The International Information Center for Geotechnical Engineers

Monday, 07 January 2019 01:00

Deforestation of protected areas after Laos dam collapse

Deforestation of protected forests after Laos dam collapse Deforestation of protected forests after Laos dam collapse.

A dam collapse in Laos occurred on July 23, 2018, has resulted in severe deforestation of protected areas.

The partial failure of the hydroelectric dam, located in southeast Champasak Province of Laos, released 5 billion m3 of water resulting in fatalities, massive evacuations and destroyed communities.

Currently, the deforestation damage in the area is revealed. By December 7, 2018, more than 7,500 deforestation alerts had been issued. The southern province of Attapeu, a region which borders south with Cambodia and east with Vietnam, is most affected. Since the incident, Laos military has forbidden access to everyone expect government officials and engineers in the dam area.

NEPCon, a global non-profit organization that aims to protect the environment and tackle climate change, estimates that forests account for 80% of Laos acreage or 18.8 million hectares. Numerous trees have been uprooted by the force of the flood while the Xe Pian River's shoreline has expanded. Rootless trees appear everywhere in an extended zone. The area of loss, called Phu Luang, lies within Dong Hua Sao National Biodiversity Conservation Area and a proposition to be declared protected has been issued.

Satellite imagery data reveal that it is not the first time that the dam has caused deforestation issues. Floods caused by the effort to create a dam reservoir had provoked the loss of 1,500 hectares of forest and the release of 800,000 m3 of CO2 in 2016 and 2017.

Moreover, it was reported that some people have taken advantage of the collapse as they have turned to illegal logging. The impact of this phenomenon on deforestation is an issue to be investigated.


Read 327 times Last modified on Monday, 07 January 2019 15:21

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