The People’s Committee of Quang Binh Province has brought out a report on May 1 that discusses ways to prevent destruction of trees in Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park.
As per the report, efforts will be made to protect the rare and endangered Sua trees (Dalbergia cochinchinensis-Alstonia family) in the Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park in Quang Binh Province that were recently cut down by lumberjacks.
The Sua tree has been listed as an endangered flora species in Vietnam and placed on the international red list. Sua timber is rare and valuable, and as per local myth, can be used for spiritual purposes and treatment of some diseases in China.
In Vietnam, Sua is ranked a first-class timber, as it is hard wood, durable, easy to work with and resistant to insects.
Since April 17, there have been contingents of locals who have illegally intruded into the Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park to cut and steal the precious and rare Sua tree.
|A view of Phong Nha cave|
The forest rangers could not determine the exact period when the trees had been cut recently. They were discovered cut, with only their stumps left, in an area deep in the Park. Lumberjacks had taken away the trunks of the three Sua trees, and left branches and foliage behind.
The People’s Committee of Quang Binh blamed the destruction on local authorities, and the managing committee of Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park, saying that these organs lack responsibility when analysing information, and must anticipate the risks and deal with people who intruded into the park to cut down the trees.
The chairman of the People’s Committee of Quang Binh said when too many people enter the forest; authorities must mobilize extra personnel on the grounds in order to rapidly deploy forces to overpower the lumberjacks.
"An area may be isolated for a short time and the military may not be able to arrive in time to assist. That's why the local people play such an important role," the report said.
Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park managing committee should introduce more policies related to control and prevention and tougher regulations to ensure no more Sua trees are cut down.
The report said that as the region was home to some 250 endangered flora species in Vietnam and the world, special attention should be paid to the prevention and protection of the area.
The report said the Department of Forest Wardens in Quang Binh Province was already using an early warning system and educating the local people not to cooperate with lumberjacks, providing them with information of the law on forestry and helping locals to get out of the forest to seek a better life.
The Department of Agriculture and Rural Development in the province would be responsible for raising public awareness and the need to preserve the country's natural heritage. Besides they must intensify patrolling of roads near the park to block all exits of lumberjacks taking out timber from the forest.
The People’s Committee of Bo Trach and Minh Hoa Districts emphasised the need to set up professional teams who would be responsible for control and prevention of illicit activities of lumberjacks.
The concerted co-operation of the military, local authorities and local residents is of crucial importance to improve and bolster efforts to curb dubious activities of illegal lumberjacks.
The provincial Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism said provincial authorities wanted to preserve and promote the area as a UNESCO World Natural Heritage Site, to attract more tourists to Quang Binh Province and the Central Region.