Thanh thất (Ailanthus triphysa) trees are planted on rocky mountains in Ninh Thuận Province’s Thuận Nam District. — VNA/VNS Photo Nguyễn Thành
NINH THUẬN — The cultivation of thanh thất (Ailanthus triphysa), an evergreen tree, on rocky mountains in Ninh Thuận’s coastal areas has helped increase the province’s forest cover and improve the incomes of farmers tending forests.
In 2015 the Thuận Nam District Protective Forest Management Board planted the trees on a trial basis on a total area of 5ha on rocky mountains in an area zoned for coastal protective forests.
They grew well despite prolonged dry weather and seemed appropriate for growing also in other areas.
The board then planted thanh thất saplings on more than 650ha.
Lê Xuân Hoà, its deputy head, said many of the trees are now 2.5-3m high and set to make the bare rocky mountains green in the next 10 years.
The tree, which can grow 20m tall, is an indigenous species that grows in forests across the country.
Thuận Nam has warm weather year round and poor, rocky soil that does not lend itself to growing forests.
In recent years the board had identified many species of drought-resistant trees such as Java olive, acacia, Australian pine, and river red gum for growing on rocky mountains, but they did not grow well because of lack of water and foraging by livestock.
The south-central province, the country’s driest, has a large number of domestic animals like goats and sheep, and farmers normally let their animals graze on mountains.
Besides greening mountains, thanh thất also helps create livelihoods for local farmers who protect and tend them.
Châu Hội, head of a community-based forest protection group in Thuận Nam’s Phước Nam Commune, said his group has 15 members who protect 450ha of forests.
They are paid VNĐ400,000 (US$17) per hectare per year for it, he said.
“With the money, the members have bought livestock to raise in the protected forests to earn an additional income.”
To improve protection, the board has allocated 2,147ha of forests to four community-based groups with 78 households as members in recent years.
Đăng Kim Cương, director of the province Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, said the planting of thanh thất trees has greatly helped revive forests in the province’s southern areas.
The province has zoned 204,200ha for forests including 155,400ha of existing forests.
It has stepped up measures to plant and protect forests in recent years and hopes to increase the green cover to 46.9 per cent by the end of this year, according to the department.
For this, it has mobilised resources and begun progammes and projects that support the planting of thanh thất and other local forest trees, and boosted advocacy about forest management and protection.
It has expanded forest-linked livelihood models to improve local incomes.
Last year it planted nearly 843ha of new forests to take its coverage rate to 46.8 per cent, according to the department. — VNS