Ho Chi Minh City has approved a plan to build a new road through Can Gio Mangrove Forest, a biosphere reserve recognized by UNESCO, in a bid to attract more tourists.
Here's the catch: the road will be 17 meters wide and run 3.5 kilometers, which means 18,600 trees will have to be cut down to make space for it.
Can Gio District conceded that the construction will destroy 6.4 hectares of forest and force creatures living in that area to move.
It will lead to erosion in the area, divide the natural community inside the forest and disturb the habitat with traffic noises, it said.
But the outlying district said the plan will bring "benefits" to local residents.
Many families who are living on agriculture can earn more money from providing tourism services, it said.
The district also promised to replant the lost forest area by 2018.
It said the project is expected to cost VND190 billion (US$8.7 million) and the city government is assessing its environmental impacts before making the final decision later this month.
The mangrove forest of 31,000 hectares (76,600 acres) is already open to tourists but according to the district, a road running through it will draw more people.
UNESCO in 2010 recognized the wetlands a world biosphere reserve as it supports thousands of mangroves, around 200 different species of wildlife and 150 species of flora.
It also plays an important role in preventing erosion in the coastal district.