The coastal forest area in the Cửu Long (Mekong) Delta province of Bạc Liêu has declined in recent years because of climate change and improper fishing which has damaged protective mangrove trees.
The province’s coastal mangrove forests play an important role in preventing erosion, which is often caused by strong waves and currents. Many of the mangrove forest areas are taken care of by local residents who were assigned by the province to protect the areas.
Despite this, the forest area fell from 4,200ha in 2000 to about 3,100ha, and the quality has also deteriorated. The province’s Department of Agriculture and Rural Development has asked the People’s Committee to allocate a higher budget for forest protection and to build facilities for forest rangers.
It has also asked the committee to ease access to soft loans for households that protect the forest. Nearly 950 households make a living on catching aquatic species in mangrove forests. They include peanut worms, giant mudskippers, mud crabs, obtuse horn shell, shrimp and other fish species.
The catching of aquatic species has caused damage to the roots of mangrove trees, causing many of them to die. In addition, the breeding of aquatic species is often done without proper waste treatment, polluting the environment.
Rising sea levels, strong waves and high tides have also contributed to the loss of mangrove forests, especially in Bạc Liêu City’s Vĩnh Thạnh Đông Commune and Nhà Mát Ward and Đông Hải District’s Gành Hào Town.
In 2005, the province zoned more than 2,000ha of alluvial grounds in coastal areas for mangrove forests. However, only 413.5ha of the alluvial grounds remained in 2015 because of erosion, according to the Southern Academy of Forest Sciences.
With a coastline of 56 kilometres, the province plans to expand its coastal forest areas to 7,500ha by 2020. To increase coastal forest areas, the province has taken many measures to protect mangrove forests, including allocating mangrove forests for local residents to protect and grow new forests.
About 400 households and organisations are protecting 3,100ha of the forests, according to the province’s Forest Protection Sub-department.
The province has implemented three projects to create alluvial grounds for growing mangrove forests along a total coastal length of 20 km.
The projects are in Hòa Bình District’s Vĩnh Hậu and Vĩnh Thuận communes; Đông Hải District’s Long Điền Đông Commune and Gành Hào Town; and Bạc Liêu City’s Nhà Mát Ward, and Hiệp Thành and Vĩnh Trạch Đông communes.
The project in Bạc Liêu City covers more than 200ha along 8km of coast.