Central region: green forests shout for help as they are devastated
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VietNamNet Bridge – Dak Lak and Dak Nong provinces have leased forest land to enterprises to grow rubber trees, manage and protect the forests. However, while the rubber projects still cannot bring profits, the green forests have been seriously devastated.
In the years from 2004 to 2011, the two provincial authorities leased 57,000 hectares of forest area to 70 enterprises which promise to implement 71 investment projects. About 50 percent of the forest area would be reserved for grow forest and rubber trees, while the other 50 percent are natural forests which need careful protection.
However, to date, 5600 hectares of forests have been devastated.
Leasing forests to devastate forests
The 34 enterprises in Dak Nong province leased 24,000 hectares of forestry land to implement 35 projects. To date, the project owners have developed 5000 hectares of rubber and forests. Meanwhile, according to the provincial agriculture department, only nine projects have been implemented well.
The project implementation, including the implementation of key items such as afforesting and growing rubber trees, has been going very slowly if compared with the investment plans. Especially, Ngoc Thach, Luan Thinh, Greenfeet Thailand, Hong Gia Phat, Thang Long companies have been pending the projects so far, since the day they leased thousands of hectares of forestry land.
Of the total forestry land area Dak Nong province allocated to enterprises, there are 13,000 hectares of natural forests that need to be put under protection. However, 3600 hectares out of the 13,000 hectares have been “cannibalized.”
In Dak Lak province, 2000 hectares out of the 6400 hectares of forests allocated to nine enterprises have been devastated. Phan Hong Private Enterprise saw 132 hectares out of 546 allocated hectares ruined. Especially, 824 hectares under the control of Tri Duc Rubber Company have been devastated.
An officer of the local forest ranger unit said that it is understandable why the forests have been chopped down. The thing that the enterprises need is the land, not the forests. Therefore, they do not spend time and efforts to control the forests. In many cases, enterprises do not know how many hectares of forests put under their control have been devastated.
Also according to the officer, in many cases it is the enterprises, which “turned the green light on” for illegal lumberjacks to devastate the forests.
Y Rit Buon Ya, Head of the Dak Lak Forest Ranger Unit, forests have disappeared partially because local residents chopped down trees to get land for agricultural production. However, he also thinks that in many cases, local residents have been incited to devastate the forests.
How to claim back the trillions of dong?
On May 9, 2011, Do The Nhu, Deputy Chair of the Dak Nong province signed a document asking the forest ranger unit to clarify the loss of forests put under the control of 12 enterprises. The local authorities announced that enterprises would be “punished in accordance with the current laws”, which is understood that the enterprises will have to compensate for the lost forests.
Most recently, the provincial authorities released the decision to punish the enterprises, under which the projects of three enterprises will be revoked.
It is estimated that the damaged 5000 hectares of forests in Dak Lak and Dak Nong has caused the loss of 2 trillion dong. The Dak Lak provincial authorities are also considering forcing enterprises compensate for the forests.
However, in fact, analysts have commented that it would be very difficult to claim back the huge sums of trillions of dong.