Illustrative image (Source: VNA)
Dak Lak (VNA) – Natural forest area in the Central Highlands region has been declining significantly due to illegal exploitation and deforestation.

Currently, natural forest area in the region is 2,234,442 hectares, down 11,626 hectares from 2015, leading to a 0.2 percent drop in forest coverage to 46.01 percent.

Dak Nong and Gia Lai have coped with the sharpest fall in natural forest area with 8,132 hectares and 1,894 hectares, respectively. Their forest coverage also fell to 33.42 percent and 38.03 percent.

The Steering Committee for Central Highlands Region pointed to several reasons, including the slow organization and transformation of forestry enterprises, and the management boards for protective and specialized forests delaying the review and planning of forests in regional localities.

Besides, legal documents on forest management, protection and use have yet to match the reality, and faced many obstacles during implementation.

Meanwhile, the communal people’s committees, which are assigned to manage a huge area of forest, have not received capital resources for the work. Regulations on responsibility of administrations at all levels, especially grassroots level, remained unclear.

The Steering Committee for Central Highlands Region has proposed central agencies permit regional localities to pilot the co-management of forests on the foundation of shared responsibility and interests. The Government should also seek measures to back forestry companies to foster connections in forest management and development.

It has also requested for the early approval of a project on sustainably protecting, restoring and developing forests in the region for the 2016-2025 period, enabling localities to design their own specific planning.-VNA