Deputy Prime Minister Hoang Trung Hai has asked localities nationwide to focus on forestry restructuring by improving productivity, quality and value of forest production; increasing added value for processed wood; boosting the forestry value chain and expanding the wood market.

Deputy PM Hai made the request while chairing a meeting of the National Steering Committee on the Forest Protection and Development Plan for 2011-2020 in the Central Highlands province of Dak Lak on April 9.

Hai urged localities to strictly implement forest planting project to replace damaged areas while reshuffling forestry enterprises and rolling out measures to prevent and fight forest fires.

He also requested additional efforts in forest protection and strengthened state management over forest land, adding that all violations are to be strictly handled.

According to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, last year, almost all targets for forest conservation and development were fulfilled, with forestry production growth reaching 7.09 percent and exports hitting 6.54 billion USD.

As many as 2.037 million hectares of forest are currently under protection. During the first three months of this year, 3,941 law violations were detected, a decrease of 41.9 percent over the same period last year.

Total damaged forest areas amounted to 31.92 hectares, a drop of nearly 569 hectares from 2014. Meanwhile, localities nationwide planted 13,416 additional hectares of forest, completing 6 percent of the yearly target and equivalent to 167 percent of last years’ figure.

As the end of 2014, the forest stocktaking project for 2013-2016 was completed, revealing a total recorded forest areas of over 2.5 million hectares in the five Central Highlands localities, including 2.2 million hectares of natural areas and more than 313 million hectares of planted forests. Total wood reserve was 302 million cubic metres.-VNA