Kien Giang to rent out forests for ecotourism

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Kien Giang Province in the Mekong Delta has approved a plan to rent out forests for eco-tourism purposes arguing that the business will help protect them.

Lam Hoang Sa, vice chairman of Kien Giang People’s Committee, said the plan, to be carried out until 2015, makes use of all possible sources to develop the forests and protect them from logging and encroachment.

It also allows use of the forest environment to develop eco-tourism in the province, Sa said.

“I don’t think renting the forests out will destroy their environment,” he said.

Under the plan, more than 6,800 hectares of forests in U Minh Thuong, An Minh, Kien Luong, Kien Hai, Hon Dat Districts and Ha Tien Town will be rented out.

Those renting the forests will have to develop flora resources in the area, like planting trees in bare spots. They will be allowed to put up constructions only at specified locations.

Sam said the province will checked quality, number and location of trees in the forest areas before renting them out and issue specific conditions on their use.

“The project developers must have enough money (to develop tourism in the area), experience in forest management and show their commitment to the forest,” he said.

Forests on Phu Quoc Island are excluded from the plan, Sam said, explaining that the central government has not yet marked out forest land on the island.

People who have lived inside forests for a long time without land use rights will receive some support to move from their homes under the plan, he added.

Source: Tuoi Tre

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