The Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry has increased the number of protected forests to 177 as part of efforts to restore forest cover to 70 percent of the country’s land area and ensure forests are sustainable, Vientiane Times reported.
Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Forestry Mr Thongphat Vongmany reported on the status of the country’s forests when giving a summary and comprehensive evaluation of work completed under the Agriculture, Forestry and Rural Development Plan for 2022 and work to be carried out in 2023.
At present there are 19 national conservation forests, six national parks, one wildlife conservation area, 57 provincial conservation forest areas and 95 district protected forest areas, covering a total area of 4.9 million hectares.
There are also 51 productive forests on an area of 3.1 million hectares.
Under the Plan, 117 villages are taking part in forest management allocation planning, equal to 48.75 percent of the target figure, while there are 164 forest product processing plants under state management.
The Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry has developed a detailed strategy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from deforestation, reduce the level of greenhouse gas emissions relative to the baseline, and a monitoring, reporting and verification system.
In addition, social and environmental protection measures will be put in place, while creating conditions for access to the global carbon fund with a contractual value of US$42 million and the signing of a feasibility study contract for the purchase and sale of forest carbon credits with interested companies.
Timber will increasingly be promoted as a commodity, and approval has been given by the economic and technical section for investment in production forests on a total of 494,434 hectares.
One company has planted trees on 65,600 hectares, but will need to plant trees on another 383,834 hectares to achieve the set target.
Last year, the ministry supplied 450,000 cubic metres of domestically planted wood to factories, but this met only 20 percent of factories’ needs, which in reality are 1,770,000-2,360,000 cubic metres of wood a year.
Laos currently has about 294,123 hectares of rubber trees. A company has planted out 131,610 hectares and is encouraging local people to plant more trees on 59,758 hectares, of which 102,755 hectares have been planted out to date.