|Chư Pưh District's forest rangers regularly together with the community teams patrol forest in order to promptly prevent acts of invading the forest. — VNA/VNS Photo|
GIA LAI — Forests in Chư Pưh District in the Central Highlands province of Gia Lai are facing a high risk of illegal forest destruction.
To minimise deforestation, local authorities have assigned new forestland to local people under contracts signed between the Forest Protection Department and households.
Phạm Văn Đạo, head of Chư Pưh District’s Forest Protection Department, said mostly ethnic minorities households in the district had registered to protect the forest.
Local people are also encouraged to detect and prevent forest protection violations.
“The allocation of forests like this is very practical because the forest areas have been strictly protected by local people,” Đạo said.
“All destruction of forests is promptly detected and prevented by the local people and authorities are promptly notified for timely handling.”
A total of 43 households in the district’s Ia Phang Commune registered to protect nearly 500ha of forests last year, according to the department.
Chư Pưh District’s Forest Protection Department has worked closely with local authorities to patrol to prevent logging and timber transportation.
Rah Lan Phu, Head of Forest Protection Team of Ia Ke Village, Ia Phang Commune, said households were excited to help protect the forest.
“Through forest protection contracts signed with authorities, local people have more income and enjoy practical benefits from the forest," he said.
Ia Phang Commune is one locality performing well in growing and protecting forests through advocacy.
Chairman of Ia Phang Commune People’s Committee, Trần Hoàng, said communal forest rangers regularly run patrols with community teams to prevent damage to the forest.
The commune holds meetings every week in villages to encourage people not to fell trees for cultivation and to plant new trees on deforested lands.
Chư Pưh District currently has more than 21,000ha of forest in six communes, of which the natural forest is nearly 12,000ha, the plantation forest is more than 1,600ha, mainly rubber, acacia and eucalyptus trees, and the rest is protective forest.
The forest area is not concentrated due to the complex topography, so managing and protecting the forest can be tough.
To deal with this situation, the district Forest Protection Department has sent eight forest rangers to six communes to assist local authorities in building community teams responsible for forest management and preventing forest fires.
Thirteen grassroots forest fire prevention teams and nine community groups for patrolling the forest have attracted 900 members.
The number of forest violations in the district has been significantly reduced.
In 2020, Chư Pưh District authorities saw 40 cases of forest law violations, down by eight cases compared to 2019.
The province’s Forest Protection Sub-department has petitioned the Government to increase the fees paid to ethnic minority households for forest protection.
Gia Lai wants to increase its forest coverage rate to 47.5 per cent by 2025. VNS