At least 114 hectares (281 acres) of forest has been lost due to illegal logging in Lam Dong Province so far this year, with the involvement of forest rangers, local media reported.
The Forest Protection Department of the Central Highlands province has recorded 500 cases of deforestation, Tuoi Tre reported.
Many officials said that apart from exploiting timber, some people also killed and cut down trees to claim land for growing coffee.
“Violations in forest protection have become more common but relevant agencies have not taken effective measures,” said Hoang Thi Khiem, deputy chairwoman of Vietnam Fatherland Front’s Lam Dong Unit, an umbrella agency of socio-political agencies.
“Most of the violators only face administrative measures. Only a few cases face criminal charges,” she said.
Nguyen Van Yen, deputy chairman of Lam Dong People’s Committee, said deforestation cases have increased by 5.5 percent over the last year.
In a recent case, police in the districts of Di Linh, Da Teh and Bao Loc have arrested five forest protection officials and two poachers for investigation against timber poaching accusations.