Bay Mau coconut forest at risk of destruction

Over recent years, Hoi An Ancient Town, world biosphere reserve Cham Islet and Bay Mau water coconut forest in the central province of Quang Nam grown into a popular destination for domestic and international tourists is falling in paradox of preservation and development because more tourists come to the forest.
 

Hot tourism development devastates Bay Mau coconut forest in Quang Nam province (Photo: SGGP)

Hot tourism development devastates Bay Mau coconut forest in Quang Nam province (Photo: SGGP)

Bay Mau coconut forest used to be a revolutionary base in the resistance fight against the US and is one of the core zone of biosphere reserves world Hoi An - Cham Island now.
Residents make living by catching shrimp, fish. Villagers weaved water coconut leaves into sheets of thatch as proofing for their own cottages.
Tourists have discovered the ecosystem of the flooded palm forest, baskets boating, cycling, fishing or just participate in the coconut forest garbage collection, contributing to environmental protection.
Some businesses have organized travel tours to discover this palm forest. The problem is the management of monuments and tourist operators to ensure consistent principles because sometimes thousands of holiday-makers flock to villagers.
Companies and locals have built restaurants and hotels to meet the increased demand of visitors. people chop the tree to make rings to sell as souvenirs for tourists; consequently, the forest ecosystem is badly affected.
The local authorities have increased information on benefits of the coconut forest to raise people awareness, expecting them to protect the forest. Moreover, the administration has issued fined to violators and suspend illegal constructions which have damaged the natural environment.
Lately, newspaper articles reflecting devastation of the coconut forest attracted public concern. Speaking to reporters, chairman of Hoi An City People’s Committee Nguyen Van Dung confirmed not develop the forest for tourist any more. The mangrove forest in Cam Thanh Commune have the vital role for Hoi An Ancient Town and UNESCO-recognized world biosphere reserve Cham Islet and it used to be an important revolutionary base yet unplanned development of tourism has caused negative effect on the forest.
To deter people from devastating the forest, the local administration forced residents and companies to stop construction and land encroachment in end of 2016 and early 2017. The local government has issued administrative fine to violators since June 2016.
In 2017, the government promised to have harsh penalties on violators to maintain order in the forest. No more resorts or hotels will be approved in the forest, said the administration.
The People’s Committee in Hoi An revealed a project to grow and restore the forest plus with infrastructure investment for the community eco-tourism worth VND28 billion carried out by the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development. The project aims to build mangrove swamp, forming a protective forest belt around Hoi An Town.

By NGUYEN KHOI - Translated by UYEN PHUONG

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