1. Overview Of Da Lat Forest:
Da Lat city is 39,106 ha in area, including 25,646 ha of forest land at a rate of 73.9%. The general characteristic of the flora of Da Lat is the three-leafed pine forests alternated with broad-leafed forests.
Because of the special geographic position and a purebred population of pine forest, Da Lat forest is considered as forest landscape for tourism - resorts. Consequently, the socio-economic development programs of Da Lat city from the past to the present have insisted on preserving the natural landscape, exploiting the strength of natural climatic conditions for tourism - resorts development. It affirms that Da Lat is special-use forest under protection and development rather than focusing on exploitation of forest products.
Geographic location and natural topography help to shape the climate of Da Lat into the tropical monsoon highland climate. The vegetation in Da Lat has many unique features compared to other areas. It not only has features of humid tropical vegetation but also the features of moist subtropical area with different phenotypes of forest such as broad-leafed forest, coniferous forest, mixed coniferous and broad-leafed forest, mixed timber and bamboo forest, bamboo forest, grassland, shrubs...
The characteristic of Da Lat’s ecosystems is a clear change in the distribution of the flora and fauna based on altitude. There are species with broad ecological amplitude and species with narrow ecological amplitude. According to many systematic documents, the Lang Bian plateau has more than 400 plant species, including species with high economic value such as a great variety of pines and indigenous trees. Some species are living fossils such as two flat-leafed pine, red pine and some endemic species like five-leafed pine, pink pine...
2. Forest Resources Development:
2.1 The period before 1975:
Since their first arrival in Da Lat, the French noticed the pine forests of Da Lat. Trees could be easily regenerated in the soil of Da Lat without requiring a significant attention.
The exploitation of pinewood in Da Lat-Tuyen Duc has been started since 1927 (about 3.000m3 per year). In 1931, wood processing factories first appeared in Da Lat. The rate of logging increased gradually. In 1941, the rate was 15,000 m3. From 1941 to 1970, it is estimated at 40,000 m3. In 1972, exploiting rate increased threefold. However, plantation work was not focused; therefore, the area of forests declined.
The three-leafed pine is mainly used as the material for paper, plywood and particle board. In 1962, Vietnam Paper Corporation began its exploitation of three-leafed pinewood to feedstock the Tan Mai paper mill.
About the forestry agency, the Cam Ly Forestry Experiment Station was established in 1947 with the aim of researching the forestry in the highland at the altitude of 1500m, mainly focusing on three-leafed pine.
2.2 The period after 1975
Later in 1975, with the regulations of the Government and local authorities, Da Lat’s pine forest was more strictly managed to preserve the natural landscape, to protect environment and for tourism - resorts.
From 1984 to 1988, Da Lat’s pine forest was exploited for wood and resin following the white exploitation technology, and the exploited forests were then replanted.
In 1993, Lam Vien Special-use Forest Management Board in Da Lat was founded on the basis of the old Plantation of Da Lat. This was the time to define Da Lat’s forest as the national special-use forest. Only the silvicultural measures to protect and develop the forest without intention of economic exploitation are allowed.
Since 1993, the forest protection and development of Da Lat’s forest have been conducted regularly every year. In the seven years from 1993 to 1999, the planting was executed on an area of 1846 ha, including 378.5 ha area of natural regeneration. The allotting of forest management is done with the average rate of 5000 ha per year. The handling of inflammable materials before the annual dry season has strengthened to protect forests in the dry season every year.
In 1997, implementing the Directive No. 01-CT/TU of Provincial Committee of Lam Dong province and Directive No. 22/CT-UB of People Committee of Lam Dong province, Da Lat city made a settlement with cases of illegal forest land encroachment. In three years from 1997 to 1999, Da Lat city conducted the clearance of 610.37 ha of illegal forest land encroachment and replanted 70% (424.32 ha) of the cleared land. In 2001, the city successfully organized the replanting of 162 ha of concentrated forests.
In 1998, People's Committee of Lam Dong province issued Decision No. 734/1998/QD-UB dated 25-3-1998 on "Ratification of demarcation of agricultural land, forest land in Da Lat city." On this basis, People's Committee of Da Lat city implemented the delimitation and set up the landmarks of agriculture and forest land boundary; to protect and develop the existing forests and limit the illegal encroachment of forest land.
Because of fluctuations, on April 2000, People's Committee of Lam Dong province issued Decision No. 57/2000/QD-UB dated 7-4-2000 on "Amendment of Article I of Decision 734/1998/QD-UB dated 25-3-1998 about the demarcation of agricultural land, forest land in Da Lat"; and the Decision No. 955, 956, 957/QD-UB dated 26-4-2000 of People's Committee of Lam Dong province "Adjusting the boundaries of forest land," including certificate of land use right granted to forest owners.
Specially, Da Lat city also has two areas of forest land located in the city center and is managed by the regulations for inner city forest. They are the forest area managed by Da Lat Urban Construction Management Company with Decision No. 431 959/QD-UB dated 25-6-1997 of People's Committee of Lam Dong province; and 299 ha of national defense forest managed by the Army Academy with the Decision No. 299 dated 4-9-1992 560/QD-UB of People's Committee of Lam Dong province.
