Mekong Delta to increase forest cover

By VNA   April 2, 2023 | 08:11 pm PT
Mekong Delta to increase forest cover
Mangrove forest in Ca Mau Province in Vietnam's Mekong Delta in 2021. Photo by VnExpress/Thanh Hang
The Mekong Delta region is growing more forests to protect the environment from climate change and mitigate the impacts of natural disasters.

Nguyen Van Ut, chairman of the Long An People's Committee, said his province plans to grow 650 hectares of new forests this year, including 150 ha of special use and protective forests.

The special-use forests in particular help protect bio-diversity and conserve genetic resources and the environment, he said.

Forests also enable economic development and help create jobs and improve incomes, he said.

To achieve the afforestation target this year, the People's Committee has instructed relevant agencies to strengthen advocacy to enhance public awareness of the benefits of forests.

It has also instructed districts and forest managers to ensure they have plans in place to prevent forest fires.

Long An has more than 21,800 ha of forests, including 1,800 ha of special use forests and 2,000 ha of protective forests with the remaining 18,000 ha being commercial forests.

In Tra Vinh, authorities aim to plant 800 ha of new forests, mostly mangrove, in 2021-25 to increase the province forest coverage rate to 4.2%.

Tran Van Dung, deputy director of the province's Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, said the province has preferential policies for growing new forests and protecting existing ones.

It subsidizes households and organizations who manage at least 0.3 ha of forest land their seedling expenses up to VND37 million (US$1,600) per hectare, he said.

They are paid VND500,000 ($21) per hectare annually for protecting forests of to up to 15 ha in the case of individuals and 30 ha in the case of households.

They manage 5,000 ha of mangrove forests, also breeding aquatic spices such as shrimp, mud crabs and blood cockles there and earning VND60-70 million ($2,500-3,000) per hectare per year from it.

Ben Tre Province plans to grow 171 ha of new forests this year to add to its existing 4,470 ha of mostly mangrove.

The mangrove forests are not large but play an important role in coping with climate change and provide livelihoods to locals, according the provincial Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.

But the mangroves are affected from coastal erosion and other factors, and so the province pays attention to afforestation, it said.

Last year, 140 ha were planted.

Ca Mau Province, home to the largest mangrove forests in the country, planted 300 ha last year.

It has 94,000 ha of forests, mostly mangrove.

Tran Van Thuc, deputy director of its Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, said authorities are allocating more forests to households, individuals and organizations to protect and exploit their resources.

Authorities in the Mekong Delta, home to Can Tho City and 12 provinces, also plan to grow more new trees in residential and other areas this year.

Can Tho plans to plant 1.4 million new trees along roads, rivers and canals and in parks, gardens, schools, industrial parks, and other areas.

Long An aims to plant nearly 1.6 million trees in residential and other areas.

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