Vietnam: Deforestation rates again double this past year

Vietnam has one of the world’s highest rates of primary forest loss.
Between 1990 and 2005 the country lost 78 percent of its old-growth
forests. Much of these were replaced with industrial plantations —
overall forest cover has actually increased 38 percent since 1990.At
least 440 hectares (1100 acres) of tropical forest were illegally
logged in the central highland province. Protected areas are also
being logged.

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Deforestation increased 55 percent during the past year in Vietnam’s
Dak Nong province, reports the Vietnam News Agency.

Forest officials attribute the increase to high commodity prices, which incentivize the conversion of forest for cropland, as well as lack of staff and resources among companies that have leased forest concessions.

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peacefromtreesFebruary 19th, 2009 at 10:33 am

Exports of wood products could reach US$2.4 billion in 2007

Vietnam’s exports of wood products could climb as high as US$2.4 billion in 2007 after reaching a record US$1.93 billion in 2006 (+24.5% over 2005). The country continues to work on decreasing its dependency on wood imports with ambitious plans to increase forest cover to 43% by 2010 and provide up to 6 million cubic meters of sawn timber annually to the furniture industry. Wood imports, nevertheless continue to grow, increasing 14.6% in 2006, in the face of a thriving furniture industry and construction boom.

The market for Vietnam’s wood furniture spans across 120 countries and territories, but it is the United States, Japan, the United Kingdom and China that are the major destinations, accounting for over 60% of export value in 2006. Also noteworthy is the huge increase in exports to China during the first ten months of 2007; exports were almost double that of the same period the year before.

Over the last six years, Vietnam’s import of wood and forest products increased dramatically from only $120 million in 2000 to $716 million in 2006; an increase of almost 500%. Wood imports for 2006 increased 14.6% over the previous year. Given Vietnam’s continued expansion in the furniture industry and a growing construction industry, the demand for wood is expected to continue to rise. Current projections are that imports for 2007 will increase about 30% up from 2006. Malaysia, Laos, Cambodia, USA and China are the top five suppliers of forest products to Vietnam. Much of Vietnam’s wood and forest product imports are concentrated in logs, sawn lumber and veneers, which account for around 80%, with the rest being engineered wood.

Vietnam’s wood production for 2006 was 3.011 million cubic meters which is an increase of 11.4% over 2005. Wood is produced almost exclusively from planted forests as Vietnam’s Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) limits the exploitation of natural forests through a quota system. In 2006, MARD allowed 300,000 m3 of timber to be harvested from natural forests. The quota for 2007 has been reduced by half to only 150,000 m3 in an effort to protect natural forests.

As outlined in the Forestry Development Strategy for 2006-2020, Vietnam has a goal of granting forest certification to 30% of its total forest area. The Department of Forestry of MARD is currently working with the World Bank to develop standards/procedures to grant forest certification. Reportedly Vietnam’s exporters of wood and forest products are being increasingly asked by furniture importers (especially from EU countries) for evidence of forest certification. The industry in Vietnam reports that there are now about 130 wood processing plants certified as meeting the International Forest Stewardship Certification (FSC) standard. However, only a few thousand hectares of forest are certified as meeting the FSC standards. (FAS)

Posted by Vietnam Business News at 3:29 PM

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