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10/01/2022 - 10:32

Going into forest to survey afforestation varieties

On the days of late autumn and early winter, taking advantage of the sunny weather, a team of rangers and forestry experts carried many things into the remote forest of Sao La Nature Reserve (A Luoi District)… Not to investigate deforestation, not to set camera traps or to rescue animals, this time they embarked on a journey to seek native forest tree varieties from the natural forest in order to perform the mission of planting forest tree varieties and conserving rare genetic resources.

A team of experts researching and recording information on an ancient green ironwood tree root

The deeper they went into the forest, the more rare and precious forest trees appeared in turn to the surprise of the survey team. Rare and precious forest trees were carefully recorded and sampled in turn to prepare for the long-term plan in response to the Prime Minister's Project for planting 1 billion trees in the 2021-2025 period in the province.

In search of varieties in green forest

It took them all day to reach the previously identified forests of Sao La Nature Reserve. After resting for a while, the team members began to partition the field to seek native forest tree varieties.

“I thought this tree is the biggest and most dominant tree, but the more I went, the bigger trees I discovered,” recalled Mr. Tran Vu Ngoc Hung, Deputy Head of Forest Use and Development Division, Sub-department of Forest Protection. As a member of the variety source survey team, Mr. Hung said that this journey started from July 2021, each trip lasted from 3-7 days, depending on the forest area and weather.

With nearly two decades of experience in the job, Mr. Hung affirmed that variety is the top factor that determines the productivity and quality of planted forests.

He said, “Those must be the best trees with outstanding height, large diameter, straight round body, no pests, and high percentage of seeds... Maybe later in the future, when varieties are produced, the new genetic quality with high yield, resistance to pests and other adverse conditions can be improved.”

The information in turn was carefully and meticulously recorded by the survey team; in addition, it was also necessary to determine where the dominant trees are located, how the road system is. Not to mention the fact that there is a need to know what kind of soil the dominant tree is grown on together with parameters: slope direction; altitude above sea level; average, minimum, maximum air temperature and rainfall... These data will be for analysis and charting.

Aside from Sao La Nature Reserve, the team surveyed the rare native forest tree varieties also crossed the forest, waded through streams to seek remote forests of Bach Ma National Park, Management Board of Phong Dien Nature Reserve, Management Board of Bac Hai Van Protection Forest, Management Board of  Nam Dong Protection Forest... for research.

The further the team went, the more rare tree varieties they discovered such as green ironwood, merawan giaza, black meranti, vein meranti, lauan meranti…with dense growth. This proves that biodiversity should be not only conserved but also propagated and developed.

“Variety is conservation”

Besides the management role, the passion for seeking forest tree varieties motivated Mr. Nguyen Huu Huy, Deputy Director of the Provincial Forest Protection Sub-department, to cross the forest and wade streams along with employees on many survey trips His fatigue seemed to vanish when he saw a patch of forest with dozens of extremely rare and precious natural green ironwood trees, the diameter of which is too large for several people to hug.

A huge amount of information on native forest trees is carefully recorded, photographed

“At all costs, we must propagate these native tree varieties in a sustainable orientation. In the long run, depending on each forest stand, aside from conserving the native forest tree varieties, the propagation will contribute to the ecological environment protection in order to adapt to climate change," Mr. Huy said with confidence and hope.

The survey team went from one forest to another in the province; their notebooks were thick with information and data on rare and precious natural forest trees. All will be appraised and recognized by the technical council before varieties are officially produced.

Although no final decision has been made, the survey team is very confident with the list of 50 dominant native tree varieties, with priority given to endemic varieties such as green ironwood, merawan giaza, black meranti, mukulungu, terminalia, lauan meranti, dalbergia tonkinensis prain…They are seen as a valuable source of varieties on the journey of natural forest conservation for a land with a harsh climate like Hue.

“It is possible that as soon as the council approves the recognition of the variety source, in 2022, we will get working with a three-on-site process: on-site variety collection, on-site sowing and on-site planting. Our ambition is not only to conserve the variety source, but also to share this variety source with many other provinces and cities if need be," said Huy.

Mr. Nguyen Dai Anh Tuan, Deputy Director of the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, devoted much attention to planting and conserving natural forest trees when he was Director of the Provincial Forest Protection Sub-department. Having gone on business trip, exchanging experience with many colleagues in many countries, he said that currently many advanced countries worldwide have seed museums, the classification and preservation of natural biological seed sources are done in a scientific and methodical manner.

Meanwhile, although Vietnam is assessed as a country with rich biodiversity resources, for various reasons, the variety and conservation work has not yet received attention.

“Today, when opening our eyes, we see this tree or the other. However, no one knows whether the treasure may exist in the next few decades with the current degradation of natural resources if there are no specific solutions for preserving and developing natural variety resources,” Mr. Tuan shared and emphasized the summary statement made by the conservation scientists when talking about varieties, "Variety is conservation!"

Therefore, the variety work is currently being carried out by the sector with great urgency. Only in this way can we ensure that the coming generation will have a future and understand the significant value of the forest.

At least 7 million trees planted

That is the target set by the Provincial People's Committee in the Prime Minister’s project “In response to planting one billion trees in the 2021-2025 period in the province". Notably, 4.7 million trees are scatteredly planted in urban and rural areas; 2.3 million trees are concentrated in protection forests and newly planted in production forests.

Permanent Deputy Secretary of the Provincial Party Committee Phan Ngoc Tho at the time when he was Chairman of the Provincial People's Committee emphasized that this project plays an critical role in protecting the environment and human life. Aside from improving the quality of forests, the coverage rate in response to climate change, environmental protection, disaster mitigation..., it also generates jobs, increase income from forest products as well as agro-forestry-fishery models. The target number is not confined to 7 million trees; efforts should be redoubled to exceed the target.

Story: Phan Thanh

Photos provided by the Forest Protection Sub-department

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