Lao people request their national assembly members to investigate illegal loggings across the country, especially illicit loggings in national forest conservation zones and in concession areas granted for industrial tree plantations.
In his speech to the ongoing 7th Ordinary Session of the Sixth Legislature, National Assembly Vice President Xaysomphone Phomvihane stressed that lawmakers from many provinces across the nation have unanimously said that the issue their constituents are most concerned with is the practice of illegal logging for illicit lumber trade purposes, which has become increasingly widespread encroaching upon the 20 national forest conservation areas across Laos. Furthermore, parts of many national forest conservation areas have been granted to developers as long-term land concessions to grow industrial trees. According to Mr. Xaysomphone, the conservation areas that have seen the most widespread illegal loggings include the national forests of Phoukhao Khuay, Phou Phanang, and Phou Houa Sao.
Meanwhile. Mr. KhamOuane Boupha, Minister to the Prime Minister’s Office, in charge of sustainable land development, says official estimates indicate that forests currently cover only 35% of the country’s land, so logging has dramatically destroyed the country’s forest areas as Laos’ forest density was 47% in 1992, and 41% in 2002.
A recent report by a Southeast Asian natural resources conservation group confirmed that illegal logging for illicit lumber trade is the main cause of the rapid reduction of Laos’ forest density. The group also reported that this illegal practice is most prevalent in the areas bordering Vietnam, Thailand and China.
Prime Minister Bouasone Bouphavanh, in a speech on June 1 which is Laos’ National Tree Planting Day, assured the Lao people that his government will take all the necessary measures to recover the country’s forest density and bring it back to its former level of 70% of the nation’s land.
Songrit Pongern reported from Bangkok on 30 June, 2009. Listen to Songrit's report for more details in Lao, or read our Lao text. (English summary by Buasawan Simmala and Dara Baccam.)