VietNamNet Bridge – The 50 hectare Uyen Phong Forest in Quang Binh province has been living for the last thousands of year and safe from illegal lumberjacks. Here the forest has been protected by the village convention.
Phan Thanh, deputy head of Uyen Phong hamlet in Chau Hoa commune of Tuyen Hoa district in the central province of Quang Binh, showed the two temples located next to each other, saying: “This is Ba Son (Mountain Lady) and this Ba Thuy (Water Lady) which has existed for the last hundreds of years. Everyone burns incense to ask for the permission of the two ladies to enter the forest.”
Is it the custom which has helped the forest keep its primitive status?
The forest which illegal lumberjacks cannot invade
Thanh led the way to the forest, followed by Phan Huy Hoang, Deputy Chair of Chau Hoa Commune People’s Committee and reporters. After they climbed a slope and perspired, they could see an old forest. The sound from the Rao Tro murmuring stream and the cool steam from it helped the people refresh quickly.
“This is an ancient aegiceras,” Thanh said. All the three people tried to measure the tree-trunk with their hands. However, they all could not cover the tree-trunk. “The diameter is not less than 1.5 meters,” Thanh said.
A row of three small aegiceras was seen in front of the ancient tree, standing in the line along the hillside. Seeing the visitors getting surprised with the wonderful beauty of the old forest, Thanh said: “There are still many more kinds of trees, including precious timber and ancient trees with the average tree-trunk diameter of two meters.”
Pointing to a big tree standing nearby, which local residents call “nao tree,” Thanh said that the tree could provide tens of cubic meters of timber.
Going further, the visitors could see Rao Tro waterfall, which made them feel relaxed and peaceful. Hoang, the commune’s deputy chair said he wished to have money to turn the waterfall into an excursion site.
“Why can you be sure that the tree can provide tens of cubic meters of timber?” the reporter asked Thanh.
“A group of forestry experts once visited the forest some days ago. They measured the tree –trunks with their tools and told me that the timber reserves are about 20 cubic meters,” Thanh answered.
He went on to say that there are many bigger and higher trees than the one he showed visitors. However, visitors would have to travel further and they may meet difficulties, because there are many poisonous snakes which may attack people.
The village convention on protecting the forest
Phan Xuan Thuyet, 75, who is called the culturist in Uyen Phong hamlet, said that when he heard about the Khe Tro forbidden forest many years ago. At that time, those, who violated the village’s regulations, entered the forest to chop down trees or hunt for animals and birds would be punished by the village. They would be forced either to pay fines with rice, while if their violations were not too serious, they would be served a warning before the local residents.
Therefore, Thuyet said, the awareness of protecting forests has been handed down from generation to generation.
The new village convention of Uyen Phong Village also keeps the advices of the ancestors. Those, who chop down a fresh tree would have to pay the fine of three kilos of rice, while those, who illegally got one load of dry firewood would have to pay 15,000 dong.
However, no one has been punished in the last few years, simply because no one has violated the village’s convention.
Local residents also have been cooperative to protect the forest from strangers and fire. They contribute two tons of rice a year to pay to the people who are in charge of protecting the forest.
Source: Nong nghiep VN