The Vientiane Province administration has ordered the closures of 194 saw mills and small wood processing plants in the province, while Laos’ Forestry Department is inspecting over 1,000 others across the country, as part of an effort to prevent and crack down on illegal logging.
Mr. Veunvang Bouttalath, head of the Lao Forestry Department, acknowledges that illegal looging is widespread, and it is believed that the existence of over 1,000 saw mills and wood processing plants are part of the cause of declining forests areas in Laos.
It is estimated that forest density in Laos has declined considerably during the past 15 years, from 48% of the country's land area in 1992 to 36% currently. Although Laos has launched a campaign to reforest, it will take years to recover the lost forests.
Listen to our Laos Today report for more details.