VietNamNet Bridge – Viet Nam is facing a critical reduction in forest areas five years after it implemented the national forest protection and development programme, forest authority officials said.



Many trees have been illegally chopped down in the mountainous district of Dong Xuan in Phu Yen Province. –– Photo: VNA/VNS


Deputy Director of Viet Nam Forestry Administration, Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) Nguyen Ba Ngai said nearly 1.2 million hectares of new forest had been planted between 2010 and 2014, but the deforestation during this period accounted for a loss of 773,000ha.

At the request of MARD Minister Cao Duc Phat, Ngai revealed the statistics at a conference held late last week to review the five-year national programme, which ends this year, and to prepare for the upcoming period that is slated to end in 2020.

MARD Deputy Minister Ha Cong Tuan acknowledged that the national programme had failed to meet its target of covering 43 per cent of the nation with forest.

Instead, the programme covered 40.73 per cent of the country with forest, he said.

Ngai attributed the critical loss to changes in local development plans that cover key socio-economic areas, including hydro-electricity, irrigation, industrial zones and tourism.

He said another contributing factor was an increase in uncontrolled illegal logging and forest fires.

The official concluded that was why the country only saw an increase of 408,000ha of forest over the course of five years.

Tuan said the Tay Nguyen (Central Highlands) region bore the brunt of the damage with a total loss of 318,000ha of forest over the last four years. Statistics from the MARD also revealed that in the past two years alone, nearby localities suffered a loss of 158,000ha of forest.

Tuan cited the imbalance between planting efforts and deforestation, saying that despite progress in many others provinces - particularly in Bac Can Province, which saw a record growth of 13 per cent in forestry areas - the critical drop in Tay Nguyen dragged down the overall national statistics.

While the development programme did not meet expectations, annual forestry production growth reached a high rate of 5.95 per cent over the past five years, doubling from the previous five-year period (2006-2010), a MARD report said.

The country's forest coverage also increased from 39.7 per cent in 2011 to 40.73 per cent this year, and total wood export values increased from US$4.2 billion in 2011 to US$7 billion in 2015, according to the report.

The report highlighted that 59 provinces and cities have set up their own forest protection and development plans for 2011-2020.