Degraded and poor natural forests in the northern province of Phu Tho have been much improved following the successful implementation of three-year planting forest project.

Forest cover in the locality increased from 35.9 percent in 2000 to 50 percent in 2012, contributing to preventing disasters, protecting the environment and regulating water resources.

The project also helped encourage the participation of local communities in forest management, contributing to reducing poverty and improving the livelihood of local tree planters, according to the provincial forestry department.

The tree-planting project also created jobs for almost 23,000 households in many localities in the province, thus developing forest planting and processing zones in the province.

Through growing indigenous plants and non-timber trees in Thanh Son and Tan Son districts over the past three years, the project contributed to increasing the locality’s forestry production value to about 350 billion VND (about 16.6 million USD) per year, accounting for 12 percent of the province’s total agro-forest and aquaculture production value.

The project was carried out in Thanh Son and Tan Son districts, mostly by farmers from the Muong and Dao ethnic groups who had taken over the management of 1,000 ha of degraded natural forest.

The planting forest has a total budget of 586,000 USD, of which the Asia- Pacific Network for Sustainable Forest Management and Rehabilitation (APFNet) has provided around 500,000 USD.

The project has been organised by the provincial Department of Agricultural and Rural Development, with technical assistance from the Forest Science Institute of Vietnam.-VNA