According to the Vietnamese General Statistics Office, the world is gradually losing about 10 million hectares of forest yearly (2020). What is the reason for this? Why are forests "fleeing" from human and natural destruction?
Forests play a critical role in every aspect of life. Forests regulate and protect water sources and balance the climate. Forests are an abundant source that provides oxygen and wood. Forests are home to millions of animals and plants, helping to balance the ecosystem.
In addition, forests help protect and regenerate people's physical and mental health. Without forests, people will suffer severe consequences. However, the number of natural forests disappearing is increasing, causing many natural and environmental crises. So what are the reasons why the forest area is decreasing?
Source: Liam Project
Low awareness about environmental issues
Even though environmental and natural resource concerns are discussed often in the media nowadays, many individuals still do not regard them as an urgent need for change.
Because there is a lack of awareness among the general public regarding the value of biodiversity and the significance of forests, even though many forests have been destroyed, nothing has been done to stop them.
Changing purposes of using natural forests
Many forests have been transformed from natural forests into production forests due to the rising demand for industrial and agricultural produce. Economically valuable plants such as acacia, pepper, and coffee are drawing more and more attention. These plants absorb hundreds of nutrients from the earth and assimilate them. As a result, the soil's quality declines.
In addition, primitive woods are currently being replaced to grow trees that deliver numerous economic benefits since plants like rubber and cashew nuts are also in high demand and need to be planted there.
Another factor contributing to the forest's pollution and subsequent degradation is the fact that not all tree species introduced for planting are of the same quality.
Inappropriate land planning
The need for residential, production, and farming land is rising quickly along with the population. Forests were cleared to grow food and serve the daily needs of thousands of indigenous people. As a result of shifting farming, forests are destroyed.
Additionally, ethnic minorities continue to cultivate using traditional slash-and-burn methods, which results in the destruction of several forests.
Modern infrastructure undoubtedly makes it simpler for transportation and trade to move throughout the world and promotes economic and social growth. However, constructing an excessive number of highways or hydropower projects necessitates the destruction of rich forests and a portion of nature.
If the government and decision-makers do not carefully consider the benefits and drawbacks of utilizing forest land for infrastructure development, repairing and making up for the loss of forests in the future would be very challenging and expensive in terms of time, effort, and money.
Vietnam's natural environment is rich and filled with rare plants and forests. However, some illegal individuals and groups have overused and exploited timber for financial gain, breaking the law and escaping the wildlife protectors to cut down more trees. This is also a consequence of inadequate public knowledge about environmental problems and insufficient efforts to manage and conserve forests.
Poor management and protection of forests
In fact, efforts to manage and conserve forests have not been concentrated in Vietnam. One reason why there are still many individuals with inadequate understanding and attitudes toward environmental conservation is the lack of budget associated with protecting forests.
Although the government is working harder than ever to address environmental and natural issues, particularly the preservation of natural forests, forest management continues to be poor and has many loopholes, giving loggers the freedom to go on the rampage and endangering the future of rare trees by over-harvesting them.
Additionally, only a small budget is allocated for management, conservation, and outreach to increase public understanding of the need to maintain and protect forests. As a result, the preservation of forests has been overlooked, leading to more and more trees disappearing.
The story of climate change is not new. But there's no denying that climate is getting more and more severe. Usually, in the summer, or the dry season, the weather is scorching and lasts for several months. This leads to numerous forest fires, which result in the loss of millions of hectares of forest.
The rainy season returns in the winter with protracted downpours that result in floods and soil degradation. In conclusion, unpredictable and intensifying climate change is one of the primary causes of the disappearance of forests, whether it is because of hot weather or heavy rain.
Source: Liam Project
So what can Liam Project do to help improve this situation?
Concerned about the consequences of deforestation, Liam Project has built a model of trekking tourism experience that both protects the environment and addresses some of the problems that lead to the loss of forests.
1. Tourism development
Vietnam is one of the most attractive travel destinations in the world. Many people from all over the world want to visit Vietnam because of its rich natural environment and distinctive cultures.
At the moment, the tourism trend is progressively moving toward nature integration, assisting people in reconnection with nature. In the foothills and highlands of Langbiang, Liam Project develops immersive trekking tours that enable travelers to take in the region's untainted natural beauty while also creating cultural connections with the local people.
These exclusive experience tours also work to increase global and local awareness in order to inspire people to conserve forests, water, and biological variety and to better appreciate the beauty of nature.
2. Cultural protection
Creating relationships between local people and trekkers, and providing distinctive experiences with ethnic elements, is a way of preserving the indigenous culture. If the practices that define national cultural identity are not maintained and promoted to the general public, the unique regional cultures will gradually disappear in the future.
Besides, offering exclusive trekking tours also helps solve the problem of employment for ethnic minorities, helping them have other livelihood opportunities instead of cutting down forests.
The causes of forest loss due to over-exploitation, infrastructure construction, etc. can somehow be minimized by enacting rules and legislation. But the reasons related to the survival needs of the poor indigenous people are far more intricate. All measures to protect forests will not be effective without solutions to create sustainable livelihoods for them. This is also what drives Liam Project to put these tourist strategies into practice.
3. Water resource reservation
All of Liam Project's operating models are aimed at protecting water resources. Therefore, natural forests will remain longer if immersive and educational hiking excursions are implemented to increase people's knowledge of forests, protect water sources, and lower deforestation.
Together with Liam Project, let's create a world where forests don't have to "run away."