Developing acacias for afforestation and the timber processing industry has a key role to play in realising national targets such as poverty alleviation and ecological protection, heard a conference opened in the imperial Thua Thien-Hue city on March 18.

The four-day event has drawn the attention of 200 domestic and foreign scientists, managers and businesspeople in silviculture to look at ways to preserve the future of acacia plantation forestry.

Head of the Department of Science, Technology and International Cooperation under the Vietnamese Forestry Administration Nguyen Phu Hung highlighted the Vietnamese Government’s policies in encouraging business players to get involved in afforestation activities.

He said acacia is one of the key forest trees in Southeast Asian countries, including Vietnam which is home to over 1 million hectares of acacia , accounting for some 30 percent of the country’s total forest land and serving as the main source of material for paper, wood-pulp, and timber product exports.

The estimated value of processed acacia wood products in Vietnam now exceeds 1.5 billion USD annually, Hung noted.

Rod Friffin, a representative from the International Union of Forest Research Organisations (IUFRO), said there are over 2 million ha of forest land for growing acacias in Southeast Asia, contributing greatly to the global wood supply.

Acknowledging the contributions by Vietnam and other countries to the development of acacia-based industries, Friffin said the conference is a good chance for participants to discuss policies and techniques to develop acacia forests and the timber processing industry in a sustainable manner.

Covering an area of 3.5 million ha in Asia, Africa and South America, acacias are now an important global resource supplying wood for industry.-VNA