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Xe-Pian Xe-Namnoy Protected area to become a national park

The Xe-Pian Xe-Namnoy National Protected Area in southern Laos will be transformed into a national park in the near future, according to a senior official.
Previously known as a thick forest, this protected area serves as an important watershed for various rivers and a key source of water for the Xe-Pian Xe-Namnoy hydropower plant.
Once the area becomes a national park, more funding will be sourced from Laos and other countries to protect its forests, biodiversity and natural beauty.
The move should ease the financial burden on the government while encouraging all sectors of society to conserve their natural heritage.
 “Local people will be allowed to help protect the park,” said the Governor of Champassak province, Dr Vilayvong Bouddakham.

“We will encourage the private sector to develop ecotourism in the park and generate income for local people, and they can help protect the forests in the park.”
Dr Vilayvong told the media about this initiative during a government meeting of cabinet members, the Vientiane mayor and provincial governors recently.
“We have proposed this project to the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry. The ministry has agreed to submit the scheme to the government and National Assembly for consideration and approval,” he said.
“If the national park is successfully established, we will cooperate with other countries, especially Japan and the Republic of Korea, to better protect our natural environment. Our goal is to develop tourism activities in the national park while protecting forests for sustainable purposes.”
The establishment of the park will enable researchers to use the area as an outdoor classroom to study the relationship between biodiversity and the protection of nature.
In 2019, the government created two national parks, giving birth to the Nam Et-Phou Louey Park in the north and the Nakai-Nam Theun Park in the central region.
The establishment of the two parks is part of the National Green Growth Strategy, which the government endorsed in January 2019, aiming to keep development on a sustainable path.
Over the past few decades, economic growth has depended heavily on the exploitation of natural resources, with huge numbers of large trees being felled and sold as a source of revenue.
But economists say the exploitation of natural resources to boost growth is not sustainable and the country will suffer when natural resources are exhausted.
With 68 percent forest coverage, Champassak is known for its waterfalls, which draw hundreds of thousands of foreign visitors to the province each year.
“We have three protected areas which could become national parks. To begin with, we will propose Xe-Pian Xe-Namnoy and then recommend that two other areas are turned into national parks,” Dr Vilayvong said.
Xe-Pian Xe-Namnoy is closely linked to the livelihoods of people living in Champassak and Attapeu provinces. If the area becomes a national park, it will benefit people living in all of the southern provinces.
Laos could also benefit from selling carbon credits if the forests in this region are well protected.


 


BySomsack Pongkhao
(Latest Update
January 19,
2021)


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