VietNamNet Bridge – All 70 families of Mong ethnic people in Sai Khao village, Muong Ly commune, Muong Lat district in the central province of Thanh Hoa, involved in chopping down forests to grow cassava and maize.
Sai Khao, which was named in historical and poetry books, is no longer a green, romantic place.
The jungle is disappearing, replaced by maize and cassava fields. Coming to Sai Khao,
visitors will hear the sound of electric saws and the sound of collapsing trees.
Big trees are sawed to build houses, or to sell to wood traders from Muong Lat town
or Son La province. Small trees are dried up to burn before the sowing-time.
Kids also take knives with them to follow their fathers to the jungle.
Buffaloes are the means of transport to pull wood from the forest to Muong Lat town.
Sai Khao village chief, Vang A Si, said that “all 70 Mong ethnic families in Sai Khao are involved in deforestation.”
Trees are chopped down.
A burned tree. Recently, a villager burned trees to expand his field. Incidentally,
the fire spread to the forest and burned down a vast area of forest. Villagers say that
Sai Khao is isolated, so forest rangers rarely visit the village.
Local residents are still very poor. The meals for three kids in Sai Khao village includes
only rice and some vegetable picked up from the forest.
The aftermath of deforestation are bare hills. Village chief Vang A Si, said that
in the rainy season, families who live around the hills have to leave their houses to avoid floods.
The road from Muong Lat town to Sai Khao village is only 30 kilometers, but it takes
nearly five hours to get there, with an instructor.
Luong Hong Chien, Vice chief forest ranger of Muong Lat district, said that
“the local forest protection department is unable to protect the forest because there is only one ranger for a commune.”