Vietnamese guards brave attack to reverse destruction of the forest | Simon Speakman Cordall

From Global development | The Guardian Mon Dec 17 2012, 07:00:01

Vietnam's remote forests have finally come to the attention of ecologists, but efforts to protect wildlife and people risk being stymied by the habits - and hardship - of poachers and loggers

Le Quoc Thien is a slightly-built 25-year-old not long out of state university. He graduated two years ago in forestry, directly before joining the Saola nature reserve as a forest guard. He's on leave now, but in a few days he's heading back into the dense mountainous forests of central Vietnam for a week, living rough and protecting the forest against the near ceaseless assault of illegal logging and poaching.

That Thien is able to do this at all is thanks to the alliance of the Vietnamese government, WWF and the German development bank. Together, they have embarked on one of the most ambitious ecological projects in Vietnam's history, the Carbi (carbon and biodiversity) project. The aim is simple: to reverse as much as possible of the destruction to the natural heritage of central Vietnam and bordering Laos.

Focusing on the Annamite mountain range whose forest-rich slopes bridge the two countries, the project is ambitious. Taking in 200,000 hectares (494,211 acres) of dense Vietnamese and Laotian forest, Carbi hopes to deliver a sustainable future for the people and the wildlife of the area.

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