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July 15, 2020, 7:24 pm

Forests turn bare, exhausted

(15:45:10 PM 17/05/2013)
( - The poor forests should be improved by the afforestation instead of letting them get destroyed for economic projects.


Vietnam, afforestation, national park, forest land, afforestation yard


The specialists attending the workshop on the land use experience held by CODE, a consultancy institute, and Oxfam on May 12-15 all agreed that the forests in Vietnam are facing too many dangers.

The forests with no trees

Pham Quang Tu, Deputy Head of CODE, said that he has found many forests which look like forests if seen from outside, but it was stripped bare inside. The natural forest in Huong Khe district of the central province of Ha Tinh, is a typical example.

The reports from relevant ministries and branches said the standardized forest land accounts for 37-38 percent of the total area. However, Dr Dang Hung Vo, former Deputy Head of the Ministry of Natural Resources and the Environment, affirmed that the figure “only exists in a dream.” In fact, a lot of forests have been destroyed; the forest quality has decreased dramatically.

“The forests in the northwest have become stripped, while the forests in the Central Highlands have been decreasing rapidly,” Vo said.

He went on to say that in many localities, the local authorities allow to use the poor forests for economic development projects. However, in fact, the rich forests have also been developed for the economic purposes.

“It’s necessary to make local authorities and people understand that we need to protect the forests, and we not only try to protect the forest land,” Vo said.

Agreeing with Vo, Pham Quang Tu, a specialist, said a lot of the forests in the Central Highlands have been listed as poor forests and allocated to investors to develop economic projects.

However, Tu affirmed that there is a high wood reserve in the forests, while the projects developed by the investors just aim to exploit precious wood.

“As for the really exhausted forests, we should restore them with necessary measures instead of destroying them or using them for other purposes,” Tu said, adding that the area of natural forests in Vietnam has decreased sharply.

The new forest land lords

The surveys all have found out that the forest land at afforestation yards has been used ineffectively, though the Communist Party’s Politburo in 2003 released the Resolution No. 28 on developing state owned afforestation yards.

In many localities, it’s nearly impossible for the local afforestation yards to control the large land areas. Meanwhile, people lack land for cultivation. This then prompted afforestation yards to lease the forest land to farmers and turned them into the new “landlords.”

In other localities, the forest land was not allocated to farmers, but only to enterprises, thus creating social injustice. As a result, people tried to destroy forests to get land for cultivation, or appropriate the yards’ land, raising a lot of unsettled disputes.

The community consultation conducted by Oxfam and the National Assembly’s Legislative Institute has found that the lives of ethnic minority people have always been associated with the forests. In the past, they were allowed to contribute to the forest land exploitation and protection. Meanwhile, nowadays, they lack the land for both accommodation and production, which have made them stay hunger regularly.

Tu has attributed the low efficiency of the implementation of the Resolution No. 28 to the implementation method. Oxfam has suggested that the regulations on the afforestation yards’ land use and management should be added into the Land Law to be amended.


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