What can we do to preserve trees instead of felling them for industrial purposes?

The 5th Lao Wood Furniture Fair took place recently in Vientiane, hosted by the Lao Furniture Association and attended by a wide range of business representatives. Vientiane Times went along to the event and asked exhibitors how they were contributing to efforts to reduce the felling of primary forests.

 

Mr Bounnho Phetsamone, Head of the National Council for Vocational and Skills Development Permanent Office, Ministry of Education and Sports: Prime Minister’s Order No. 15 laid down stringent rules concerning illegal logging and the wasteful use of natural wood. The government has also asked organisations and the public to plant more trees to replace those that have been lost, so that we can replenish our forests and pursue a path of green development. I think it’s essential to closely monitor illegal logging. We should do more to keep Laos green, to protect the environment and ensure that wild animals have a habitat.

Ms Ketsalin Xayyasone, an employee at Plaosme Central, an online business: This fair enables business operators to exhibit the wood furniture they make, but we need to consider the preservation of our natural forests and think about where the wood being used to make these products actually comes from. In my opinion the government should regulate the felling of primary forests and look closely at where wood processing businesses are sourcing their wood. And it’s essential that we replace trees that are felled so that we have carefully managed forests. I urge the government to set aside land for the cultivation of large tree species instead of building more hotels and supermarkets. Our towns now have fewer and fewer trees because of all the construction that’s going on and the huge increase in traffic. Our group is involved in e-commerce so we advertise on social media about issues such as environmental preservation, especially the need to protect our trees, in the hope of raising awareness among young people.

Ms Pouna Phimmasone, owner of the Houngchaleun Handicraft Shop in Xaysettha district:  Of course it’s good to preserve primary forests and not cut down trees that have grown naturally. We comply with the rules and make sure the wood we use comes from managed forests or legitimate sources, and we pay taxes. But it’s difficult to export our products as transport costs are very high. Sometimes we can’t get an order to a customer and of course they complain and then lose confidence in us. I’d like the government to help us with the problems we have. I thank the government and the Lao Furniture Association for allowing us to showcase our products at a big event like this. It’s good that so many Lao products are on display to show how creative Lao people are. I invite my friends and relatives to come to Lao-ITECC and buy our products, which are top quality.

Ms Phaivanh Vongphakdy, a business operator in Sikhottabong district: Today our towns are very built up and have so many office blocks and shopping malls. This makes nature even more important and we should stop to think of the impact when people cut down trees to build a house. If this continues unabated, how are we going to cope with global warming? We have to comply with the Prime Minister’s Order by not felling or exporting unauthorised wood products, as well as protected wild animals. I think we should all plant trees today to ensure that we preserve our forests over the next 10 years.

By Phouthong Sivongsa
(Latest Update January 23, 2019)


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