Vietnam succeeds in rescuing precious pine trees

VietNamNet Bridge – The program on researching the biological characteristics of a pine variety – Ducampopinus kremfii – has shown initial results, while scientists have successfully grown this kind of pine tree on Bidoup Mountain in Lac Duong district of Lam Dong province.

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Le Van Huong, MA, Director of the Bidoup – Nui Ba National Park, said the research work and the pilot plantation program began in 2007.

Scientists came to a conclusion that it would be impossible to apply the on-site conservation method, though there are the natural pipe populations in Lam Dong province, because of their low natural regeneration capability. Therefore, they decided to utilize the off-site conservation method, i.e. scientists collect seeds and grow the seeds in other areas.

At first, the seedlings cultivation was used, but the percentage of live plants was very low. The problem was only settled in 2009 with the in vitro technique, which allowed to create saplings very easily.

After a period of growing pines on an area of 2 hectares under the forest canopy, and on one hectare of deserted land at the height of 1,500-2.000 meters above the sea water level in Bidoup forest area, scientists have found the high percentage of live trees which can be developed into the forests.

“This shows that this could be the homeland of the pine with two flat leaves,” Huong said.

International scientists believe that Ducampopinus kremfii turned up on the earth contemporary of dinosaur. The trees still could exist after a lot of the Earth’s changes tens of millions of years ago.

Ducampopinus kremfii is now listed as R level in the red book, and it is now existing only in Vietnam.

In the work about Indochina’s general botany of Hickel, one can read that Ducampopinus kremfii can be found at the height of 1,200-1,500 meters in some areas of Lam Dong province. However, the place which was believed to most easily approach to the trees was the “Cong Troi” area (Gate to the Heaven), on the Hon Nga Mountain in Lat commune of Lac Duong district.

This kind of tree grows very slowly with the diameter increasing by 1 mm per annum only. As such, a tree with a diameter of 2.5 meters would be aged 1,000 years.

The pine forests in Lam Dong have been in the danger because local people tend to cut down trees for cultivation.

Dr. Nguyen Hoang Nghia, Head of the Vietnam Forestry Academy, said that a lot of pine trees have withered because they have lost the optimum living environment, while the old trees have fallen down. Meanwhile, the natural regeneration is limited.

Nghia went on to say that the biggest problem now is the lack of money to be spent on the protection and afforestation. He has also emphasized that the best way to protect forests is to ensure a good life for local people, so that they don’t think of clean land for cultivation.

Nghia said though the scientists have only gained initial achievements, they can be sure of the success in protecting the genetic sources of the precious plants, thus making a great contribution to the biodiversity existence.

Thien Nhien

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