Vietnam to enlarge forest cover to reduce greenhouse gas emissions

By VnExpress   April 13, 2017 | 11:51 am GMT+7

The country has pledged to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 8 percent by 2030.

Vietnam targets to raise its forest coverage to 42 percent of land over the next four years, from nearly 41 percent now, in order to reduce gas emission, the government said. 

By 2020 the Southeast Asian nation aims to enlarge the forested area to 14.4 million hectares (35.6 million acres) while providing support to agricultural and fishery production so that the sectors would not resort to deforestation, the government said in a statement, following its approval of a national program on reducing emissions and sustainable management of forests by 2030. 

Vietnam’s forest area had exceeded 14 million hectares at the end of 2015, including 10.2 million hectares of natural forest and 3.9 million hectares of replanted forest, representing a national forest cover of 40.84 percent, based on government data.

Between 2021 and 2030, the country aims to further lift the forest coverage to 45 percent, according to the national program known as "REDD+ until 2030". REDD+ stands for countries' efforts to reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation, foster conservation, sustainable management of forests, and enhancement of forest carbon stocks.

The program will be executed nationwide starting this year, with a focus on areas vulnerable to forest loss and forest degradation, the statement said.

At the 21st Conference of the Parties (COP21) to the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change in 2015, Vietnam promised to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 8 percent compared to business as usual by 2030 and the reduction rate can be 25 percent if comprehensive support from the international community is in place.

It kept unchanged the commitment at the COP22 last year.

Illegal logging cases between January and September 2016 in Vietnam jumped nearly 28 percent from a year ago to 1,600, raising the total area stripped by illegal loggers by 10.3 percent to 934 hectares, the agriculture ministry has reported.

In June 2016, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc ordered a ban on clearing natural forests. The government hopes to prevent abuse of a policy that allows companies to clear degraded forest areas to plant cash crops.