Trees planted in denuded central Vietnam forest

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A section of the Annamite Mountains forest. PHOTO: WORLD WILDLIFE FUND VIETNAM 

Trees are being planted on more
than 630 hectares in the central provinces of Quang Nam and Thua Thien Hue as part of a World Wildlife Fund project to restore and conserve forests and their biodiversity in the Greater Mekong region.

The tree planting, focused on the central Annamite Mountains on the Vietnam-Laos border, began with an opening ceremony October 24 in Quang Nam.

According to a WWF statement, over 430 ha of forests will be regenerated with indigenous trees being planted on over 200 ha this year. Nearly 3,000 hectares will be regenerated including 250 ha of native trees next year.

The central Annamites are one of the areas with the greatest biodiversity globally, with a number of rare animals like the sao la, douc langur, Annamite muntjac, large antlered muntjac, and striped rabbit.

But the WWF said the illegal timber and wildlife trade and unsustainable farming and forestry have caused habitat fragmentation, which poses a major threat to the forests and survival of their unique species.

"Without active efforts to restore the forest, the ecosystem will not recover," it said.

Dr. Le Thuy Anh, WWF Vietnam's landscape manager for the central Annamites, said with the planting, the WWF aims to reconnect the fragmented forests to provide natural routes for the safe migration of animals. 

The planting of indigenous trees would also help restore biodiversity, she said.

The program involves local people, who help identify planting areas and appropriate tree species and actually do the work with seedlings provided by the program.

Phan Tuan, director of Quang Nam's Forest Protection Department, said a province forest development plan for 2015-20 seeks to have 52 percent of the land covered with forests.

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