The massive deforestation was discovered on September 1, when a local forest protection unit patrolled the area in An Lao District, Binh Dinh.
According to An Lao’s chairman Pham Van Nam, the forest land in question was in the process of healing after a period of being used as farming soil.
On Saturday, a delegation of Binh Dinh authorities, including police and agricultural officials, arrived at the site for investigation.
Initial reports showed the damage to have covered 43.7 hectares of natural forest under the management of An Lao’s An Hung Commune.
Trees measuring between ten and 60 centimeters in cross-section diameter were cleared with machines, with some trunks still lying around at the site.
“This is deforestation on an unprecedented scale in Binh Dinh,” said Phan Trong Ho, director of the provincial Department of Agriculture and Rural Development. “Evidence suggests this is an organized act, as those involved had even cleared a path leading to the swath of forest and used modern chainsaws to cut the trees in a very short time.”
Ho said the People’s Committee of Binh Dinh had requested a police investigation into the crime, as well as conducted a damage evaluation to bring the case to court.
Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc the same day demanded the provincial administration to submit official reports on the case.
A Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper reporter was present at the scene inspection on Saturday morning to capture photos of the illegally cleared forest.