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Vietnam’s dipterocarp forest conservation zone targeted by loggers

Last update: 07:31 | 17/05/2018

VietNamNet Bridge - With abundant resources and a variety of rare wood, the Yok Don National Park is a target for illegal loggers.


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Yok Don is targeted by illegal loggers



Yok Don National Park is mainly located in Buon Don district of Dak Lak province. It has a typical dipterocarp forest ecosystem with rich flora, with hundreds of rare species of wood.

Nguyen Huu Tao, deputy head of the Yok Don National Park, who has been working at the park for a few decades, said that precious wood in the buffer zone was first cut down in 2005-2006. Since then, illegal loggers have been ‘attacking’ the core zone of the park.

Deforestation has been occurring for many years. However, between 2010 and 2012 the most severe devastation occurred. In this period, hundreds of precious and rare ancient trees were felled. 

Meanwhile, the police discovered that many foreign rangers had lent a hand to illegal loggers. More seriously, the son of a park’s leader was found organizing deforestation efforts.

In early 2011, in many areas of Yok Don, giang huong trees (Pterocarpus macrocarpus) with a trunk diameter of nearly one meter each were chopped down. The situation became so serious that the agriculture ministry had to work with local authorities to strengthen forest protection.

Yok Don National Park is mainly located in Buon Don district of Dak Lak province. It has a typical dipterocarp forest ecosystem with rich flora, with hundreds of rare species of wood.

A leader of the Buon Don district authorities said at a meeting that the forest rangers’ unit of Yok Don was paralyzed, and there were signs of forest rangers colluding with illegal loggers.

In August 2012, when arriving in Wards 477 and 484 in Yok Don, inspectors counted 70 cam xe (Xylia xylocarpa) and giang huong trees felled. One felled big giang huong tree was seen on the forest rangers’ patrol route.

Hydropower plant opposed by locals

Thousands of precious trees would have been cleared and hundreds of animals would have left their habitat to make room for a hydropower plant if locals had not protested the project.

Tao said the Yok Don National Park can survive attacks by illegal loggers and hydropower projects because many people who love the park and have vowed to protect it.

One of them is Do Quang Tung, who is now acting director of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development’s Forest Ranger Department. 

Tung, who is the former head of the Yok Don National Park, opposed the Drang Phok project. He sent many documents to concerned agencies, confirming that the environment must not be sacrificed for enterprises’ benefits.

Finally, the project was canceled.


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