VietNamNet Bridge - Three hydropower plants in central Vietnam are located in a core ecological area, one in a natural reserve’s ecological rehabilitation zone. 


The development of hydropower has caused the loss of 200 hectares of special use forest and seriously affected biodiversity conservation.

The Phong Dien Sanctuary in Phong Dien district in Thua Thien-Hue province, established in 2002, covers an area of 41,500 hectares with 43 wards. 

It conserves natural resources and biodiversity, populations of rare and precious species, endemic species of the low mountain relief of the Central Highlands, and maintains the ecological value and function of watershed protection of the area.

Construction sites

Phong Dien Nature Reserve is recognized as one of the last habitats of ga loi lam mao trang (Lophura edwardsi), the interior zone of the Endemic Bird Area (EBA) in the low mountain relief of the Central Highlands. 

There are six out of nine restricted-range species in the EBA, including Arborophila merlini and the short-tailed macaque (Jabouilleia danjoui).

Three hydropower plants in central Vietnam are located in a core ecological area, one in a natural reserve’s ecological rehabilitation zone. 

In 2008, the Thua Thien-Hue provincial authorities approved a plan to develop small-scale hydropower projects in the locality, under which eight projects would be developed, with four in Phong Dien Sanctuary.

To build the hydropower plants, the provincial authorities allowed investors to open provincial road No 71, next to the power transmission line which transmits electricity from the four plants to the national grid.

According to Dang Vu Tru, director of Phong Dien Sanctuary, the provincial road No 71 has the length of 50 kilometers, of which 25 kilometers traverses the sanctuary. All the four hydropower plants are situated in the core and ecological rehabilitation zones of the sanctuary.

About 200 hectares of forest have been requisitioned to serve the construction of hydropower plants, while other areas have been used to build provincial road No 71 and the electricity line to link to the national grid.

Phong Dien has become a great construction site. 

The risks

More than 63 hectares of forests were chopped down in 2016 and 2017 to serve the implementation of the hydropower projects, including 40 hectares of forestland which provided 349 cubic meters of wood. 

Of the felled forest area, Phong Dien Sanctuary lost 30 hectares of natural forest on which Alin B2 and Rao Trang 3 will arise.

Tru said the implementation of the projects will have influences on the biodiversity and the conservation of the sanctuary. 

As the road No 71 has opened, it has become easier for illegal loggers to fell trees and carry wood out of the sanctuary. The construction produces noise, while large forests have been lost, which have affected the living environment of local plants and animals.


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