Many people have been discovered knocking down trees in a natural forest with excavators in the north-central Vietnamese province of Quang Tri.
The deforestation at the Khe Cau forest in Vinh Ha Commune, Vinh Linh District first started a few years ago when people were just secretly chopping down some trees.
The situation, however, has become much more serious as excavators are now used to fell the trees and make space for plantations and production.
As part of their probe, Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper reporters noticed the machines leveling large parts of the forest for three days straight, from October 7 to 9, without any reaction from local forest protection officers.
It is estimated that hundreds of hectares of forest has been destroyed so far.
According to N., a local resident, loggers began chopping down trees about four years ago to grow another type of tree for lumber.
The wood has already been harvested, N. added.
Information from the Quang Tri Forest Inventory and Planning Center showed that an area where many trees were destroyed is planned to become a protection forest, which is one that mitigates or prevents the impacts of a natural hazard, namely erosion and landslides.
Meanwhile, a report by the Vinh Linh District Forest Protection Office on October 12 stated that the area is local residents’ production land.
The Quang Tri People’s Committee confirmed on Saturday it had ordered a thorough inspection of the case.
Initial information showed that a man named Vu Thang had hired several people to operate the excavators since early October.
According to Vo Van Hung, director of the provincial Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, the deforestation is unacceptable.
“We will figure out those responsible for letting such violations happen and punish them,” Hung asserted.