|aravan province authorities witness the destruction of unauthorised chainsaws during a ceremony in Saravan district recently.|
Saravan’s Agriculture and Forestry Department destroyed 622 unauthorised chainsaws and 1,551 spare parts along with 81 pieces of hunting equipment last week, which were seized from illegal logging operations around the province.
The illegal items were found in target areas in the districts of Saravan, Lao-ngam, Vapy, Toumlan and Lakhonpheng.
Most of the illegal equipment was found in Lao-ngam and Saravan districts, including more than 460 illegal chainsaws.
Saravan provincial authorities are focusing on illegal logging inspections following the order of the prime minister.
The order, which was issued on May 13, banning the export of partially-processed wood also prohibited state bodies from using timber to finance infrastructure development.
The prime minister instructed that all types of forest be closed to logging by June 1, with all parties prohibited from collecting or removing logs from forest fields known locally as Sanam I.
The prime minister also instructed that no party be allowed to remove wood in Sanam I areas as this would create a loophole for illegal logging.
The authorities were asked to inspect felled timber in collecting yards known locally as Sanam II to ensure that all the wood had been cut in accordance with the government’s approved quota. All wood must be processed domestically.
The ban aims to encourage the processing of wood in Laos to add value to wood products and close loopholes for illegal logging.
The province’s Head of the Forestry Inspection Section of the Agriculture and Forestry Department, MrThatsinPhommasathit toldVientiane Times the provincial authorities had asked local forestry officials to organise inspection teams to find illegal logging in the target areas.
“After the latest surveys, teams were able to seize numerous unauthorised chainsaws from the local residents and illegal loggers, and these were destroyed last week in Saravan district,” he said.
“Provincial authorities issued warnings to wrongdoers on this occasion, but they will be fined according the law if they do it again,” MrThatsin explained.
He added that provincial authorities had ordered the closure of some wood processing plants around the province, along with the banning of pre ordering timber from residents or illegal loggers aiming to stop illegal activity.