Soil in the Central Highland is undergoing serious degradation, experts warned at a recent workshop on the region’s development strategy to 2020, with a vision to 2030.

At the event, which was jointly organised by the Steering Committee for the Central Highlands and Nguyen Tat Thanh University in Ho Chi Minh City, Prof. Dr. Le Huy Ba from the university said the region has rich soil resources, including 1.3 million ha of fertile basaltic soil, which allows the cultivation of many types of crop plants, especially industrial plants such as coffee, pepper, rubber, cashew nut, tea, mulberry and fruit-trees.

However, the area of forest and forest land in the region has been reduced rapidly due to lax management, resulting in dropping humidity and disappearance of microorganisms in soil as well as diminishing underground water resource.

On the other hand, the excessive and unscientific cultivation has quickly deprived the land of its vegetation cover, thus causing serious soil erosion in the region.

According to the provincial Department of Science and Technology, the volume of eroded soil on cultivated land can reach 95.1 tonnes per hectare per year, compared to only 12 tonnes per ha of planted forests and under 6 tonnes per ha of primitive forest.

Participants said that a large volume of nutrients in cultivated land in the region is swept away every year due to land erosion.

Scientists urged localities in the Central Highlands to restrict the destruction of natural forests to use land for other purposes, while planting more trees on unused land to expand forest coverage.

The provinces are also advised to adopt sustainable farming techniques and diversify crop plants in order to protect ecological balance and limit land erosion, thus contributing to sustainable socio-economic development in the region.-VNA