The south-central province of Ninh Thuan this year plans to increase its forest-cover rate to nearly 50 percent, including 330 hectares of new special-use forest and protection-forest planted in response to climate change.
The province targets restoring 4,000ha of damaged forest and 71,400ha of forest under forest-protection contracts this year.
Promoting forest protection and development plays an important role in protecting water and soil resources, preventing erosion, limiting the impact of natural disasters, conserving biodiversity, and maintaining natural habitats.
The province has 116,172 ha of protective forest land, accounting for 59 percent of its entire forest land. Of the figure, more than 30,192ha of land has no trees.
The province is focusing on afforestation, and management of protection- and special-use forests.
Training courses in forest-fire prevention and fighting have been offered to local households responsible for protecting planted forests.
The province has in recent years detected and handled many cases involving illegal forest exploitation and forest land encroachment.
It has been growing drought-resistant trees with high economic value such as trom (Sterculia foetida), thanh that (Ailanthus triphysa), muong den (Senna siamea) and keo lai (Acacia mangium x Acacia auriculaeformis) in protection and special-use forests.
The quality of local forests has improved, with poor forest areas restored and forest cover increased.
Barren land and bare hills are now covered with trees. For example, thanh that trees which can adapt to a dry climate have been planted on more than 650ha of rocky mountains in Thuan Nam district’s coastal areas for protection forests since 2015.
Le Xuan Hoa, deputy head of the district’s Protective Forest Management Board, said the planting of thanh that trees was supported by the JICA 2 afforestation project under the Vietnam’s Support Programme to Respond to Climate Change (SP-RCC).
Many trees are now 2.5-3m in height and will cover the rocky mountains in the next 10 years.
The province has also allocated forest land to local households for protection under contracts. On average, each local household receives about 30ha of forest to protect under a forest protection contract for 400,000 VND (17.4 USD) per hectare each year.
Since 2016, local households have used additional income earned from forest protection contracts to develop forest-linked livelihoods such as breeding cows, goats and sheep, and planting more than 22,500 fruit trees. The department is expanding these effective forest-linked livelihood models.
However, forest management faces many challenges, including financial constraints and various policies.
The province regularly experiences dry and hot weather that significantly impacts forest fire prevention and control, and afforestation.
Dangerous terrain also causes problems for forest management and protection, according to the director.
Dang Kim Cuong, director of the provincical Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, said the department would continue to raise the awareness of local residents about the importance of protection forests as well as legal regulations.
It is also continuing sustainable forestry development to help local residents earn additional income by participating in forest protection under signed contracts.
Programmes on how to plant special-use, replacement and protection forests are also being strengthened.
Better coordination among forest-prevention forces, armed forces, local authorities and residents is also being implemented.