Southern localities review forest protection activities hinh anh 1(Photo: VNA)

Kien Giang (VNA) - Officials from 19 southern provinces gathered to review outcomes of their forest protection programmes since the beginning of the year in Kien Giang on November 5. 

The area is home to 747,000 hectares of forest, accounting for 5.4 percent of the nation’s woodland.

By the end of October, local authorities handled 1,758 out of 1,875 illegal cases that were detected, with 22 facing criminal proceedings.

Illicit exploitation and trade of forestry products was reported to concentrate in provinces that are rich in natural forests or located along the border with Cambodia, such as Binh Phuoc, Ba Ria-Vung Tau, Tay Ninh and Dong Nai. A large number of woods seized by forest rangers in Tay Ninh and Binh Phuoc were transported in from Cambodia.

There were 140 violations of wildlife protection laws, mainly taking place in Dong Nai, Tay Ninh and Ho Chi Minh City.

Meanwhile, 49 forest fires damaged more than 141 hectares across Dong Thap, Long An, Kien Giang and An Giang. Slash-and-burn farming practices lie at the root of the issue. Locals who use fire to harvest honey also contributed.

Forest management, however, showed weaknesses in cracking down on aggressive rings. Standards were lacking in the process of raising wild animals. Forest rangers were extinguishing fires without enough financial assistance or equipment.

Forest ranger departments in region III and 19 southern localities signed a pact on forest protection for 2016.-VNA