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Yok Don forests “attacked” from all four sides

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Migrants have step by step encroached on forests from the outside, while illegal loggers have been dismantling trees in the core area. The Yok Don forests are withering and shrinking.

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The Yok Don forests are withering and shrinking


At the Forest Rangers’ Unit No 10, dozens of self-modified motorbikes were parked at the back door. 

Nguyen Tan Binh, head of the unit, said the motorbikes were exhibits seized from 
“forest invaders”. The area ‘luckily’ has been less compromised than in other areas because of fewer residents. 

According to Nguyen Huu Tao, deputy head of the Yok Don National Park’s Forest Rangers’ Unit, in the first quarter of 2018 alone, eight deforestation cases with criminal signs were discovered. 

These included four cases of illegally exploitation of precious and rare timber. However, the police have caught the culprits in two cases, while the other two cases are still under investigation.

Tao said the number of criminal deforestation cases has increased sharply because of changes of the laws. 

Under old laws, only the illegal logging of more than 5 cubic meters of timber would be subject to criminal proceeding. But now, one cubic meter would be enough to bear criminal charges.

Illegal loggers who fell trees to get timber are not the only threat to the forests. In the area, large forests have been cleared by locals to have land for cultivation. 

From the end of February to mid-March alone, four deforestation cases were found in Wards No 442 and 458, in which over hectares of forests were devastated.

Illegal loggers not only target areas far from check points, but also areas near border guard stations and forest rangers’ units. 

In January, 23 precious trees were felled in Ward 408, which was just 5 kilometers from Border Guard Station No 741.

Relevant agencies blamed each other for the devastation. Forest rangers said the area is inaccessible and they must obtain a license to enter, when necessary.

Also in January, the Forest Rangers’ Unit 8 discovered tens of men sawing giang huong timber (Pterocarpus macrocarpus). One arrested man said he and15 men felled trees to get timber to sell.

Deputy director of the Yok Don National Park Huynh Nghia Hiep admitted that deforestation, which has been occurring for the many years, cannot be stopped. 

Illegal loggers are cutting down trees in the national park because forests in other areas have been depleted. 

Meanwhile, the timber price has been escalating daily. Timber is not carried by vehicles, but by men who walk through the forests, making it difficult for authorities to discover them.



Source: VietNamNet

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