Central Highlands losing forest bit by bit

By Tran Hoa   April 6, 2023 | 05:34 pm PT
Central Highlands losing forest bit by bit
Forest in Kon Plong District of the Central Highlands province of Kon Tum. Photo by VnExpress/Tran Hoa
The area of ​​natural forest in Vietnam's Central Highlands has decreased from 3.8 million to 2.1 million hectares over five decades.

In 1975, the Central Highlands was the capital of Vietnamese forestry, with 3.8 million hectares of natural forest, covering 70% of the whole region.

These days, the forest area in the region has dropped to only 2.1 million hectares, Ha Cong Tuan, former Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, said at a seminar this week on economic development in agriculture and forestry in association with forest protection and development in Buon Ma Thuot, the capital of Dak Lak Province.

From 1976 to 2005, the Central Highlands lost about 34,000 hectares of natural forest each year on average.

After the Secretariat of the Communist Party of Vietnam issued Directive 13 in 2017 to strengthen forest protection, deforestation had decreased. But still, the region has continued to lose 25,000 hectares each year.

Some 78% of forest loss is due to conversion of use purposes, while illegal deforestation accounts for only 6%, plantation exploitation 4%, forest fires 1%, and 11% other causes.

Tuan proposed that the government implement a policy to take back more than 300,000 hectares of forest land that has been illegally encroached upon by locals.

Nguyen Dac Nhan, deputy director of the Department of Land Resources Planning and Development at the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, said that there are still shortcomings in Vietnam's policies and laws on the management and use of forest land.

In the coming time, the government needs to review, amend and supplement these regulations, he said.

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