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What should be done to stop illegal tree felling?

The government has ordered a crackdown on illegal logging but the practice continues unabated, posing a severe obstacle to forest conservation and environmental protection. Vientiane Times asked members of the public for their views on effective measures to curb illicit tree felling.

 

Mr Khampeuy Sinkhavong, a government official in Sikhottabong district, Vientiane: Unfortunately, the amount of forested land in Laos is decreasing every day, largely due to development projects and illegal logging. The best way to protect our forests is to put a blanket ban on the felling of trees. The destruction of forests causes many problems, including the loss of habitat for wildlife. It affects the entire ecological system, so we need to plant more trees and protect the planet for our children’s sake. We can all can start at home by planting a few trees, as this can help to slow global warming and protect the environment.
 
Ms Sonethavy Silattana, a resident of Naxaithong district, Vientiane: I think there is less illegal logging than in the past, but I’m not sure whether this is due to measures imposed by the authorities or because there are fewer areas of valuable trees to be felled. The authorities should do more to curb the illegal timber trade by penalising offenders and impounding wood that has been harvested illegally. The best way to protect forests is for the authorities to remind people about the harmful impacts of illegal logging. I have observed many problems caused by excessive tree felling. Wildlife is under threat because of the loss of habitat, and we should all make an attempt to plant more trees.

Ms Soudchai, a resident of Xaythany district, Vientiane: It is essential that more is done to protect our forests and natural resources. This is something we all need to be aware of, but unfortunately some people are greedy and steal wood for their personal benefit. The destruction of forests contributes to global warming and an increase in pollution. Every effort should be made to ensure that development takes into consideration the natural world and we should do everything we can to make sure development doesn’t affect natural resources.
 
Mr Noy Souvixay, a resident of Luang Prabang province: I think forests are crucial to preserving the environment. Today, forests everywhere, including in Laos, are 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. We should not fell a lot of trees, or use or buy wood derived from exotic trees. We should help each other to plant more trees because it will make our country greener and 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.
 
Ms Bualoy Duangphichit, an employee in Vientiane province: These days we don’t see so many big trees, especially valuable hardwood species. I think we should get serious about this problem and think about what we can do to stop illegal logging and make people fear the law. Even though there are many protected areas around the country, encroachment into forests and illegal logging is commonplace. I urge the authorities and everyone else to do more to protect our forests. I’d like the government to create more jobs for people so they aren’t forced to cut down trees to earn a living or sustain themselves, as this causes a huge amount of damage.


 
 By Lamphone Pasanthong
(Latest Update September 20, 2023)


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