Vietnamese police are trying to track down the culprits who illegally cut down nearly 200 pine trees in a forest in the Central Highlands province of Lam Dong a fortnight ago, a local forest manager has said.
Nguyen Van Nam, head of the management board of the Dam Bri Protection Forest Management Board, which manages the forest in Loc Tan Commune of Bao Lam District, said on Sunday he was very surprised by the serious, bold deforestation by illegal loggers.
The board, the district police, and the local prosecutor’s office are cooperating in investigating the case to find out the culprits.
A total of 194 pine trees, equivalent to 79m³ of wood, were cut down from the night of May 29 to the morning of May 30, Nam said.
Specifically, the loggers started the cutting late that night until about 2:00 am on May 30, when they temporarily stopped, locals said.
A couple of hours later, the illegal loggers continued the chopping until 8:00 am, they added.
All of the lopped trees were planted in 1984, meaning they were 31 years old, Nam said, adding that the diameters of the bases of these trees measured 30-40 cm.
This pine forest is located next to the coffee-growing area of local people.
The location of the deforestation was only 1km away from the People’s Committee of Loc Tan Commune, but local authorities did not detect it until they were informed by local residents, Nam said.
Many locals said they heard the noise caused by the machines used by illegal loggers to chop down the pine trees, but they thought the loggers were licensed to cut them.