According to a survey of Forest Service and Da Lat’s plantation in 1986, Da Lat forest is 26 000 ha in area with total reserves of 2.11 million m3 of wood and 5.14 tons of resin.
According to assessments of forest resources in 1997, Da Lat has 24383 ha of natural forest, 2750 ha of artificial forest with total reserves of 3.25 million m3 of wood.
Based on the results of forest stocktaking published on 11-6-2001 by the Decision No. 40/2001/QD-UB of the People's Committee of Lam Dong province, Da Lat has 21,524.17 ha of forest land with reserves of 3.10 million m3 of timber. Besides that, there are 2591.83 ha of forest land without forests.
The pine forest inside Palace II.
3. Management, Protection And Development Of Forest Resources:
According to Decision No. 08/2001/QD-TTg dated 11-1-2001 from the Prime Minister on "promulgating regulations on management of special-use forests, protective forests, productive forests are natural forests", Da Lat’s forest is managed under special-use forest regulations for landscape forest type with the purposes of nature conservation, scientific research and tourism-resort services.
In Da Lat city, the area of forest land is divided into 39 sub-zones and managed by the forest owners in accordance with the regulations of Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.
With the socialization of forestry to promote all available resources in the community living in the edge and inside the forests to protect and develop forest resources, on 13-2-1998, People Committee of Lam Dong province issued Decision No. 372/1998/QD-UB on "promulgating the project of organizing afforestation and mobilizing fund in the province of Lam Dong". Executing this decision, in the planting season in 1999 nine citizens received 34 ha forest land area.
The socialization of forestry is promoted; the local people’s agreement on managing and protecting forests in large areas such as Xuan Truong, Xuan Tho, Ta Nung, Ward 11, Ward 12, Ward 4 Ward 7...was carried out.
3.1 Management and protection of forest and forest land:
Based on the Decision No. 57/2000/QD-UB dated 7-4-2000 and the forest and forest land allocation decision to land management units, until December 2002, the 29,505.5 ha of forest land (including other types of land with forest) in Da Lat city was setup in files and transferred to the forest owners to directly manage. They’re Lam Vien Special-use Forest Management Board, Tay Nguyen Forestry Seed Enterprise, Center of Silviculture and Experimental Research, Da Lat Urban Construction Management Company, Phi Lieng Forest Management, the Army Academy and other eight companies.
Executing the renewal of mechanisms and policies for the forestry sector under the Decision No. 1857/QD-UB dated 6-12-1997 of People’s Committee of Lam Dong province, Da Lat city has established 11 ward’s Forestry Commissions (including the representatives of the forest owners, local authorities), operating under the coordination mechanisms between ward’s authorities and forest owners to enhance forest management in the areas.
From 1997 to June 2003, Da Lat Ranger Station had handled 1448 cases of forestry law violations, including 470 cases of illegal deforestation; 601 cases of illegal transporting and trading forest products; 134 cases of causing damage to forest land; 168 cases of forest land encroachment.
3.2 The development of forest
From 1997 to December 2002, the government of Da Lat city invested in planting new trees every year with 79,800 trees of all kinds. In 2002, 35,000 paulownias were transferred to local citizens to plant dispersedly.
Every year, the work of regenerating, tending forest, preventing and fighting fire are carried out with the close coordination between the forest management units and locals. The work of education and propaganda to raise the awareness among citizens in protecting forests is strengthened.
The forestry was initially applied the scientific and technical development in forest development such as handling inflammable material in prevention and fighting forest fire, growing and conserving rare genes of trees, constructing forest by sexless multiplication methods.
From 1997 to December 2002, the forest owners and commune governments collaborated in the clearance of 1000 ha of encroached forest land and 1945.01 ha was afforested. Area covered with natural forest has been raised gradually from 52% in 1996 to 57.83% in 2002.
The allotment of forest management and protection to households has been executed. In December 2002, 4475.4 ha were allotted. Individuals and households had 1622.4 ha (ethnic minorities in Mang Lin, Ta Nung, Da Nghit had 1545 ha).
3.3 Tourism under forest canopy.
Implementing the Document No. 07/CP-KTN dated 6-1-1998 by the Government on "Allowing to rent special-use forest land, protective forest land for tourism business in Lam Dong province", Lam Vien Special-use Forest Management Board was chosen to be the first model. Based on the Article 16 of Decision No. 08/QD-TTg dated 11-1-2001 of the Prime Minister on "Promulgating regulations on management of special-use forests, protective forests, natural productive forests", Da Lat city has a number of units registered for business model of forest canopy tourism, such as Van Thanh Private Company, Thuy Duong Company, Phuong Nam Tourist, Industry Services - Thanh Nien Tourism Services Company, Xuan Huong Tourist,...
According to 1997-2010 planning of agriculture and forestry, the forestry sector will maintain forest area and keep on investing in the work of protecting and developing forests. The aim is to stabilize and increase the area of natural forests, improve forest quality (especially primeval forests, protective forests), preserve and enhance the biodiversity of the local forest; in order to protect the genes and to effectively orient the exploitation in the direction of green tourism and ecotourism.
In 2005, to provide locals the conditions to enhance the work of protecting, managing and developing forests for the aim of economic and social development in the direction of tourism - resorts, special-use forests in Da Lat were converted into forests of landscape and environment protection by the12/9/2011 Decision No. 882/QD-TTg.