Stronger forestry laws needed: officials hinh anh 1A worker waters saplings in a Dong Nai nursery (Photo: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) - Ineffective forest management has exposed shortcomings in the 2004 Law on Forest Protection and Development that need to be addressed through amendments, officials said at a conference on December 16.

Participants at the national conference in the capital city said the law defined the forest as an ecosystem but failed to clarify the scale and minimum areas involved. Criteria for forest trees was also lacking, they said.

Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Ha Cong Tuan said the law only focused on managing, protecting, developing and using wood but did not pay attention to the value of the forest environment services.

The value of such services was much higher than that of wood, he said, adding that annual implementation of the policy on forest environment services netted revenues equal to 22 percent of total social investments in the forestry sector.

He also said the law should also be amended to deal with shortcomings relating to forest classification, renewing forest land allocation and leasing of forest land to households. This must be done to exempt them from land use taxes and land rental fees, thus encouraging the planting of new forests.

More regulations were also needed on forestry product processing and trade activities, as also credit outlays for the sector, he said.

The changes should facilitate investment in protecting and sustainably developing the nation’s forests, he added.

Nguyen Ba Ngai, Deputy Head of the Vietnam Forestry Administration, proposed that provisions are added on allocating forest land to residents so that forest management becomes efficient,

In several localities, residential communities have proved to be very effective forest managers

Participants also proposed changing the name of the law to the Law on Forestry.

They wanted to increase punishments for forest protection and management violations and speed up application of science and technology advances in forest protection and management.

The draft amendments to the law will be submitted to the Ministry of Justice for appraisal this month before it is submitted to the Government and the National Assembly. - VNA