The design of the Ka Pet irrigation dam.
The dam, with a capacity of more than 51 million cubic meters, was approved by the National Assembly at a cost of VND874 billion ($36.28 million).
The reservoir will be used for agricultural irrigation and downstream water regulation, as well as civil and production uses.
Photo courtesy of Binh Thuan Agricultural and Rural Development Project Management Board
The dam will be built on land claimed by forest felling in My Thanh commune, Ham Thuan Nam district.
According to the project’s environmental impact assessment report, of the area reserved for the dam, 72% is production forest and 6% is outside the forest zone.
The ancient forest is where the Rai people have lived for hundreds of years.
It is part of the Nui Ong Nature Reserve and the Mong River-Ka Pet Protected Forest.
Nguyen Van Quang, head of the Deo Nam forest management station and who spent 12 years as a forest ranger in the My Thanh forest, said he was unhappy to learn that the forest was going to be cut down.
“It’s a policy of [authorities] and therefore we must follow it. But in reality, losing the forest makes us very sad.”
A resin tree in My Thanh Forest is surrounded by bushes and bamboo for a diverse ecosystem.
A turtle searches for food in the forest. The biodiversity of the forest environment also means multiple food chains.
Locals have encountered several animal species in the forest, such as monkeys, wild boars, hedgehogs and lizards.
An eagle soars above the My Thanh forest.
The Da Ban Nho stream runs through the forest. Locals often visit this place to have fun during vacations.
Three streams cross the forest: Ba Bich, Da Ban Lon and Da Ban Nho. Once the dam is built, a section of the Ba Bich stream will be blocked.
A giant myrtle, more than 2 m wide, will be among the trees felled to make way for the reservoir.
Nguyen Ngoc Chien, head of My Thanh Forest Protection Station, said: “This tree is estimated to be over 200 years old. In general, the forest here is a much better reserve than Tanh Linh.
Rangers now inspect the forest every day to protect it, as some seek to exploit it as much as possible before it is cut down.
Aerial view of the forest plot which will be taken for the reservoir.
The 600 ha of natural forest includes 137 ha of special forests in the Nui Ong Nature Reserve. Thanks to its diligent protection by local residents, the forest is largely untouched by man.
The forest should be auctioned off for its timber.
In accordance with the country’s forestry laws, Binh Thuan will have to plant more than 1,844 ha of forests in other localities to replace them. This is expected to cost VND177 billion.