A public-private partnership meant to protect natural forests has done the opposite for a district in the central province of Ha Tinh, leading to 40 hectares of trees getting cut down within months.
Thanh Nien has found that a protected forest area in Huong Khe District is mostly gone. Trees have vanished, leaving behind stumps and small branches.
More seriously, some plots were burned down. There are signs that some areas were leveled by machines, apparently to create land for cultivation.
A local man who usually found herbs inside the forest told Thanh Nien that loggers started cutting down trees in the forest in March.
Huong Khe District’s forest protection unit said the forest was under the management of Phu Gia Commune, which in turn assigned three local families to manage and take care of the forest.
Nguyen Van Nhan, chairman of the commune, accused these families of hiring local people to cut down trees in the forest, without permission from local officials.
The provincial agriculture department said individuals and organizations involved in the illegal logging will be punished.