Lao authorities acknowledge that land concessions to foreign investors have created problems, with many concessions encroaching upon private properties and protected areas, allowing for illegal logging, and leading to the shrinking of national forests.
Officials say problems of improper land concessions have occurred mostly due to lack of accurate land surveys or double allocations by central and provincial authorities. One bad example is the land concession for the Se Kaman 1 dam project in Attapeu province, which provides no clear-cut boundaries, causing over-deforestation.
In 1940, forests covered 70% of Laos' land, spanning an area of 17 million hectares. That figure has now dropped to 35%.