In 2016, rubber wood made up 22.1 percent of the country’s total wood export value (Source: VNA)

HCM City (VNA) – A workshop to promote sustainable rubber forests was jointly organised by the Vietnam Rubber Association (VRA) and the Worldwide Fund for Nature (WWF) in HCM City on July 24.

Vo Hoang An, VRA Vice President, highlighted the fast development of the rubber sector, with rubber forests covering the biggest area among long-term industrial plants in Vietnam, hitting about over 976,000 hectares in 2016.

In 2016, rubber wood made up 22.1 percent of the country’s total wood export values, and 31.7 percent of the sector’s export value.

He underlined the increasing trend of using forest-based products with legal origin or sustainable forest management certification in the context that countries are making every effort to cope with global climate change.

Forest certification is considered a tool for sustainable forest management, thus ensuring socio-economic development and environment protection goals.

According to Le Thien Duc from WWF Vietnam, around 230,000 hectares of forests have been granted with the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification, accounting for 42 percent of the target set for 2020.

Vietnam has yet to submit the FSC its national standards on sustainable forests management, Duc said.

Meanwhile, Truong Minh Trung, Deputy Director General of the Vietnam Rubber Group, said Vietnam has no rubber forests granted with FSC certificate.

Wood products with FSC certification have higher prices than normal ones, Truong said, adding that his group will step up FSC-met forests planting in its member units.

According to the WWF, in order to develop rubber forests sustainably, the rubber forests must follow Vietnamese and international law, gaining local support and respect while minimising their impacts on the environment.-VNA