|A woman of La Hủ ethnic minority group in the northern mountainous province of Lai Châu gave her thumbprint signature to receive her shares from the forest environmental services collected in 2020. — VNA/VNS Photo Quý Châu|
HÀ NỘI — The Việt Nam Administration of Forestry (VNFOREST) aims to collect VNĐ2.8 trillion (US$121.7 million) from forest environmental services this year.
Under this policy, forest service users like tourism businesses or hydropower plants will have to pay according to their use of forest resources to forest owners, who are local individuals, households, organisations or communities.
According to VNFOREST Deputy Director Phạm Văn Điển, forest carbon sequestration and emission reduction services, a new feature of 2021, will add between VNĐ300 to 500 billion to the sector’s annual income from environmental services.
Last year, the revenue from those services stood at VNĐ2.56 trillion, meeting 91 per cent of the yearly target.
The number fell short of expectations due largely to severe water shortages at large hydropower reservoirs in the north like Hoà Bình, Sơn La, and Lai Châu between the fourth quarter of 2019 and the second quarter of 2020, said the Việt Nam Forest Protection and Development Fund (VNFF). The shortage affected the performance of hydropower companies.
In addition, the COVID-19 pandemic impacted the production and operations of businesses employing these services.
The fund said revenues from forest environment services supported 226 forest management boards and 138,000 forest owners, while creating incomes for 81 forestry companies and livelihoods for more than 172,000 families in mountainous areas, helping lift their living standards.
Revenues from forest environmental services have become a sustainable source of finance that helps to increase the value of the forestry sector as well as contributes to GDP growth, according to the fund.
Điển said the revenues come from exploiting the forests so the collection of the revenues should be re-invested into the protection and development of forestlands. Some of the revenues are used in efforts to improve forest management, preserve biodiversity, create jobs, sustainable livelihoods and raise public awareness.
He said the current amount still does not reflect the true benefits the forests have brought about.
According to Điển, forest environmental services income is now mainly sourced from hydropower plants and firms producing clean water.
Experts recommended collecting environment service fees from other sources like ecotourism businesses, industrial production establishments, and aquaculture facilities. VNS