Desertification – great environmental challenge in Vietnam (Google / MONRE Vietnam)

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The United Nations has warned that desertification process is one of the “greatest environmental challenge of our time”. In the context of climate change, the development of land degradation and desertification process in Vietnam is changing for the bad.

More than 9 million hectares of barren land

According to the Department of Forestry, Vietnam currently has more than 9 million hectares of barren land, accounting for 28% of the country’s total land area, of which 2 heavily-degraded million hectares. Beside the transformation of land once suitable for agriculture into barren land, many belt of sand in coastal area turn into desert, especially from Quang Binh to Binh Thuan provinces with an area of 419,000 hectares and in the Mekong River Delta with an area of ​​43,000 hectares.

According to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) statistics, Vietnam has about 462,000 hectares of coastal sand, accounting for 1.4% of the total land area of the country, including 87,800 hectares of sand dunes. For nearly 40 years, the movement of the sand dunes have made the process of desertification more seriously. Each year from 10 to 20 hectares of arable land have been encroached by sand leading to declination of fertility .

Vietnam has identified four priority areas against desertification in Central Coast, Northwest, Long Xuyen Quadrangle and  Central Highlands.



Published by

Willem Van Cotthem

Honorary Professor of Botany, University of Ghent (Belgium). Scientific Consultant for Desertification and Sustainable Development.