Timber poachers claim 934 ha of forest in nine months

By Xuan Hoa   October 23, 2016 | 09:03 pm GMT+7
Timber poachers claim 934 ha of forest in nine months
Wood seized from an illegal logging cases in Quang Nam Province. Photo by VnExpress/Cong Thanh

Authorities busted nearly 1,600 illegal logging operations between January and September.

Vietnamese authorities say they lost nearly 934 hectares to timber poachers this year.

The ministry of agriculture reported that illegal logging cases increased nearly 28 percent from a year ago to 1,594 in the first nine months this year.

The total area stripped by illegal loggers grew by 10.3 percent from the same period last year.

Vietnam maintains an ambitious plan to reduce deforestation by around 20 percent next year and increase forest coverage from 40.84 percent in 2015 to 41.3 percent next year.

In June, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc ordered a ban on clearing natural forests to protect the remaining 2.25 million hectares. The government hopes to prevent abuse of a policy that allows companies to clear degraded forest areas to plant commercial trees.

According to a report released by the agriculture ministry, the country lost 123,000 hectares of forest to illegal logging between 2010 and 2014.

Rampant illegal logging in Central Vietnam led to the widespread firing and demotion of forest rangers and managers, this year.

Nguyen Duc Luyen, vice chairman of Dak Nong Province in the Central Highlands, said at a conference last year that Vietnam is unable to stop deforestation since illegal logging is either condoned or overlooked by authorities.

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