Viet Nam News
HÀ GIANG — Thousands of households in the northern mountainous province of Hà Giang have committed to use and protect parcels of forest near their homes, receiving monthly environmental payments that help them to improve their livelihoods, the Nông Thôn Ngày Nay (Countryside Today) newspaper reported.
Lù Xín Cải, a resident of Quang Tiến Hamlet, Hoàng Su Phì District, said that his household has been assigned over 2ha of forest and is allowed to go into the forest to exploit extra products in the forest.
Thanks to the payment for forest environmental services, his family could buy a TV, motorbike and animals to raise.
Lù Văn Thanh, head of Ma Lù Súng Hamlet of Bản Nhùng Commune, said that the hamlet has a common rule for forest protection banning locals from chopping down trees.
"Residents must ask for local authorities’ permission if they want to cut trees for woods to build houses. Otherwise, violators will be penalised or reported to authorities," Thanh said.
Organisations such as the elderly association, association of war veterans and youth unions also receive the payments and have established a fund giving loans at low interest rates or zero per cent rate.
The fund set up by Tả Nhìu Commune of Xín Mần District is now worth dozens of billions of đồng.
Lò Thị Mẩy, a villager of Tả Nhìu Commune, said “In 2015, my family borrowed VNĐ10 million (US$440) from the fund and bought black pigs. One year later, we had enough money to pay for the loans. Now I have 12 pigs worth dozens of millions of đồng.”
Quite a few other locals who received loans are enjoying a better life along with increased awareness of environmental protection.
The fund has been used to improve local facilities and help move houses prone to landslides and floods out of risky areas.
In Na Quang Hamlet, Quản Bạ District, the locals collected VNĐ80 million ($$3,500) of payment to make a new road.
Cao Đạo Quang, director of management board of Tây Côn Linh special purpose forest, said that the payments for forest environmental services have big impacts on local awareness. The residents no longer damage the forest in order to farm. — VNS