LAM DONG After a series of serious accidents caused by falling pine trees, citizens in the well-known resort city of Da Lat have lodged over 50 petitions to cut down trees at high risk of crashing down.
The city s Forest Protection Department has received the petitions and sent rangers out to gather and examine the situation of the pine trees in question, according to head of the department Vu Dinh Cuong.
Heavy rain and strong winds from the recent storm felled 49 pine trees and caused two deaths, injured dozens of people and damaged 20 houses over the past week.
The department would check whether the trees are dying naturally, or if they are being poisoned, he said, adding that those who poison the trees would be fined.
Nguyen Xuan Truong, head of the Da Lat Urban Construction and Management Company s forest management office, said they have cut down more than 40 dead or weak trees in residential areas recently.
"We check the trees situation everyday, but it s not easy to determine the health sometimes. Sometimes trees die because of old age - between 70 and 100 years old - but they still look green," Truong said.
"We can t chop them down when they still look fine," he said, adding that about 300 pines are cut down every year due to natural disasters or old age.
There are nearly 10,000 pine trees around the city, about 239 trees less than last year.
Central Highland Lam Dong Province s Department of Agriculture and Rural Development s vice director Le Van Minh admitted new pine plantations are urgent, but have yet been paid enough attention.
"The ability of natural regeneration in pine forest is limited, and pine trees in the inner city are forecast to continuously fall down over the next 20 years because they end their life cycle," Minh said.
Local authorities had previously issued a regulation stipulating that those who chop down one pine tree must plant five new trees, but this policy proved difficult to implement due to lack of space for new trees.
More than 1,500 pine trees are being planted around the city to partly replace the old ones, according to Truong.
Minh said some buildings must be cleared away to plant juvenile trees in groups and create a community of pine trees.
"Effective measures should be undertaken, so Da Lat can continue calling itself the city of pines ", he said. VNS