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Forest projects facing the axe

In Uncategorized on January 8, 2011 at 4:11 am

Forest projects facing the axe

QĐND – Monday, January 03, 2011, 20:37 (GMT+7)

A large chunk of Vietnam’s largest foreign forest planter’s six projects will face the chop due to lying in sensitive locations.

Lang Son province Department of Planning and Investment director Ly Vinh Quang said that the province would cut off part of Hong Kong-backed InnovGreen’s $50 million, 63,000 hectare forestation project licenced in February, 2008.

“It is because part of the project is in the country’s sensitive areas. Further examination is now underway,” said Quang.

Those “sensitive areas” are considered important to Vietnam’s strategic defense.

InnovGreen’s project would have covered 49 communes in districts of Van Quan, Trang Dinh, Loc Binh, Chi Lang, Cao Loc, Bac Son and Dinh Lap. Of which Trang Dinh, Loc Binh, Cao Loc and Dinh Lap.

Quang Nam province Department of Planning and Investment director Tran Van Tri echoed Quang’s view.

“Any sensitive area of InnovGreen’s project in Quang Nam will also be cut off,” Tri said.

InnovGreen was in July, 2008 licenced for a $40 million project to plant 30,000ha of forests in central Quang Nam’s nine districts, many of which, Tri claimed, were “sensitive to the national security and defense”.

Since July 2005, InnovGreen has been trying to cultivate its six big forest plantation projects worth $284.2 million and covering 349,000ha in Thanh Hoa, Quang Ninh, Nghe An, Lang Son, Kon Tum and Quang Nam provinces. However, it has been provided with over 8,600ha due to many reasons, which are mostly related to complicated procedures about giving land to foreign investors.

A reliable source familiar with InnovGreen told VIR that all of these six projects had a great part of their sites located in the country’s sensitive areas. “These projects have been halted for further examination.”

Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung on March 10, 2010 ordered local governments to freeze giving forest land to foreign investors until the ministries of Agriculture and Rural Development, and Planning and Investment (MPI) reviewed the projects. Dung’s iron hand followed public concerns over forest land leased to foreign investors being located in tracts of old-growth forests, in watersheds and in strategically significant border locations.

Last week, InnovGreen said if the land areas given to it by localities were considered to be “sensitive to Vietnam’s security and defense”, it stood ready to return such areas to localities immediately. “But in that case, localities must give us land in other locations with the same size and leasing period, while compensating us for all cost we have already spent opening roads and growing forests,” said InnovGreen Vietnam’s general director Wu Gwo Wei.

Tri of Quang Nam province, however, said that InnovGreen’s requirement could not be met because there would be no more land for the company’s project.

InnovGreen said that provincial authorities would violate their investment commitments if its projects’ areas were withdrawn without compensation, because all the land areas it leased were physically introduced by localities and its land leasing documents had been carefully examined and approved by relevant ministries and agencies under the government’s regulations.

Source: VIR

Source: QDND

An Giang releases rare birds and snakes into forest

In Uncategorized on November 24, 2010 at 4:52 am

The Forest Management Department of the Mekong Delta Province of An Giang released 269 rare and valuable birds and more than 70 kilos of snakes into the Tra Su Indigo ecological forest in Tinh Bien District.

The local authorities have seized the animals and rare birds including laughing thrushes, starlings, orioles, magpies, parrots and more in Chau Phu District and Chau Doc Town.

The An Giang Forest Management Department has also cooperated with Long Xuyen City to organize two training courses on harmfulness of the red-eared turtles and methods to destroy them for more than 100 officials of local authorities, famer clubs, and pet shops’ owners.

Source: SGGP

Forest stewards group receives certification

In Uncategorized on November 10, 2010 at 1:58 pm

Russia forest fires spread in record heatwave

In Uncategorized on August 2, 2010 at 11:20 am

Russian firefighters battled the flames of spreading forest fires that have already killed 34 people and devastated villages, but officials claimed some success in controlling the disaster.

