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Central Highlands’ residents cut down forests to get land for cultivation

VietNamNet Bridge - The protective forests in Kon Tum province have been ravaged in recent years.
VietNamNet Bridge - The protective forests in Kon Tum province have been ravaged in recent years.  
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Dozens of hectares of the protective forest along Highway No 24, from the Kon Ray district towards Quang Ngai province, are burnt and devastated. On the land, cassava fields have arisen.

In the Mang Den bypass area, which is between Kon Ray and Kon Plong districts, the forests might have just been burnt, because some big trunks were still smoldering.

There was a large signboard installed in the area, which said it was a watershed protective forest and any activities of land clearing and farming are prohibited. 

However, behind the signboard, the bare land could be seen. There were some solid tents to serve production.

The protective forests in Kon Tum province have been ravaged in recent years.
The devastated forest is located right on the top of the Mang Den Pass, the area which is prone to landslide.

Not only the areas along the Highway No 24, but the forestland areas in Hieu Commune and along the Dong Truong Son Road (the eastern part of Truong Son Mountain) have also been appropriated by people. One could see large felled trunks with diameter of 30-40 cm lying amid cassava trees with new sprouts.

A local man said he could not understand why the local authorities did not discover the deforestation though the ravaged forest area is located next to the road.

An official report showed that in Hieu Commune, the forestland put under the control of the Mang La SFE, 12 deforestation cases have occurred so far this year with more than 3 hectares of forest having been burnt and ravaged.

There are several reasons behind the massive deforestation. People, who have seen the farm produce prices increasing, have rushed to clear forest to get land for cultivation. However, analysts believe that it is hydropower projects which prompted people to ravage forests.

Tens of people in Kong Pling and Kon Pieng hamlets of Hieu commune said they devastated the forest to get land for farming because they had no more land after their land was taken back to make room for the Dak Re hydropower plant.

Vu Van Bac, director of Kon Plong Forestry Company Ltd, confirmed that people destroyed the forest because they needed land for agriculture. 

The loose management of the local authorities is also a reason. The Kon Tum Forest Rangers’ Unit only found two cases of deforestation which occurred on a small area of 0.1 hectares in Tu Mo Rong district.

The forestland in Kon Tum province has shrunk in recent years. The districts of Kon Plong, Dak Glei and Sa Thay are the only localities which still have large forest coverage.


Thien Nhien

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