Vietnam sets the target to plant an additional 20,000 hectares of forest, including 9,800 hectares of mangrove forest and 10,200 hectares of forest to protect coastal areas from winds and land erosion in the 2021-2030 period, according to Deputy Prime Minister Le Van Thanh.
The target has been set under a project named “Protecting and developing coastal forests in response to climate change and promote green growth in the period of 2021-2030”, which was recently approved by the Vietnamese government.
More trees will be planted on 15,000 hectares of existing forests, including 6,800 mangrove forests, 8,200 hectares of forest for shielding from winds, and 9,000 ha of reforestation and forest enrichment, Thanh said.
He added that the project seeks to enhance capacity building and the creation of livelihoods for communities and people participating in the protection and development of forests in coastal areas.
The overall goal of the project is to manage, protect and sustainably use forests in the existing and newly afforested coastal areas in the period; effectively promote the role and function of coastal forests in protecting the environment; combat desertification and land degradation; protect biodiversity, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Bau Ca Cai mangrove area with the function of breaking waves and improving the ecological environment. Photo: Nguyen Duy Sinh
Besides, the project is designed to create jobs and increase the income of locals, contributing to boosting socio-economic development, environmental protection, strengthening national defense and security, reducing the impact of natural disasters in response to climate change and sea-level rise.
Funding for the project will be allocated from the State budget and other capital sources in accordance with current law, Deputy PM Thanh said.
"One of the solutions to realize the project is to raise people’s awareness about the role and value of forests in coastal areas in response to climate change, desertification, and land degradation," Thanh stressed, adding that the project also helps enhance socio-economic values and ensure national defense and security.
Law enforcement should be enhanced to deal with offenses on forest development and protection, the deputy prime minister noted.
In an interview with The Hanoi Times via phone, Nguyen Xuan Cuong, former minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, said that regarding forest protection, there were about nine million hectares of forest in the whole country in 1990. After 30 years, the area of natural forest has increased to 10.3 million hectares out of a total of 14.6 million hectares.
However, in 30 years the natural forest acreage cannot be recovered to what it once was because natural forests need longer time to grow. During the American war in Vietnam, the US army sprayed 77 million liters of agent orange to destroy two million hectares of natural forest in central Vietnam. Therefore, forest rehabilitation needs to be implemented step by step, Cuong added.
Vietnam has so far increased its nationwide forest coverage to 42%, equivalent to 14.6 million hectares.