The emergency situations ministry said it deployed hundreds of thousands of workers to fight the blazes, along with 2,000 members of the armed forces, as the situation worsened early Sunday due to temperatures hitting 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit) and strong winds.

More than 5,000 people have been evacuated from their homes, the ministry said.

But later in the day, ministry spokeswoman Irina Andrianova announced that the situation had “improved considerably” in the last few hours.

“During the day today, fires flared up at 320 sites, and 210 have been put out,” she said on Rossia 24 television.

 A Russian man watches forest fires burn in Beloomut late on August 1, 2010.

She also said the total area engulfed by the wildfires had been reduced by 7,000 hectares to about 128,000 hectares (316,000 acres).

Still, with blistering temperatures forecast over the next few days as the country faces one of its worst heatwaves, the ministry has warned of an “extreme risk” of more forest fires.

Two more bodies were discovered Sunday in a burnt-out village in the Nizhny Novgorod region, the emergency ministry’s regional branch said, raising the official death toll to 30.

In the Voronezh region, one of those worst-hit, almost 600 people have been left homeless, Russian television reported, showing residents evacuated to a hotel and volunteers bringing bags of clothes.

“There has never been a fire like this,” fireman Maxim Korolyov told AFP in the village of Maslovka, where all but five of the 150 houses burnt down on Friday. “It’s the first time I have had to fight a fire of this size.

Elderly resident Vera Sakharova complained that firefighters had come too late. “We did not have any help,” she told AFP. “We had to do everything ourselves.”

Sceptical of promises of state help, Sakharova predicted: “They have given us nothing, and they won’t give us anything.”

“I don’t know what we are going to do after this,” she added.

At least 1,875 houses have been destroyed in fires, leaving more than 2,000 people homeless, the regional development ministry said Sunday.

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin promised on television on Saturday that all the houses would be rebuilt by October, after allocating five billion rubles (165 million dollars).

The strongman leader on Friday visited a village in the worst affected Nizhny Novgorod region. In a televised encounter, tearful residents confronted Putin, who promised to rebuild their homes and embraced one of the women.

However, a video posted on YouTube showed Putin being heckled by a crowd of shouting residents.

“You aren’t doing anything, everything is burning,” one woman can be heard shouting in the footage, which has been viewed more than 30,000 times but was not shown on state television.

“Our administration is working very badly, it needs to be convicted,” another woman shouts, as Putin is shown turning and walking away.

On Saturday Putin admitted the situation was “extremely tense” and berated officials for their tardy response, saying: “Not everything was done in a timely way, but now is not the time to squabble.”

Putin is set to meet with the governors of the affected regions in Moscow on Monday.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, speaking from Sochi on Saturday, called the situation a “natural disaster of the kind that probably only happens every 30 or 40 years.”

Medvedev did not visit the scene, but is in constant contact with regional governors, his press service told the ITAR-TASS news agency on Sunday.

Patriarch Kirill, the head of the Russian Orthodox Church, on Sunday held a service in the Nizhny Novgorod region and called for believers to pray for rain, the RIA Novosti news agency reported.

Source: SGGP

Death toll climbs as Russia forest fires spread

In Uncategorized on August 1, 2010 at 11:19 am

MOSCOW (AFP) – Firefighters on Sunday fought an uphill battle against spreading forest fires that have already killed 30 people, destroyed thousands of homes and mobilised hundreds of thousands of emergency workers.

The emergency ministry said Sunday that forest fires had engulfed more than 114,000 hectares across Russia. It mobilised almost 240,000 emergency workers to fight the blazes, along with 2,000 members of the armed forces.

Fires in the sparsely populated Far Eastern region grew three times in size over the last 24 hours, with the remote Kamchatka peninsula being hardest hit, the ITAR-TASS news agency reported Sunday, citing the region’s forestry department.

