A total 44 hectares (108.7 acres) of forest may be lost if a national highway is built through a Dong Nai world biosphere reserve, according to the provincial transport department.
The 13C National Highway, spanning 86 kilometers, including over 55 kilometers running through the southern Dong Nai Province, would have two segments pass through areas under Dong Nai Culture and Nature Reserve. If the highway is expanded into two to four lanes, around 44 hectares of forests in the region would have to be cut down to make room for construction, according to a report from the Dong Nai Department of Transport.
Instead of letting the highway run through the forest, Dong Nai’s transport authorities have requested to divert it at a provincial road intersection, building a bridge over that Dong Nai River and another one over the Be River.
The new section, spanning 25 kilometers, will run through Dong Nai’s neighbors Binh Duong and Binh Phuoc. While the additional segment would make the highway longer than originally planned, it would keep the world biosphere reserve intact and provide more opportunities for residential and industrial areas to flourish by the sides of the highway, the department said.
Previously, Binh Phuoc Province proposed to build Ma Da Bridge and upgrade an existing provincial road into 13C National Highway for better connection in the region.
But Dong Nai has proposed for a readjustment to the plan, fearing the construction would encroach on and impact its biosphere reserve.
Dong Nai Culture and Nature Reserve, spanning over 100,000 hectares, is part of the Truong Son ecosystem. It was named a world biosphere reserve by UNESCO in 2011.
Dong Nai has the largest forest coverage in southeast Vietnam at 169,000 hectares.
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