While people throughout the country complain that their local forests are "bleeding", the people in the central province of Quang Nam can take pride of the hundreds-of-years old forest compared as their "amulet". Report by Vietnam Net online newspaper.

Here in Dai Loc district of Quang Nam province, the word "illegal logging" has not been heard. The Ha Nha forbidden forest in Dai Dong commune has been protected strictly for centuries.

Nguyen Van Anh, head of Ha Nha hamlet, Dai Dong commune, said the forest is 1.5 kilometers long, from Ha Song cave to the Ha Nha market, and 500 meters wide.

According to Bach Thi Ty, who was born in 1919, the forest existed before the day she was born. "There were so many trees in the forest, including the century-old very big ones," Ty said.

She went on to say that the forest and the area have been protected by local people, because they are very sacred. During the American war, a lot of revolutionary activists were arrested, killed and then thrown into the Vu Gia river near Ha Song cave.

There is a strange water puddle there in the area. "The puddle has never got depleted, in both rainy and dry seasons," Anh said. "We believe that there are some artesian waters somewhere, but we have not found it."

The amulet of the villagers

Ha Song cavern lies at some 40 meters above the sea water level on a 200 meter dangerous mountain pass with an abyss on the left, next to the Vu Gia river, and the cliff on the right. The west of the cave faces the mountains thousands of meters high.

The cave is surrounded by the old forests and there is only one road to the forest.

In the wars against the invaders, Ha Song cave was one of the fiercest battle fields of Quang Nam province, for which it has been recognised as a provincial historical relics.

The Ha Nha forest has been considered as the amulet for hundreds of the local households, which protects them from natural calamities. With the forest-built defense, the local people have been safe from the typhoons, landslide and waste trees flowing from the upstream in rainy season.

"If the forest had not existed, Ha Nha hamlet with 700 households, and other hamlets of Lam Phung, Ban Tan and Dai Quang commune would have been devastated by floods and typhoons," said Nguyen Thanh Huu, a local resident.

There are a lot of big trees in the forest, most of which are "muong" as called by the local people. The flora population here is diverse, including old trees with large canopies, lower trees and shrubs. All that trees have created shields against floods, typhoons and landslide.

Anh said local residents understand well that they need to protect the forest and develop it as a guardian for them during natural calamities. "Only when we join forces to protect the forest, it can exist for centuries," he said.

"Most recently, we have planted 500 muong trees to replace the too old trees which have fallen down in the typhoon," he added.-VNA