Grass burns in the village of Beloomut caught in a deep smoke. AFP

The emergency situations ministry gave a death toll of 28 on Saturday, including seven in the Moscow region.

Two more bodies were found Sunday in a burnt-out village in the Nizhny Novgorod region, the regional emergency ministry said, raising the official death toll to 30.

Nizhny Novgorod emergency services said Sunday that the firefighters had managed to stop fires spreading further overnight.

In the Voronezh region, one of those worst-hit, almost 600 people have been left homeless, Russian television reported, showing residents evacuated to a hotel and bags of clothes brought by volunteers.

Local resident Galina Shibanova told of escaping from her home, where she lived with seven members of her family, and moving to a cramped hotel with 148 other residents.

“It was impossible to go out into the street,” Shibanova said in an interview on television. “There was a lot of smoke and the children were choking. We covered their mouths with cloths and handkerchiefs and quickly put them in the car.”

“There has never been a fire like this,” fireman Maxim Korolyov told AFP in the village of Maslovka, where all but five of the 150 houses burnt down on Friday. “It’s the first time that I have had to fight a fire of this size.

An elderly resident, Vera Sakharova, complained that firefighters had come too late. “We did not have any help,” she said. “We had to do everything ourselves.”

Sceptical of promises of state help, Sakharova predicted: “They have given us nothing, and they won’t give us anything.”

“I don’t know what we are going to do after this,” she said.

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin on Friday visited a village in the Nizhny Novgorod region where more than 300 houses burnt down, leaving more than 500 homeless. Angry residents confronted the strongman leader, who promised to rebuild their homes and embraced one tearful woman.

Putin said on television on Saturday that 1,257 houses had burned down across Russia and promised that they would all be rebuilt by October, after allocating a total of five billion roubles (165 million dollars).

Speaking via video link with regional governors, Putin called the situation “extremely tense” and berated officials for their tardy response, saying: “Not everything was done in a timely way, but now is not the time to squabbling.”

In an earlier broadcast from Sochi Russian President Dmitry Medvedev called the situation a “natural disaster of the kind that probably only happens every 30 or 40 years.”

The fires unleashed by one of Russia’s worst heatwave have devastated the regions in the centre and the Volga river basin, to the east and southeast of Moscow.

Temperatures were forecast to hit 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit) over the next few days in affected regions, with the emergency ministry warning of an “extreme risk” of more forest fires.

Source: SGGP

Dak Lak develops protective and production forest

In Uncategorized on July 30, 2010 at 7:19 pm

Dak Lak develops protective and production forest

QĐND – Friday, July 30, 2010, 20:57 (GMT+7)

PANO – From the beginning of this year’s rainy season up to now, the Central Highlands Dak Lak Province has reforested around 2,675 hectares, including 2,660 hectares for production forest and 15 hectares for protective forest.

In 2010, Dak Lak Province will afforest an additional 7,020 hectares, of which 670 hectares will be for protective forest, and the remainder is for production forest. 900,000 trees of all kinds will be planted.

Trees are generally planted in the rainy season, from July to September every year.

Translated by Vu Hung

Source: QDND

Forest protection helps highlands communes escape poverty

In Uncategorized on July 29, 2010 at 11:17 am

Thanks to payment received for environmental services (PES), residents of two communes in the highlands province of Lam Dong have escaped poverty.

Households in Lam Dong Province (Photo: Vietnam Government Web Portal)

After two years of conducting a pilot project of PES in two communes, one of several mechanisms for generating sustainable financing for biodiversity conservation, deforestation has reduced along the Da Nhim River in Lac Duong District where people had chopped down many pine trees to grow coffee.

The program rewards local communities involved in conservation activities by allowing them to manage land and resources, and then providing payment for the economically important goods and services that result from their ecological stewardship.

Da Sar commune People’s Committee chairman Ya Tiong said almost all local farmers have been assigned to protect nearly 15,000 hectares of jungle in the commune; they feel proud to be guardians of the jungle, which intensifies their awareness of environmental protection.

