Protecting forests means preserving environment and life of humans and other living things
A man stands among fallen trees following the passage of typhoon Noru in Danang, Vietnam, on Sept. 28, 2022. It is recognized that the brutal human impact on nature has resulted in heartbreaking consequences. (Photo: AFP)
Pictures of hundreds of high pine trees drooping and dying in forests in the south-central provinces of Quang Tri and Quang Binh went viral on social media early this month.
Withered pine trees create dark brown patches scattered among the evergreen pine forests, creating beautiful landscapes and acting as the lungs of residential areas.
State-owned media reported that people who live near the pine forests surreptitiously drill holes in tree trunks and pump herbicides through the holes, cut off part of their trunks, or strip the bark off the trunks. In doing so, pine trees aged 40 droop and die within 2-3 weeks.
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People grow crops and other perennial trees next to dead pines as a way to encroach on forest lands and acquire ownership of them later.
The media said the wanton destruction of the pine forests managed by state-run forestry companies has been done at night since last year so it was not prevented by forest guards.
Central provinces and the highlands with a cool climate are home to pine forests and crops.
"Humans, animals and plants are living creatures that rely entirely on one another for their own existence"
In 2019, over 3,500 pine trees aged 20-60 in 10 hectares of forests in Lam Dong province's Lam Ha district were poisoned by herbicides with the aim of making farmland. The province with fertile soil and a humid climate is especially noted for producing flowers, vegetables and fruit trees.
The Department of Forestry reported that 90,000 hectares of pine forests in the province were destroyed for making farmland in 2013-2018. Forest cover in the province shrank from 61.2 percent with about 602,000 hectares of forest in 2010 to 54 percent in 2018.
Humans, animals and plants are living creatures that rely entirely on one another for their own existence in the environment. Surely trees and plants also feel happy, sad and painful in their life as people and animals do.
But then people are treating forest trees harshly, exploiting them ruthlessly for their own benefit, and showing a total selfish disregard for the pain of trees and untold damage to the natural environment.
Forests are considered sacred places and rich sources of life for all living things on the green planet, and afford protection, shelter, and food to people.
Protecting forests means preserving the environment and the lives of humans and other living things.
Tropical rain forests forming thick canopies of leaves and dry land forests play important roles in sequestering and keeping a lot of carbon dioxide, giving off oxygen into the atmosphere, and helping to prevent climate change that is raging in many parts of the world.
They are part of the ecological infrastructure that provides people with valuable services including water and climate regulation, soil formation and natural disaster risk reduction.
"My friends were crushed to death and washed away by rainwater"
However, people disrespect and destroy them heartlessly.
It is said that those who take away things from the forest will shed bitter tears, which is the price they have to pay for treating the environment badly.
In the 1980s and 1990s, I saw many people from my home village log trees, use cattle to carry them out of forests and sell them to support their families. They also made charcoal by cutting and burning trees.
They earned much more money than other people but it burned a hole in their pockets and consequently, their families lived in poverty.
Some of my friends were crushed to death and washed away by rainwater, and others had their health damaged seriously by malaria and died poor people.
Deforestation, forest degradation, and poor plantation management destroy ecosystems and deplete natural resources while causing landslides, floods, drought, changes in biodiversity, and increasing carbon dioxide emissions.
People intentionally clear forests to grow agricultural crops to put food on the table. In doing so, they use a huge amount of chemical fertilizers, insecticides and herbicides that pollute land, water and air.
People and plants are inextricably interwoven with one another in the environment, like threads linking all destiny and existence on the earth. It is crucial that people see forest trees as both a resource to draw on and a living community to be respected and safeguarded.
"The brutal human impact on nature has resulted in heartbreaking consequences"
The long-term solution to sustainable forest use is to encourage people to plant multi-layered forests with various types of trees. After a certain number of years, they can be annually harvested. Thus, people will no longer clear forests for arable land, but they will protect and use forests in a sustainable way.
Experts say that clearing forests for farming or flattening hills for construction work will change the rock and soil structure, leading to the risk of landslides when there are heavy rains.
Last month, four people were buried by a landslide caused by heavy rain in a mountain pass in Lam Dong province. The incident happened at a hillside durian farm along the pass surrounded by forest.
It is recognized that the brutal human impact on nature has resulted in heartbreaking consequences. It is high time we protect nature before it is too late.
Obviously, it is time for the whole community to raise awareness about forest protection and nature protection. It will be useless if people still maintain their habit of indifference and selfishness.
Even if living in a city, you should not think that the disappearing forests will not affect your life since once nature is angry, human existence is extremely fragile.
*The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official editorial position of UCA News.
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