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Forestry sector told to focus on restructuring

Update: April, 11/2015 - 09:32
A pine forest in Da Lat. The national forestry sector has been instructed to focus on raising productivity, quality and value. — VNA/VNS Photo Ngo Lich

DAK LAC (VNS)— Deputy Prime Minister Hoang Trung Hai has asked localities nationwide to focus on forestry restructuring by improving productivity, quality and value.

Hai said this would add value to timber, expand the market and boost the forestry value chain.

Deputy PM Hai made the request while chairing a meeting of the National Steering Committee on the Forest Protection and Development Plan for 2011-20 in the Central Highlands province of Dak Lak on Thursday.

Hai urged localities to strictly implement forest planting project to replace damaged areas while reshuffling forestry enterprises and rolling out measures to prevent and fight forest fires.

He also requested additional efforts in forest protection and strengthened state management over forest land, adding that all violations were to be strictly handled.

At the meeting, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development has released a report blaming negligence for much of the big reductions in forest area and timber reserve in Central Highland provinces.

The document was made public in a response to local media's recent report about the shrinking forest area in the Central Highlands region including Dak Lak Province and at the request of Deputy PM Hai.

According to a national forest inventory jointly conducted by the Viet Nam Forest Authority and five Central Highland provincial people's committees, the losses stem from neglect by forest management authorities and poor efforts by forest owners and forest rangers.

The survey, which was carried out between 2013-2014, said the region has a total of 2,567,000 ha, of which natural forest accounts for 2,254,000ha.

There are also 323,310ha of planted forest with a total timber reserve of more than 302 million cubic metres.

Compared to the year 2008, the natural forest area in the Central Highland has fallen by 358,800ha while the planted forest area has increased by 131,000 ha.

Various factors are blamed for the quick fall in natural timber coverage. The five main reasons are:

Firstly, removing 94,817ha of low production forest to grow fruit trees, rubber, coffee and plants for processing.

Secondly, 33,706ha of forest was cut down to build hydro-electric plants; transport infrastructure projects and public facilities.

Thirdly, 88,603ha of forest was illegally cut down for agricultural production and growing industrial crops.

Fourthly, 99ha of trees were harvested for lumber and 456ha were destroyed by fire.

According to a forest inventory conducted in 2014, Dak Lak Province had 528,145 ha.

The previous inventory conducted from 2008-2014, 86,239ha of natural forest was cut down while only 33,982 ha was replanted as new forest.

According to the report, the loss of forest land in Dak Lak is mainly due to local socio-economic development, particularly a project to use 128,523ha of forest to grow rubber trees and thousands of ha of forest for other purposes. All of this was done without permits from authorised agencies.

In addition, rampant acts of forest destruction and land encroachment for agriculture production, including growing industrial crops, took away a total of 24.6 per cent of the lost forest areas – or 88,603 ha. — VNS

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