The Tai Nguyen Moi Truong (Natural Resources and Environment) online newspaper cited the results of an inspection tour of the Dak Nong People's Committee which showed that Truong Xuan Forestry Company Ltd., which was assigned to monitor and protect the forest, failed to protect it from illegal deforestation activities of residents.
According to the People's Committee, residents illegally chopped down trees to build houses and plant cassava, sweet potato, coffee and pepper on the 4,500-hectare area in the past five years, and Truong Xuan reported that during that time, only 181 hectares of natural forest were destroyed.
The company also failed to take back the deforested land, of which 3,500 hectares were natural forest, from the residents.
Nguyen Huu Khanh, vice chairman of the People's Committee of Dak Song District, said financial difficulties compelled the company lay off 20 of its 40 forest rangers from 2010 to 2013, and this led to poor forest protection.
Vu Minh Khoi, deputy director of the provincial Natural Resources and Environment Department, said shortcomings in land management policies also worsened the problem.
But he also said the company must take responsibility for allowing the deforestation and failing to make timely and accurate reports on the situation to concerned government agencies that would have brought the situation under control. He added that the head of the company should be strictly disciplined.
The provincial People's Committee assigned the management of more than 8,200 hectares of forest to the company in 2008, but it revoked the company's authority to manage 1,800 hectares in late 2013 because of poor forestry management.
At present, the company is monitoring more than 1,700 hectares of forest in the basin of four major streams of Dak Nong, Dak Rung, Dak Rtih and Dak Bukso.
The provincial People's Committee has ordered concerned government agencies to co-operate with the company in setting up forest management stations to prevent residents from further acts of illegal deforestation.