Vientiane Times, 20 May 2013
Minister of Agriculture and Forestry Vilayvanh Phomkhe has instructed hisofficials to work closely with local authorities to ensure everything is ready for this year’s tree planting.
The minister issued an order on May 7 ahead of National Tree Planting Day, which falls on June 1. The order aims to bolster government efforts to increase forest cover to 65 percent of the total land area by 2015 and to 70 percent by 2020.
Mr Vilayvanh instructed officials in charge to collect information on seed production bases in local communities across the country and draw up plans for seed supply to ensure that sufficient seedlings are produced for planting each year. The order also requires provincial and district authorities to form committees to supervise tree planting and reforestation activities.
District agriculture and forestry officials are asked to publicise and encourage tree planting and investment in the sector, and to provide the right information to ensure that tree planting is effective and that forests recover.
In his order, the minister noted that officials in some areas have failed to place importance on tree planting. He noted that trees planted in years gone by have been poorly maintained and cared for, which resulted in tree planting and reforestation being ineffective.
Mr Vilayvanh instructed the Forestry Department to partner with Agriculture and Forestry Departments in the capital and the provinces to hold talks with tree planting and logging-related businesses in a bid to source funding for tree planting and reforestation.
Officials in charge were asked to work with district administrations to allocate areas for tree planting and forest rehabilitation, aiming to protect the environment, sustain water sources and mitigate the risk of potential landslides.
The minister also instructed supervising officials in the provinces and Vientiane to work with the relevant sectors to identify suitable seedlings for distribution and sale to organisations, businesses and individuals for planting purposes. He suggested that native tree species be selected and that they should be suited to the climate in the country’s various regions.
Supervising officials throughout the country were also instructed to task lower authorities with following up and assessing tree planting and forest recovery efforts, as well as caring for trees already planted and replacing dead ones.
Mr Vilayvanh also instructed officials to summarise and assess tree planting over the past year and to register tree planting undertaken by the government, businesses and individuals. This would help to track progress made in pursuit of the 2015 and 2020 goals on forest cover.