Meanwhile, 260 households in Da Nhim Commune agreed to guard over 7.500 hectares of jungle. Da Nhim Hydro Power Plant paid VND290,000 per hectare to each household in 2009.

Lac Duong District People’s Committee said deforestation violations in communes Da Sar and Da Nhim have reduced by half since the program was implemented.

Moreover, each household nets VND8 million by protecting 30 wood hectares annually; they spent the sum on high yielding breeds of coffee, planting vegetables or raising cattle and poultry.

Households stand to earn VND45 million per year through farming.  The rate of impoverished families in Da Sar commune has dropped from 30.35 per cent in 2008 to 14.5 per cent in 2009; meanwhile the poverty rate has reduced from 34.33 per cent to 27.54 per cent in Da Nhim Commune.

The government issued a decision to pay for environmental services in 2008 for the highlands province of Lam Dong, the northern provinces of Son La and Hoa Binh, the central province of Binh Thuan and Ninh Thuan, the southern province of Dong Nai and Ho Chi Minh City.

Hydro power plants, water suppliers and tourist companies in the areas with jungles must pay for the services, according to the decision.

Source: SGGP

Firefighters extinguish blaze in Ca Mau forest after three days

In Uncategorized on May 5, 2010 at 4:39 pm

Firefighters extinguish blaze in Ca Mau forest after three days

QĐND – Wednesday, May 05, 2010, 21:39 (GMT+7)

Firefighters have extinguished a fire that broke out in the U Minh Ha forest in southernmost Ca Mau province’s Thoi Binh District on May 2. About 90ha of trees were destroyed in the three-day blaze.

However, the director of U Minh Ha Forestry C, Tran Thanh Su, said there was a high risk that the hot and dry weather could cause the fire to break out again from smouldering charcoal.

“Authorities have placed firefighters on 24-hour duty to extinguish any new outbreaks,” he said.

“Investigations are being carried out to find out the cause of the fire,” Su said.

According to the Department of Forest Management, eight provinces and cities nationwide have been placed on forest-fire alert because of the prolonged hot and dry weather.

An Giang, Binh Dinh, Binh Thuan, Ca Mau and Ninh Thuan provinces are on the highest fire-alert level.

Source: VNS/VOVNews

Source: QDND

Eight provinces at high risk of forest fires

In Uncategorized on May 3, 2010 at 8:29 pm

Eight provinces at high risk of forest fires

QĐND – Monday, May 03, 2010, 20:46 (GMT+7)


Many areas in the central highlands and southern regions have suffered severe droughts that could lead to forest fires breaking out.

These areas are mainly in the eight provinces of Kon Tum, An Giang, Binh Dinh, Binh Thuan, Ninh Thuan, Quang Ngai, Quang Nam and Ca Mau.

The National Steering Committee for the Prevention of Forest Fires has urged People’s Committees at all levels to introduce tough measures to prevent forest fire and ensure rescue services.

Source: VOV

Source: QDND

Forest flavours of the Central Highlands

In Uncategorized on April 19, 2010 at 2:19 pm

For many residents in the Central Highlands’ Truong Son area, food is not just a matter of subsistence, it is filled with ritual and tradition. Locals here have always lived off the land, resulting in a unique cuisine full of fresh, earthy flavors and hidden delights.

Unlike most urban people, who are far removed from the food production process and purchase their meals in supermarkets, Central Highlands residents have a very close relationship with nature. They cultivate nearly all their own crops, raise livestock, hunt, and gather herbs and other items from the mountains and rivers.

People here grow their own rice, cassava, maize, and potatoes, and raise cattle, poultry, fish, and shellfish. From these foundational ingredients, locals create a veritable cornucopia of traditional specialties, many of which are served during holidays.

Scrumptious buffalo dishes

One of the most prominent foods in Central Highlands cuisine is buffalo meat. The animals are usually killed as part of a traditional, sacrifice ritual. Locals believe that once a buffalo has been killed in this manner, its meat becomes imbued with spiritual energy.

