Primary forest coverage shrinks to 0.25 percent in Vietnam

By Dang Khoa   November 15, 2020 | 05:01 pm PT
Primary forest coverage shrinks to 0.25 percent in Vietnam
Soldiers are mobilized to put out a forest fire in Nghe An Province, central Vietnam, June 28, 2020. Photo by VnExpress/Phuong Linh.
Vietnam's primary forest area accounts for 0.25 percent of 14.6 million ha of forested land with an estimated coverage of nearly 42 percent.

The figures was presented by Oemar Idoe of the German development agency Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) at a national conference on the management of systems of special-use forest zones and forest protection and development through 2020 in Lam Dong Province last week.

He said sustainable forest management and conservation of biodiversity assets and ecosystems need additional efforts and strong attention from government agencies as quoted in Kinh Te Moi Truong, an environmental economics publication under the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment.

The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development's Vietnam Administration of Forestry stated there are about 4.64 million ha of protection forest across the whole country, including 3.95 million ha of natural forest and 0.69 million of planted forest.

The total area of natural forest decreased from 4.3 million ha in 2010 to 3.95 million ha in 2019, while the area of planted forest increased slightly from 0.61 million ha in 2010 to 0.69 million ha in 2019.

Current figures on protection forests are very limited, relying on the ministry's forest inventory census of 2016.

This data shows that the natural forest with medium and higher levels of biodiversity in the protection forest area stood at over one million ha and accounted for 29.8 percent.

According to the General Department of Forests (GDF), Vietnam had set the goal of reaching 2.4 million ha in coverage of special-use forest by 2020.

Until now, it has only reached over 2.3 million ha with 167 special-use forests, including 33 national parks, 57 nature reserves, 14 species/habitat conservation areas, 54 landscape protection zones and nine zones for scientific experiment.

The problem with increasing population is a threat affecting the sustainable development of special-use forests. Specifically, the demand for residential land, agricultural land, and demand for timber and forest products is increasing, resulting in increasing pressure to convert forest land to other land types, over-exploitation or illegal deforestation.

Meanwhile, the exploitation and hunting of rare and precious fauna and flora still occurs in special-use forests and surrounding areas.

In addition, the increasing construction of infrastructure like traffic routes, urban areas, dams and hydroelectric projects shrank the natural habitats of forest fauna and flora in special-use forests.

Climate change developments that resulted from forest fires, landslides and flooding are also reasons behind the drop in forest coverage.

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