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18,600 Trees to Be Cut for Tourist Road Through Can Gio

Saigon authorities have given the go-ahead for a US$8.7 million road through the UNESCO recognized Can Gio biosphere reserve that will necessitate the felling of 18,600 trees.

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Can Gio District said that the 17 meter wide and 3.5 kilometer long road, meant to boost tourism to the area, will result in the destruction of 6.4 hectares of mangrove forest, reports Thanh Nien.

It also said that while the project will “lead to erosion in the area, divide the natural community inside the forest and disturb the habitat with traffic noises,” it will bring "benefits" to locals who can make more money from tourism services than farming.

The district pledged to replant the lost trees by 2018, adding that the city government will assess the project’s environmental impacts before giving it final approval.

The 31,000 hectare forest is already accessible to tourists but district officials said that a road would go a long way to boosting visits.

Can Gio biosphere was awarded UNESCO recognition in 2010 for its vast mangrove forest that is not only home to 200 species of wildlife and 150 species of flora, but is also an important deterrent against erosion in the region.

According to official data, Vietnam boasts only 157,000 hectares of mangrove forest, down from 400,000 hectares in 1943.

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