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Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Laos Struggles as Forest Coverage Hits Record Low

This Week

Laos’ forest coverage has reached a record low of 40%, prompting the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry to implement conservation measures and rejuvenation plans to protect and revive the country’s forests.

According to a report from the Ministry given to Lao Security News, some 70% of Laos was covered in forests in 1940. Unfortunately, only 40% of that forested area remains today, and the situation continues to worsen due to various factors.

The degradation of forests can be attributed to threats such as infrastructure development, conversion of forest areas into industrial zones, land clearance for agriculture, and rampant logging, which contribute to the decline of forest cover.

In the report, Dr. Phonphiphak, Lao Minister of Agriculture and Forestry, highlighted the government’s commitment to addressing the problem.

The government has established directions, policies, laws, resolutions, directives, and other legislation. The National Assembly approved a master plan for land allocation across Laos until 2030.

The master plan includes the allocation of 4.7 million hectares of reserved forest, 8.2 million hectares of protected forest, 3.1 million hectares of productive forest, and 500,000 hectares of forest land for cultivation. The aim is to maintain approximately 16.5 million hectares of forest land and increase the forest cover to 70% of the nation’s total area.

The Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry has also developed a long-term strategy until 2035, with an outlook extending until 2050. The strategy focuses on the potential of abundant forest resources for socio-economic development, environmental protection, biodiversity, and livelihood.

Taking immediate action, the Lao government conducted a large-scale tree-planting effort on 1 June. Around 3,484,000 seedlings were planted across 3,480 hectares in 19 provinces throughout Laos. These trees include various wood types, such as rosewood, ironwood, teakwood, and other tropical varieties, aiming to create a diverse and thriving future forest.

Additionally, the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry has outlined a detailed 5-year plan (2021-2025) to plant trees across 200,000 hectares, averaging approximately 40,000 hectares each year. This initiative aligns with the Ministry’s mission to achieve a 70% forest cover in Laos and revitalize the nation’s natural resources.

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