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Nation sows seeds for reforestation
19 | 12 | 2007
The Government will spend more money on increasing Viet Nam’s forested areas in order to complete its five-million ha afforestation project by 2010, and ensure a more sustainable natural environment in the future, said Deputy Prime Minister Hoang Trung Hai yesterday.

The Deputy Prime Minister, speaking at a conference in Ha Noi, wants the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) and the Ministry of Science and Technology to speed up the transferral of advanced technology to forest growers.

"Both ministries need to uncover the obstacles which delay the project’s progress, citing ways to remedy the problems," said Hai.

The continued destruction of Viet Nam’s forested areas is concerning as it is already wide-spread. Forests which are illegally logged or burnt off outnumber newly-planted areas, especially in protected areas, greatly affecting the overall health of the natural environment.

MARD and certain localities are required to both re-examine and re-zone different kinds of forests in order to complete the allocation and leasing of land to growers.

More than 2 million ha of forest were allocated to growers in the first 11 months of the year, nearly 630,000 ha more than expected, according to the MARD.

Forest coverage has increased from 33.2 per cent of total land area in 1999 to 37 per cent this year, contributing to minimised erosion and the expansion of paper and timber processing industries.

MARD Deputy Minister, Hua Duc Nhi said almost all localities had implemented regulations on managing saplings and fostering training courses for forest management.

Nhi added that forest growers in border communes and areas resettled by hydro-electric plants would receive up to VND1 million (US$62.5) per ha to turn treeless land into forests.

Current forests are failing to meet the demands of the timber industry, despite receiving financial assistance from the Government.

The afforestation project has received total investment capital of more than VND30 trillion ($1.875 million) since approval by the National Assembly in 1998. It hopes to increase forest coverage to 43 per cent of total land area by 2010, contributing to environmental security, the reduction of susceptibility to natural disaster and the protection of bio-diversity.

In order to reach the set target, afforestation will focus on bare hills where local residents can join in on the conservation.

The project will combine with socio-economic development programmes including hunger eradication, resettlement and poverty reduction in remote areas. It also seeks to hybridise cash crops such as rubber, pepper, coffee and fruit.

Timber processors are being encouraged to use timber from planted areas, instead of native timber to allow sensitive forest areas to recover.

The number of saplings planted will also be boosted to satisfy the demands of industries such as construction, shipbuilding and handicrafts.

Various methods which raise awareness of the benefits to be gained from the protection of forests will be carried out to tighten the co-ordination of relevant sectors in the prevention of illegal logging.

Source: vietnamnews.vnagency.com.vn
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