Central Highlands forests still ‘bleeding’

Several deforestation cases have occurred in the Central Highlands since the beginning of the 2018-2019 dry season

The Central Highlands, comprising Dak Lak, Dak Nong, Gia Lai, Kon Tum and Lam Dong, still have the largest natural forest area in the country with 2,557,321 hectares of forestland, including 2,206,974 hectares of natural forests. But the forests are declining because of increased deforestation.

Central Highlands forests still ‘bleeding’



On February 24-25, agencies of Chu Prong district, joining forces with the Gia Lai provincial forest ranger unit, discovered many deforestation spots in Ia Mor commune, including five spots (66,151 square meters) put under the management of the local authorities, and two spots (7,195 square meters) put under the control of the Ia Mor Protective Forest Management Board.

In Dak Lak province, in mid-March, agencies discovered deforestation along Highway No 29 between Buon Don and Ea Sup districts. Over 11 hectares of forests were devastated.

Quyen said people cleared the forestland to appropriate the land that faces Highway No 29. The company assigned six officers to control the forest, but because of the geographical conditions, it was difficult to discover illegal loggers.

 

Nguyen Minh Son, head of the Forest Protection Station No 2, belonging to the Buon Don Protective Forest Management Board, complained that there are only two workers in the station who are in charge of protecting over 2,000 hectares of forest.

Deputy general director of Dak Lak Food Processing and Forestry Nguyen Van Quyen reported that serious deforestation cases were discovered on February 26-28 on the forestland under the control of the company.

Quyen said people cleared the forestland to appropriate the land that faces Highway No 29. The company assigned six officers to control the forest, but because of the geographical conditions, it was difficult to discover illegal loggers.

While the culprits of the serious devastation case in the area between Buon Don and Ea Sup districts still cannot be found, on April 8, another large-scale devastation case were discovered in Ea Kar district.

Illegal loggers blatantly opened roads deep into the forest and organized timber exploitation on a big dite for a long time, but Ea Kar Forestry Company, which controls the forest, did not know about it.

According to the Forest Rangers’ Unit Zone 4, in the first three months of 2019, they discovered 1,188 violations of forestry laws, including 218 illegal forest devastation cases, damaging 81 hectares of forests, and 125 illegal forest exploitation cases.

According to Nguyen Nhi, head of the Gia Lai province’s forest rangers’ unit, locals continue clearing forests to make room for crop fields because they don’t have stable jobs.

Meanwhile, forest owners don’t have enough capability, labor force and money to protect the forests assigned to them. The natural forest area in the Central Highlands is relatively large, while the protection workforce is small and cannot control the high number of migrants who lack land for production. 

Thien Nhien

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