Typhoon Ketsana Reveals Illegal Logging in Vietnam

HANOI, Vietnam, Oct. 31 (UPI) — Typhoon Ketsana, which hit Vietnam in late September, revealed illegal logging when logs were swept down flooded rivers, forestry officials say.

Le Nho Nam, director of the forest protection unit in Phuoc, told the U.N. Integrated Regional Information Network logs from his area, one of the country’s last stands of old-growth forest, were identified 60 miles away. He said some were almost certainly from trees cut down illegally in the protected forest, IRIN reported Friday.

Phanh Tham Lam, Nam’s counterpart in Quang Nam province, said deforestation increased the devastation from typhoon flooding.

Much of the illegally cut timber goes to the furniture industry. With $2.8 billion in sales annually, it has become one of the Southeastern Asia country’s biggest export sectors.

Some forests have also been cleared for hydroelectric power plants.

About 78 percent of the old-growth forest in the country has been cut in the past 20 years.

Copyright 2009 by United Press International

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