21/06/2016 09:32 GMT+7 Email Print Like 0

Government declares closing of natural forests

Dak Lak, June 20 (VNA) – Up to 2.25 million hectares of natural forests in the Central Highlands are not allowed to be open to commercial projects, said Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc.

The Government leader announced the closing of natural forests at conference in Dak Lak province’s Buon Ma Thuot city on June 20, which aimed to seek solutions to achieving sustainable forest recovery in the region in order to cope with climate change during 2016-2020.

Even thin forests will also not be replaced by industrial tree plantations, he said, explaining that the current area of rubber, coffee and industrial trees is enough.

He required the entire political system, the business community and population to join hands in promoting sustainable forest recovery and development.

The police, procuracy, court and army sectors are urged to team up with each other in the fight against deforestation.

Facilities processing natural wood must be shut down under the supervision of competent agencies and the public. Besides, forest plantations should be revamped in a bid to better control the area of virgin forest, he said.

In a parallel effort, the PM made an order to stop granting licences to hydropower projects that are subject to forest policies, and project owners who violate regulations on forestation.

Describing deforestation, which occurred in 41 percent of the total forest coverage in the Central Highlands over the past three decades, as an alarming problem, PM Nguyen Xuan Phuc underlined the need to raise the awareness of all-level Party Committees and authorities of the issue.

The key problem lies with forest ownership as only 4 percent of the total forest area was under the control of households. Meanwhile, the lost amount is managed by organisations and businesses, the leader noted.

He called on localities to take more feasible and sustainable solutions in a bid to fulfill the target of raising forest coverage in the Central Highlands to 59 percent in 2020.

The Central Highlands spans the southern part of Truong Son mountain range. Therefore, forest protection and development in the region is significant to water resources, ecological environment and socio-economic development of south central and southeastern costal provinces.

The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development reported that the total area of forest and land zoned for forestry in the region stood at nearly 3.4 million hectares. The area of forest land decreased 180,000 hectares compared with 2010.

From 2010 and 2014, regional forest reserves dropped from 327.5 million cu.m in 2010 to 270.5 million cu.m in 2015.

In 2015, competent agencies uncovered 6,034 cases of violations of regulations on forest protection and development, up 463 cases against the figure recorded in 2014.