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Natural forests under Flitch project being destroyed

Update: October, 03/2017 - 12:00
Several trees in natural forests of Flitch project were cut down. — Photo
Viet Nam News

PHÚ YÊN — Forests under the Flitch project in Tân Lương Ward, Sơn Hội Commune, Sơn Hòa District, are being destroyed to expand the planting area of acacia trees.

Forests for Livelihood Improvement in the Central Highlands, also known as Flitch project, aims to improve forest cover; strengthen the capacity of management and utilisation of forests and forest land for organisations, communities and households; and sustainably manage and preserve biodiversity to improve people’s income.

The project is being implemented in 60 wards of 22 districts in the provinces of Kon Tum, Gia Lai, Đăk Lăk and Lâm Đồng, as well as Phú Yên and Đăk Nông.

Thanks to the project, Huỳnh Văn Trọng’s family was given 6.69ha of land, while the family of Nguyễn Thanh Hà, deputy head of Sơn Hội Ward People’s Committee, Sơn Hòa Commune, was given 13.327ha of land.

After being granted land use rights in 2010, the two families started planting trees in 2012. Until September 2017, they proposed to exploit the plantation forests of acacia trees and were granted approval by the Sơn Hội Ward People’s Committee. However, in reality, they cut down hundreds of natural forest trees to expand the area of acacia trees.

The deforestation has upset several residents.

“The local authority prohibits people from cutting down trees in natural forests. Now, the destruction is happening publicly. The two families also hired trucks to gather wood along the Xuân Phước-Phú Hải road in Tân Lương Ward,” Nguyễn Văn Quý of Sơn Hội Commune said.

According to another resident Nguyễn Thành Đáng, several local families have not been given any farming land, while local officials and their relatives are always prioritised. Further, people are also not allowed to enter the woods. Meanwhile, the public deforestation issue has not been resolved.

On the other hand, Nguyễn Thanh Hà claimed his land was officially given by the authority. “I don’t know whether we cut down trees legally. However, as the document issued by Sơn Hội Ward People’s Committee allows us to exploit the planting area of acacia trees, we do it,” he added.

Trần Ngọc Tây, head of Sơn Hội Ward People’s Committee, stressed that the ward had never permitted exploitation of natural forests. Additionally, Hà only asked to cut down acacia trees.

According to Lê Văn Bé, head of Phú Yên Province’s Forest Protection Department, the department is conducting an investigation into the two families.

About the Flitch project, Nguyễn Lý Nguyên, director of Phú Yên Province’s Agriculture and Rural Development Department, said the department had handed over plantation forest cover under the Flitch project to local authorities. However, some families flouted regulations, cutting down trees in the natural forest besides exploiting the plantation forest area.

The department asked authorities of Đồng Xuân, Sơn Hòa and Sông Hinh districts where the Flitch project is being implemented to manage and protect the forest area and request people not to cut down trees in the natural forest.

Trần Hữu Thế, deputy head of Phú Yên Province People’s Committee, ordered the Agriculture and Rural Development Department to collaborate with the provincial Forest Protection Department and Sơn Hội Ward People’s Committee to resolve the deforestation issue. – VNS



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