600-ha forest to be turned into dam

By Viet Quoc   September 4, 2023 | 01:00 am PT
Authorities in the central Binh Thuan Province plan to use a 600-hectare natural forest area to build a reservoir.
600-ha forest to be turned into dam

The design of Ka Pet irrigation dam.

The dam, with a capacity of over 51 million cubic meters, was approved by the National Assembly at a cost of VND874 billion (US$36.28 million).

The reservoir will serve agricultural irrigation and water regulation downstream, as well as civilian and production uses.

Photo courtesy of Binh Thuan Management Board of Agriculture and Rural Development Projects

600-ha forest to be turned into dam

This forest of more than 619 hectares in My Thanh Commune, Ham Thuan Nam District, is where the Ka Pet reservoir project will be deployed.

According to the project's environment impact assessment report, of the area taken for the dam, 22% is special-use forest, 0.08% is protective forest and 72% is production forest. Around 40 hectares, or 6% of the project area, is not designated as forest area.

600-ha forest to be turned into dam

The ancient forest has been where the Rai ethnic people have been living for hundreds of years.

It is part of the Nui Ong Nature Reserve and Mong River-Ka Pet protected forest.

600-ha forest to be turned into dam

Nguyen Van Quang, head of the Deo Nam forest management station and who has spent 12 years as a ranger in the My Thanh forest, said he was "very sad" to know that the forest would be cut down, but would follow the policy.

600-ha forest to be turned into dam

A resin tree in the My Thanh forest is surrounded by bushes and bamboos for a diverse ecosystem.

600-ha forest to be turned into dam

A tortoise looks for food in the forest. The biodiverse environment in the forest also means multiple food chains.

Locals have encountered several animal species in the forest, like monkeys, boars, hedgehogs, and lizards.

600-ha forest to be turned into dam

An eagle glides above My Thanh forest.

600-ha forest to be turned into dam

The Da Ban Nho Stream runs through the forest. Locals often visit the place for fun during the holidays.

There are three streams running through the forest: Ba Bich, Da Ban Lon and Da Ban Nho. Once the dam is built, a section of the Ba Bich Stream will be blocked.

600-ha forest to be turned into dam

A crepe-myrtle tree more than 30 m tall, whose width is over 2 m, stands in the area planned for the reservoir.

Forest rangers inspect the forest every day now to protect it, since there are people seeking to exploit it to the maximum before it is cut down.

Aerial view of the forest patch where the reservoir has been planned.

The 600 ha of natural forest includes 137 ha of special forests in the Nui Ong nature reserve. Thanks to its diligent protection by local residents, the forest is largely untouched by humans.

The forest is set to be auctioned for its timber.

In accordance with the country’s forestry laws, Binh Thuan will have to plant over 1,844 ha of forests in other locations to replace it. That is expected to cost VND177 billion.

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