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Ministry encourages tree planting, fire prevention to boost forest cover

The Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry has directed provincial and district authorities to promote tree planting as well as fire prevention strategies among local communities to restore forests.
Provincial departments of agriculture and forestry also need to work harder to mobilise volunteers to control forest fires, and everyone should take preventative actions, especially in the dry season.

This was the message from Director General of the Forestry Department under the  Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, Mr Souxat Xayakouman when he spoke to Lao media recently.
Laos plans to plant more than 11 million trees on 10,000 hectares leading up to National Arbour Day on June 1 as part of efforts to restore forest cover to 70 percent of the total land area by the end this year.
He said tree planting should be enough to replace that destroyed by fire and more awareness raising was needed among the public, especially young people in ethnic groups. Then they would realise the importance of planting trees in reducing the impacts of climate change which directly affected their lives.
The tree planting will also help the government to achieve its target of 400,000 hectares of natural forest restoration by the end of 2020.
Mr Souxat noted the tree planting would also assist in restoring forest cover for many thousands of hectares in the northern provinces of Oudomxay, Luang Namtha, Luang Prabang, and Phongsaly which were destroyed by bushfires in April.
Meanwhile, the ministry has stressed that all events to mark Arbour Day must adhere to the government’s measures to prevent a recurrence of COVID-19.
The exhibition of tree seedlings must be held in an appropriate place with the number of people attending each activity limited, and celebration ceremonies should be as brief as possible.
Forestry authorities should cooperate with provincial education and sports departments to encourage private and government schools, colleges, and other organisations to hold tree planting activities in their area, especially public parks and along roadsides.
The activities are becoming increasingly important in achieving the nation’s forest coverage targets as well as mitigating the effects of climate change and protecting biodiversity.
Some 20 National Protected Areas cover 14 percent of the country with Dong Natad and Dong Phou Vieng in Savannakhet province and Phou Khao Khuay in Vientiane being some leading examples.


By Phetphoxay Sengaseuth
(Latest Update May 29, 2020)


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