Environment

October 26, 2020, 9:00 am

Tra Vinh province: protective forest ravaged for firewood

(15:43:33 PM 09/05/2014)
(Tinmoitruong.vn) - Thousands of cork trees in the Con Nang Protective Forest in the Cau Ngang District of Tra Vinh Province have been felled for firewood.

 

Local people mourn over felled trees

 

“They began chopping down the trees last October,” said Bui Van Phong, a local man in My Long Nam Commune. “About 40,000 square meters of forest have been cleared. I heard that they would dig ponds for a shrimp hatchery there,” he continued.

Phong pointed to two ferries parked near the forest area where cork trees have been chopped down. One of the ferries was laden with cork wood, small and large boards. The other was still waiting for timber.

In order to carry timber out of the forest, loggers have dug a large canal, 10 meters in width and 1 kilometer in length for boats and ferries to move around.

When reporters ventured further into the forest, they saw a small shed for workers to stay. Thousands of felled trees were seen lying in abundance on the ground. All of the trees were large, with diameters of nearly one meter.

When asked why there were so many cut trees, while there were no loggers present, the guide suggested that the loggers might have fled upon hearing that some officials would soon visit to learn about the illegal logging.

“Local people love the cork forest very much, because it helps prevent the sea waves, protect the land from landslide and keep the air fresh for people to breathe,” said Vo Thanh Tiep, Party Committee Secretary and Head of Nhi Hamlet in My Long Nam Commune.

“They have gotten angry when seeing the forest being devastated and they have reported to me about this. I have also reported the deforestation to higher authorities. But no one has come so far to settle the problem,” he said.

 

Who can help protect the cork forest?

 

It was the Tra Vinh Provincial Police which sent staff to the locality to develop the Con Nang forest. Later, the provincial authorities allocated the forest to the local agriculture department and the forest rangers’ unit for management.

In April 2013, the Tra Vinh provincial People’s Committee released Decision No. 691, claiming that since the cork forest was not developing well, the trees should be chopped down to obtain land for mangroves.

However, all the locals insist that the cork trees were still growing very well at the time they were chopped down.

An officer of the Tra Vinh provincial forest rangers’ unit said the unit has been informed about the tree felling, while affirming that it is illegal to chop down trees in the important protective forest area.

“We know local people protest against the deforestation. But we cannot do anything,” he said. “It is really a delicate matter”.

Source: VNN
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