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August 15, 2020, 8:46 am

Teakwood forests ravaged as local officials do nothing to stop illegal acts

(11:45:48 AM 19/07/2014)
( - Although reporters have shown local officials many photos as evidence of deforestation in the Than Sa-Phuong Hoang Nature Reserve, the illegal cutting down of teakwood trees continues unabated.


Nguyen Quang Lich, director of the reserve, said that all the big nghien trees (Burretiodendron hsienmu) were chopped down 15 years ago and now there are only small trees, about 5-7 meters high.


However, reporters said they had noticed a quite different situation.


H, 24, a farmer in Tan Tri Commune, told reporters that he could not make enough money to cover his basic needs with maize and rice fields, so he sometimes worked as a hired timber carrier to earn extra money.


The young man said he gets up very early in the morning to go to Mun Hamlet in Nghinh Tuong Commune, where he waits to be hired by the “big bosses”.


H said he did not know where the nghien timber came from. He said it would be better not to talk much or to raise questions. He only knew that he needed to carry timber to a house near the 1B Highway.


He received VND200,000 for every shipment, he said. Sometimes he brought back two shipments a day and earned an income equal to at least one rice crop.


However, H could not do the job for a long time. “The timber was very heavy. I have been told that I have sciatic nerve problems. Now I only can take care of my rice fields and ox grazing,” he said.


V, a woman in Tan Tri Commune, also said carrying timber is now the main source of income for many local households.


“A group of us were told to climb the mountain and bring timber to the bottom of the mountain, from which timber would be carried away by motorbikes or horse-drawn carriages.”


V said that she could see that big trees had been cut down with engine saws.


V said that it seemed to be very easy to fell trees and carry timber out of the forest, as if the forest rangers did not exist.


“We once met a group of forest rangers when we were carrying timber on our backs. They did not say anything, just looked at us and then went away,” she said.


“It is quite a surprise,” said Nguyen Duc Thinh, Chief Secretariat of the Vo Nhai district’s People’s Committee, when reporters showed him pictures about  illegal tree logging and timber carrying.


Like Lich, the director of the reserve, Phan Quoc Thu of the reserve said that there were no more big nghien trees in the natural reserve because the trees were chopped down 15 years ago.


Lich said he believes the timber is from the Na Ri area of Bac Kan province. For many years, nghien timber has been transported from Na Ri to Lang Son province through Vo Nhai.

Nong Nghiep

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