According to the Vietnam News Agency (VNA), authorities Binh Dinh’s An Lao District recently discovered that 43 hectares of natural forest had been destroyed in the past few months.
The forest area illegally cut down lies between An Hung Commune in An Lao District and Hoai Nhon Commune in Hoai Nhon District, according to Chairman of the District’s People’s Committee Phạm Van Nam.
Initial information shows that the first hectare was cut down in early June, but even three months later, local authorities had done nothing to protect the natural forest. Nam alleged that the forest is being cleared for monetary gain.
A group of VNA reporters visited the destroyed forest area with the assistance of a local forest ranger, Pham Phuong Bac, who is deputy head of An Lao Forest Management Unit of An Lao District. They reported that the destroyed forest area stretches over several hills and looks devastated as if it had been ravaged by fire.
A forest area of 17ha was cut down around a week ago. Loggers left behind thousands of tree-trunks of different sizes and have not gotten around to burning them. Some of the freshly mown down trees had diameters of up to 65cm, and sap was still flowing from many.
The marks on the trunks indicate they might have been cut by professional cutting machines, such as gasoline-powered saws.
At another deforested area, many trees with diameters of more than 60cm were destroyed around ten days ago. Their leaves were still green.
The chopping down of two large areas of natural forest at the same time points to a large, well-organised and well-equipped operation. A camp found next to the destroyed forest area contained clothes, food and cooking utensils.
Local authorities on Saturday came to the area to check the deforestation.
Director of the provincial Department of Agriculture and Rural Development Phan Trong Ho said the scale of the deforestation was the largest in the province so far. The provincial People’s Committee on Saturday asked local police to start an investigation.