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DPM calls for greater protection of forests, planting of more trees

Deforestation is triggering concern and underlining the critical need to better protect forests and plant more trees, the Deputy Prime Minister has told authorities in charge.
In his opening speech at a national meeting in Vientiane yesterday, Dr Sonexay Siphandone told participants to redouble their efforts to increase forest cover to 70 percent by 2020 as targeted.
The three-day meeting titled “Tree Plantation Promotion to Increase Forest Cover to 70 percent by 2020” brought together representatives from provinces across the country in charge of forestry affairs.
Participants were set to discuss measures and policies to promote tree planting and reforestation while addressing shortcomings.
The DPM recalled that in 1940 forest cover was estimated at 70 percent, but the forested area had reportedly declined to just 58 percent by 2015.
Converting forest areas to other purposes without proper planning, shifting slash and burn cultivation, and unsustainable logging have been the three main causes for forest loss, Dr Sonexay told the three-day meeting.
Reports have also emerged that illegal logging was another cause of forest loss.
In an attempt to support tree planting to increase forest cover, Mr Sonexay asked the meeting to review the existing policy and regulations on tree planting and reforestation.
Discussions centred on best practices for identifying ways to address any shortcomings.
“This will encourage more investment in tree planting and reforestation which will help to increase forest cover as targeted and provide sufficient raw materials for wood processing needs,” he said.
The DPM called for the meeting to identify and compile any shortcomings undermining investment promotion efforts on tree planting and to submit these to the government to seek guidance.
Participants were also asked to review the current promotion policy concerning planting, timber processing and marketing to ensure that Laos can compete with other countries in the region.
Dr Sonexay stressed the need to assess the development of necessary technologies and labour skills concerning wood processing to ensure that timber harvested in Laos was used in the most effective way and value was added.
The government places great importance on adding value to timber products in order to maximise the nation’s wood resources.
In 2016, Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith issued Prime Ministerial Order No. 15 prohibiting the export of unfinished wood products in a move aimed at processing timber in the country and thus adding value before wood products were exported.

By Times Reporters
(Latest Update
March 6,

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