Overexploitation has endangered Vietnam’s diverse forest landscape. The lowland plains, the karst mountains, and the coastal mangroves are home to over 1,500 species of birds, mammals, reptiles, and amphibians. Many more remain unknown. The Vietnam reforestation is helping the diverse tropical ecosystem of the nation recover its forests through natural reforestation and tree plantation drives.
The Vietnam reforestation project will help restore its forests, regulate the local climate, protect the diverse species in the biosphere and protect the nation from flooding and landslides. These measures will also hopefully safeguard watersheds that serve the local communities and provide economic stability to the villages. But the stress of the drive has been on the urban areas and that is a cause for concern to environmentalists.
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The administration was galvanized after a number of typhoons from the South China Sea in the latter half of 2020 wreaked havoc. The prime minister made a call for Vietnam reforestation through the plantation of a billion trees by 2025.
The initial drive for the Vietnam reforestation project will focus on the industrial zones, cities, and transportation corridors to increase forest cover and prevent flooding and landslides. Over 85% of the reforestation drive has been earmarked for the urban areas by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.
Ho Chi Minh City, the commercial capital of Vietnam has a mere 6 square feet (0.55 square meters) of green space for its residents. But only 198,000 acres (80,000 acres) of new forests will be created under the Vietnam reforestation drive. The remaining trees will be planted in the industrial and urbanized areas of the country.
The tradition of planting trees dates back to 1959 when Ho Chi Minh started a tradition of reforesting on the Lunar New Year. Vietnam was then split into 2 nations.
Earlier Vietnam Reforestation Drives Concentrated on Commercial Exploitation
Deforestation drives initiated earlier had concentrated on non-native trees like eucalyptus and acacia, mainly for paper and timber. But these vast plantations offered no benefit to the environment. They do not offer much protection from storms, store much less carbon, and cannot shelter wildlife. The quality of the forests has been sacrificed to make up the numbers and mainly for economic benefit.
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There has been a measure of success in the Mekong Delta region where the indigenous mangroves have been successfully expanded and can protect the coastal communities and generate a rich ecosystem. The 1 billion trees initiative will help control air pollution and bring a measure of greenery to the urban landscape.
All Image Credits: Micheal Tatarski