HA NOI (VNS)—Party Committee Secretary of the Central Highland province of Dak Nong, Tran Quoc Huy, has asked authorities to review the role of caretakers responsible for looking after forests in the Nam Nung Natural Reserve Centre.
The task will require provincial authorities to review the current legal provisions governing the responsibilities of forest owners, and district and communal authorities overseeing forest protection.
The inspection is expected to take place between July 15 and September 30.
After the inspection, authorised agencies will need to produce clear evidence of forest damage in order to propose a new model to bolster natural reserves protection.
The provincial authority would also hand down penalties to those who had violated the rules, said Huy.
The request comes as recent statistics released by the provincial Forest Management Department showed numerous cases of violations. From 2011, 36 cases of forest protection violations were recorded, of which, 31 were related to wood exploitation. Other cases of illegal logging and illegal animal hunting were also reported between 2011 and 2014.
Trends show a recent surge in illegal wood exploitation. In the first three months of this year, authorities found 46 cubic metres of wood being smuggled out of the reserve to be sold on the market. All of the wood was later identified as rare species.
Meanwhile, the management board of the centre and forest rangers have failed to detect the violations. Initial findings have shown rangers failed to conduct regular patrols around the centre, allowing illegal loggers to open a connecting road between the Krong No, Dac Glong and Dac Song districts. The oversight reportedly allowed loggers to traffic high volumes of wood from the centre for a long period of time.
The incident was detected by the province's mobile rangers and forest fire fighters.
The provincial People's Committee has previously suspended Huynh Cong Can from his directorship over Nam Nung Natural Reserve Centre. The suspension was handed down within 30 days of Can's failure to enforce adequate measures to prevent the increase in illegal logging. The committee is also considering removing Can from his post.
The Nam Nung Nature Reserve Centre is the second largest of its kind in the province and covers an area of more than 12,300 hectares. — VNS