Buffalo meat is grilled over hot coals

The animals are considered extremely valuable as they are large enough to feed an entire village. The most delectable parts of the buffalo are said to be the organs, while another popular dish consists of buffalo meat cooked in bamboo shoots to preserve the natural flavors.

Considered equally delicious is a meal of grilled buffalo meat. The meat is chopped into small pieces and rolled with wild betel leaves. The rolls are then placed on skewers and grilled over hot coals. In addition, the bones and organs can be mixed with fresh forest herbs to create a fragrant, tasty soup that is especially popular with children and the elderly.

Central Highlands residents also use traditional methods of processing and preserving meat for later use. Accordingly, the meat is torn into long slabs and hung above hot coals until dry. It is then stored in bamboo shoots with covers placed on the ends. When guests visit, residents will remove the meat, grill it slightly, and cut it into smaller chunks to cook with vegetables, rice or sliced cassava.

Dishes prepared with animal skins from buffalo, deer and boar are also specialties of the region. Locals slice the skin, without removing the hair, into long pieces and dry them thoroughly before hanging in a kitchen for later use.

When needed, the skins are seared and tenderized, the hairs are shaved off, and the slices are chopped up and put in a cooking pot. When the skin is soft and well-done, spices and forest herbs are added.

Luscious Lam rice

A sticky- rice dish known as Lam rice is another popular fare in the Central Highlands region. In this specialty, regular or glutinous rice is first soaked in water to soften and then sealed with banana leaves inside bamboo shoots to cook over a fire. The cook will remain near the fire, periodically turning the shoots upside down until the tube’s contents begin to boil.

Before serving, the hard outer bamboo layer is removed, leaving only the inner core. The host may then cut off the inner layer as well, revealing the entire rice log, or guests may opt to do it themselves. However, diners normally enjoy peeling back the layer themselves to unveil the silky white bamboo tissue and the delectable, sweet rice inside.

During ethnic holidays, the same type of bamboo shoots are also used to cook fish dishes. About a week before Tet (the lunar New Year), locals often organize collective fishing trips in big rivers. Several types of tree bark are used to help catch fish and embankments may be altered to lower water levels to make fishing easier.

 In small streams, women and children scoop up fish with nets. The fish are then grilled or steamed, or dried and placed in bamboo shoots for later use. Seafood can also be cooked inside bamboo shoots until the outer layer is burnt, and the fish is then sun-dried.

Pepper and cakes of the Co Tu

Co Tu women make Cuoc cake

Highland cuisine is also known for its exotic peppery flavors. Forest pepper is a spice used in many ethnic dishes of the local Co Tu peoples. The seasoning is added to accentuate the flavour of a host of dishes including boiled stream fish in bamboo shoots; lieng fish fried golden brown; or grilled chicken, squirrel, boar, or pork.

Forest pepper can be added directly onto foods when preparing the dishes, or be ground into a mixture with salt. This is the primary condiment of the Co Tu. Just a little pepper added to any meal creates a very special taste that is spicy, yet less hot than regular chili peppers.

During Highlands festivals, the Co Tu often prepare another delicacy known as Cuoc cake. It is also called buffalo horn cake as its shape resembles a pair of buffalo horns. The popular treat is wrapped in “dot” leaves, which grow abundantly in the forest. Hence, the specialty is also sometimes called dot cake.

The wrapping is similar to that of the Kinh people’s U cake, but lacks its green bean filling. When freshly cooked, the cake is fragrant, sticky, and the outer layer is stained with the green hue of the dot leaves. After several days, when the cake dries up and hardens, the Co Tu people grill them over charcoal to make the cake soft and fragrant again.

These traditional foods and many more of the Central Highlands people are renowned for both their unique taste and high nutritional content. Such dishes are indeed a hidden gem in the culinary treasures of ethnic minorities in the country.

Source: SGGP