In the Media
Vietnam: Forest conservation needs public effort
October 13, 2011
The National Assembly’s Standing Committee on October 11, called for more efforts to ensure people are at the centre of the country’s plan to restore and protect forests.
Under a landmark 1998 decree, Viet Nam set the target of restoring its forest cover by planting 5 million hectares of trees by 2010 – 2 million for reserves and 3 million for wood production.
According to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, the national project to plant 5 million hectares of forests between 1998 and 2010 had yielded significant results. The work increased Viet Nam’s forest cover to 46.4 per cent in 2010, while the wood processing and timber industries’ export turn-over jumped to US$3.55 billion in 2010. The developments have also created employment for about 4.6 million workers, most of whom come from poor households or ethnic minority people from highland areas.
However, Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Nguyen Dang Khoa said that even after 13 years of implementation, the project had not been able to cover another 2 million hectares of denuded hills with forests, while efforts to stop illegal logging and rampant conversion of woodlands into agricultural fields were largely unsuccessful.
Nguyen Van Hien, chairman of the NA Judicial Committee, said more priorities should be given to expand economic forests, as this model gave incentives to residents to protect these forests. “Only when residents realise they can benefit directly from the forest will they protect it. Otherwise, without the residents, our efforts would fail,” he said.
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Keywords: Asia, Communities, Forest, policy, reforestation, Vietnam