Đất.
A project to create mud flats and growing mangrove forests in An Biên’s Nam Thái Commune has so far planted 35ha of new mangrove forests, according to the province Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.
The province is soliciting private investment in forest cultivation and protection, and is leasing out forests for developing eco-tourism, so far approving 26 such projects.
The province has zoned more than 79,800ha of forests, with special use forests accounting for 39,709ha, protective forests for 32,000ha and commercial forests for 8,100ha, according to the department.
Nguyễn Văn Dũng, director of the department, said the management and protection of forests had been done efficiently.
The province’s forest cover increased from 8.6 per cent in 2015 to 12 per cent last year, he added.
The forests are mostly in the U Minh Thượng region, Long Xuyên Quadrangle, Phú Quốc City, Kiên Hải District, the island communes of Kiên Lương District, and Hà Tiên City.
The allocation of mangrove forests for local households to manage has helped protect them and improve people’s livelihoods.
Besides protecting the forests, the households also breed aquatic species and livestock in them to improve their incomes, according to the department.
In Hòn Đất District, for instance, they earn an average of VNĐ150 – 200 million (US$6,500 – 8,700) a year.
The province has a coastline of more than 200 kilometres, but 80 kilometres have been eroded severely, affecting the livelihoods of local residents.
It has built 30 kilometres of embankments in some eroded areas in An Biên and An Minh districts and has petitioned the Government for funds for building embankments and creating mud flats for growing mangrove forests in the remaining areas.
The cost of building the embankments is estimated at around VNĐ900 billion ($39.1 million).
The province People’s Committee has approved plans for sustainably developing forests and developing them in combination with eco-tourism.
Its forest protection focuses on preventing illegal encroachment for other purposes, logging and preventing fires. – VNS