Laos lawmakers say they have the mechanisms to manage and protect national forests in place but the rules are not strictly implemented by concerned personnel, which leads to increasing deforestation and decreasing forest areas.
Another cause is the granting of land concessions to foreign companies for development projects without a complete survey, leading to encroachment of national protected areas.
Small and medium-sized saw mills who obtain logs from illegal loggers are also considered another cause for deforestation. Thus, Prime Minister Bouasone earlier this year ordered about 2,000 saw mills across the country to shut down.
Laos forest density has decreased steadily for the past fifteen years, from 48% of the national land area in 1992 to 41% in 2002, and is expected to decrease to around 35% in 2007. Authorities have launched efforts to reclaim the forests, urging cooperation from all sectors, but progress has been slow.
Deliberating the issue during the current ordinary session, National Assembly members call for tougher punishment for personnel who fail to strictly enforce the rules, or who cooperate with illegal loggers.
Listen to our report for more details in Lao.