No letup in poisoning of pine trees in Dak Nong Province

More pine trees have been poisoned todeath to clear land for cultivation in Dak Nong Province, taking the tally forthe year to over 3,000.

In the latest incident hundreds of trees aged over 20years along a section of National Highway 14 in Dak Song District in theCentral Highlands province were found earlier this month with their barksstripped away and a white chemical with a strong odor on their trunks.

District forest rangers have also found nearly 400poisoned trees in Truong Xuan Commune. Each tree was found with three or fourholes six to eight centimeters deep and with a diameter of seven millimeters.Officials have not revealed which chemicals were found inside yet.

Le Quang Dan, deputy director of the province’Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, said his department has fileda complaint with the police.

Most of the 3,000 trees destroyed this year were alongNational Highways 14 and 28 in Dak Song and Dak G’long districts.

In Dak G’long, authorities have discovered 14 forestswith over 2,100 trees destroyed this year, and the police are investigating.

Nguyen Duc Chien, chairman of the district’s Dak HaCommune, acknowledged that in his commune locals do destroy pine forests toclear land. It has 15 hectares (37 acres) of pine forests, he said.

“They drill small holes or strip off the barksand then pour in herbicides.”

This method makes it very difficult to catch the culpritsred-handed, he said.

Nguyen Quan Truong, deputy director of Dak Nong’sForest Protection Department, said authorities have been unable to catch theculprits in most cases.

He said the department is going to reclaim allpine forest areas that had been destroyed and encroached upon forafforestation.

Last May authorities in neighboring LamDong Province began an investigation after over 10 hectares of pine forests inLam Ha District with more than 3,000 trees were destroyed.

They have arrested four people believed to havecleared the land for cultivation and sale.

The Central Highlands has lost nearly 358,800 hectares(14 percent) of forests between 2008 and 2015, according to a report by theCentral Highlands Steering Committee.

Most of the trees were chopped down by illegal loggersor cleared to make way for cash crops, roads or hydropower plants.

 Source: VN Express