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What is the best way to protect and expand our forests?

The government aims to plant trees on 36,950 hectares across the country this year, as part of reforestation efforts and for commercial use. The ultimate goal is to achieve 70 percent forest cover nationwide by 2025, and to develop a sustainable plan for natural resource conservation and usage. Vientiane Times asked around for opinions about forest expansion and conservation.
 
Ms Mone Duangphachan, a resident of Luang Prabang city: As we know, forests in Laos are shrinking every day because of development projects and the illegal harvesting of timber. The best way to protect forests is to enforce the rules and stop more trees from being felled. And we need to plant more trees and protect our planet for our children’s sake. You can begin at home by planting a few trees as this can help reduce global warming and ensure a healthy and balanced environment. Every year the government urges people to plant trees, which is a costly undertaking. But after planting trees, no one pays much attention to them so I don’t know how long they survive for. I think the best thing is to make sure that we don’t cut down trees, so that they grow and provide shade. 

 

Mr Khamla Manivong, an official of Vientiane province: It’s good that we plant more trees each year as, properly cared for, they will mature and last for a long time. The best way to protect forests is for the authorities to put a stop to the illegal timber trade and remind people about the impacts of this trade. I have seen many problems caused by deforestation. Wildlife is threatened because habitats are being destroyed, and fewer trees means more flooded land, hot weather and landslides.

Ms Soudchai, a resident of Xaysettha district, Vientiane: It is essential that more is done to protect our forests and other natural resources. It’s not only the responsibility of the authorities, it is the duty of everyone to cooperate in this endeavour. There are many problems caused by human activity that pose a serious challenge. Because of global warming and an increase in pollution, hot weather has affected many countries. It would be great if everyone ensures that development takes nature into consideration, including all ecological systems. We ought to do everything we can to make sure development doesn’t affect natural resources.
 
Ms Noy Vongsavang, a resident of Xaythany district: I think forests are crucial to conserving the environment. Forests everywhere, and in Laos, are now at risk. This is a critical issue and everyone should join forces to turn the situation around and halt environmental degradation. To restore our forests, I would like everyone, including young people and children, to think about the importance of tree cultivation and the most suitable types to plant, such as commercial tree species. We should not fell too many trees, or use or buy wood derived from exotic trees. We should plant more trees because it will make our country greener and help preserve water sources, while enlarging the area that is forested. More trees and thick forests will make the air fresher and cleaner and help to reduce global warming.

Mr Auan Duangphichit, an employee in Vientiane: These days you don’t see many big trees around, especially commercial species. We should get serious about this problem and think about what we can do to stop the illegal timber trade and make people fear the law. Even though we have many forest conservation areas, vast swathes of trees are felled illegally. I urge the authorities and everyone else to do more to protect our forests. We should not plant trees only on National Arbour Day, but should do so every day, as forests are an important part of our lives. I’d like the government to create more jobs for people so they won’t have to do things like cut down trees because this depletes our store of natural resources.


 

 

By Lamphone Pasanthong
(Latest Update June 1, 2021)


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