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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs   22 May 2013  

Pine forests disappear, Da Lat gets ragged

The extraordinary hail which took place in Da Lat City on May 7 was the latest proof of the unusual weather in the city in recent years. Scientists said the weather is the consequence of the maltreatment that people made to the beautiful land.

The old people in Da Lat City said that in pre-2000 years, there were tens of pine trees, big and tall, standing along the romantic Bui Thi Xuan street. However, the street has become the place for tens of hotels and restaurants. The pine trees were all chopped down to give place to the accommodations which can bring money to their owners. Only some 15 pine trees still have been left, now standing lonely, alternating the sheet metal roofed houses.

According to Le Phi, an expert in Da Lat’s studies, pine trees have been chopped down not only on Bui Thi Xuan Street, but on many beautiful streets of the city, from the ones on Hung Vuong Street to the ones down on the valley.

There was a cluster of pine trees behind the Lam Dong provincial people’s committee’s office. However, they have disappeared to give place to a new residential quarter.

Da Lat’s residents felt a great anguish when the large forest on the hill near the education department was “killed.” The hill was leveled, while the trees on it, step by step, were cut down.

Da Lat once had a pine forest with wonderful landscape in the area that faces the Palace No. 2. But everything has changed. A new residential quarter has arisen amid the forest, with large villas, houses and glass houses for flower and vegetable plantation.

The forests in the Palace No. 1 area, Mai Anh Hill also bear the same fate.

Nguyen Minh Lam, who has been living in Da Lat for the last 45 years, said in the past, thick and interminable pine forests could be seen everywhere, while nowadays, only several pine trees are getting thin in the city. Lam is afraid that Da Lat, which is called the “city of thousands of pine trees” would have no more pine trees in the future.

A report showed that about 400-600 pine trees are cut down every year in Da Lat. Hoang Cong Dinh, former Head of the Inner-City Forest Management Committee said the greenery area has decreased gradually because of the uncontrolled emigration. People have been trying to illegally set up houses in the forests, thus causing the landslide and pine tree falling. They try every possible method to kill pine trees to get land for houses.

At first, they pour acid into the pine trees. After that, when the trees die, they would ask for the local authorities’ permission to chop down the dead trees, thus legalizing the deforestation.

A lot of pine trees have also been cut to get the land for internal transport system and the works for people’s lives. A large part of the old pine forest has disappeared to give place to the Ba Huyen Thanh Quan Park, located near the Ho Xuan Huong Lake.

Phi said that Da Lat’s students nowadays don’t have any pine forests to go camping, and they have to go 10 kilometers far to find such a forest large enough.

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This year in Thailand-what next?

AseanAffairs   04 January 2011
By David Swartzentruber      

It is commonplace in journalism to write two types of articles at the transition point between the year that has passed and the New Year. As this writer qualifies as an “old hand” in observing Thailand with a track record dating back 14 years, it is time take a shot at what may unfold in Thailand in 2011.

The first issue that can’t be answered is the health of Thailand’s beloved King Bhumibol, who is now 83 years old. He is the world's longest reigning monarch, but elaborate birthday celebrations in December failed to mask concern over his health. More






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