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In Dak Nong, protective trees cleared to make room for houses

VietNamNet Bridge - More and more pine trees have been felled in the central province of Dak Nong, while the local authorities still have not found a proper solution to stop deforestation.
VietNamNet Bridge - More and more pine trees have been felled in the central province of Dak Nong, while the local authorities still have not found a proper solution to stop deforestation.

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The 30-year-old protective pine forest, covering an area of 400 hectares on Highway No 14, was the pride of Dak Nong’s people. Those who come there would feel as if they stray into the romantic pine forest in the flower city of Da Lat. 

However, the forest is no longer romantic: tens of hectares of forest have been ‘choked to death’. Local people have chopped down pine trees to clear land for building houses. Meanwhile, the local authorities turn a blind eye on deforestation.

An official showed that 70 hectares of forestland have been devastated and encroached upon by local people, while the other 20 hectares of deserted land have become the place for people to build houses and tents and grow industrial crops. Of 139 deforestation cases, the local authorities have dealt with 17 cases and taken back 5 hectares of land.

More and more pine trees have been felled in the central province of Dak Nong, while the local authorities still have not found a proper solution to stop deforestation.
Pham Van Duong, a man from Dak Song district, who has been living for tens of years on the land, told local authorities about cases of people felling trees and appropriating forestland. 

"However, they only removed some wooden small houses and tents, while they keep away from big houses built with billions of dong,” he said.

DTN, a local woman, said the local authorities were unfair. “You will be punished severely if you just fell one tree. Meanwhile, other people can clear large forestland areas in front of local authorities,” she said, adding that local authorities officials might have ‘turned the green light’ on the people to do this.

Hundreds of households every day kill pine trees, and clear land to make room for building houses and grow pepper in the protective forest. Meanwhile, the local authorities say they don’t know about the deforestation.

Le Viet Sinh, deputy chair of Dak Song district People’s Committee, admitted that the forestland has been appropriated because of bad management of local authorities.

Nguyen Van Thinh, head of the forest rangers’ unit in Dak Song district, also said it was difficult to catch people felling trees because they have many different methods to do this. 

“People poison trees with chemicals when they go tilling the fields so it is difficult to discover their behaviors,” he explained. “They fell trees, appropriate land and build houses at night.”

According to Thinh, local officials only discover the deforestation after houses are built on the forestland. However, they cannot force people to remove the houses and pepper gardens immediately, but have to follow many administrative procedures.


Thien Nhien

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