Sunday, April 28, 2013

Vietnamese Updates: Protecting Truong Son primeval forest (21 Apr 2013)

Protecting Truong Son primeval forest 

Chủ nhật, ngày 21 tháng 04 năm 2013 cập nhật lúc 23:30

Truong Son primeval forest

Truong Son is a 1.200km- mountain in the west-central of Vietnam, which ranges from northwest Nghe An province from to south central pole in an arc convex shape toward the east sea and comprises a number of forests rich in flora and animals. Having been under destructive consequences of severe wars and the exploitation of human, Truong Son forests are suffering a number of damages. It is extremely urgent that related ministries put forward the protection and regeneration of these forests, which are rich in  not only natural but also historical and cultural values.

Severe forest degradation and fragmentation
In terms of natural features, Truong Son forests possess an utterly important role, especially in slowing down floods, draught and limiting the ravages of hurricanes. With only 50% of the total forest area, Truong Son Mountains can hold up to 22-25 million tons of CO2 each year, contributing significantly to reducing the global warming effect. In addition, Truong Son forests are considered as one of the places with high levels of biodiversity in the region and around the world with many rare and endemic species like Asian unicorns, monkeys, langurs, etc.

However, in the past few decades, the landscape in primeval forests in central Vietnam has been seriously degraded and fragmented. Truong Son forest area is declining utterly, especially in lowland and urban areas, the forest area was completely lost.

The absence of forest leads to the shortage of water. Floods and droughts occur frequently even when rains and sun are. Furthermore, forest resources in Truong Son Mountain are on the verge of extinction. Worse still, the majority of animals in the forest have nearly disappeared.

The reasons are mainly due to the consequences of war, illegal logging, unsustainable forestry and farming and the expansion of plantations of such exotic trees with short business cycles as Acacia. In fact, the monoculture of these trees is to create a more fragmented forest landscape rather than creating reconnection. In addition, degraded natural forests with high conservation values ​​are constantly being converted into plantations.

If things continue as at present, the integrity of the ecosystem will hardly recover. In particular, fragmented habitat will restrict species’ exchanges and interactions, pushing many of them to extinction in the near future.

Connecting natural forest landscape
In the context of declined resources in Truong Son forest, Chairman of protecting natural resources and environment of Vietnam Nguyen Ngoc Sinh said: "The protection of Truong Son forests currently lacks an overall strategy, which needs to be larger than the strategic conservation of biodiversity and has been addressed with a time-consuming approach, rather than a specific plan "

Therefore, to restore the forest, in the foreseeable future the forested provinces should actively cooperate to connect the natural forest landscape. On 17/04/2013, Quang Nam and Quang Tri provinces approved the plan to restore the forest to connect the natural forest landscape in Central Truong Son forests and the Forest development plan in 2020. This is a success of the project "Strengthening responsible forest management and restoration" performed by the WWF in the two provinces with the cooperation of the Forestry Department and the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development. Through the implementation of this project, World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) seeks to build a habitat connecting the forests of Quang Tri, Quang Nam and Thua Thien Hue - the three most important provinces in the Central Truong Son range.

The plan will complement other regeneration programs of the government, such as the 661 program – which focuses on planting 5 million hectares of forest. However, unlike other programs and restoration projects in Vietnam, which mostly aimed at greening barren hills, the project focuses on connecting fragmented forest in a region with high levels of biodiversity. In addition, the target plants of the project are indigenous natural plants, which have existed before the forests were cut down, in order to reconstruct the habitats to reassemble them to the previous ones, increasing the chances of survival for the species.

Dr. Le Thuy Anh, Habitat Management CTS WWF - Vietnam, said, "In 2020, as planned, about 300,000 hectares of forests will be planted, bringing the total forest area from 7.200km2 to ​​10,000 km2. This also means the Asian unicorns, Truong Son vuquangensis, langurs will be given one more chance to survive when their habitats are expanding and connecting. "

 The balancing between conservation and livelihoods of people in the area is a wise strategy since it will create a sustainable model and practical model. Given that there has yet been any forest restoration strategy, this is one way for provinces where Truong Son forests cover to put forward the wildlife protection.


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