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Phu Quoc Arrests Local Man for Repeatedly Destroying Forest in National Park

Despite previous warnings, the man repeatedly committed major acts of deforestation over the span of more than a decade.

Tuoi Tre reports that police on Phu Quoc have arrested a man for clearing almost 80,000 square meters of forest this year.

Back in 2009, Dương Quốc Năng hired workers to cut down trees across 23,590 square meters in Phu Quoc National Park to expand his farm. At the time, forest protection officers discovered the clearing operation and had Nang sign a commitment that he would not cut down further parts of the forest.

However, he resumed the work in 2018, and authorities found that by February 2019 Năng had cleared another 12,520 square meters of forest, and in February of this year it was discovered that over 78,000 further square meters had been cleared. The felled trees had been burned at the time of discovery.

Deforestation such as the kind that Năng has committed can be punished with a fine of VND50–500 million or a jail sentence of 1–15 years, depending on the severity of the crime.

Sadly, the destruction of forests by individuals is not uncommon in Vietnam. In May of 2019, authorities in Lam Dong Province investigated the poisoning of over 3,000 pine trees by people who wanted the land for farming.

Natural forests in the Central Highlands are protected by a 2016 ban on development within them, but deforestation continues nonetheless.

Deforestation and forest health have been prominent topics in recent weeks following a series of deadly landslides in several provinces in central Vietnam. Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc has called for 1 billion trees to be planted nationwide over the next five years in order to improve the country's forest cover.

[Photo via Nhan Dan]

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