This is a hard, tough and durable wood with no termites, even if it is buried underground. Tay and Nung ethnic minorities like using nghien wood to make columns of houses and floors. Walking on nghien-made floors never produces creaking. Nghien-made chopping boards are favored, because the knife cuts are clean won’t leave debris.
The nghien trees have been cut down by illegal loggers for years.
So many nghien trees, tens of meters high, have been chopped down and vast nghien forests have been cleared because illegal loggers can earn millions of dong from selling nghien wood.
|The nghien (excentrodendron tonkinense) kingdom growing on the rocky mountains in Ha Giang and Tuyen Quang is getting smaller because of illegal logging.|
A slice of nghien wood, about 10 cm thick, can be sold at VND1 million. And the slice can be cut into small pieces to make chopping boards which can be sold for hundreds of thousands each.
It is very difficult to chop down nghien trees because they are tall and hard. Sometimes, illegal loggers stand on high scaffoldings and saw the trunks with engine saws for several days.
A forest ranger in Tuyen Quang province told reporters that the forests cover a large area of thousands of hectares, and every foreign ranger has to take care of thousands of hectares.
“Evildoers are like mice which corrode the forests,” said Khong Van Quang, head of the Na Hang Special-use Forest (SUF) Rangers’ Unit.
Who are the ‘evidoers’? The leaders of Bac Kan province once told the press that the ‘forest killers’ are not people who chop down trees with axes and split wood planks with saws, but the men in luxury suits carrying briefcases with multimillion dollars inside.
In Na Hang district of Tuyen Quang province, the control of SUF is assigned to a forest rangers’ unit. A forest ranger of the unit may have to take care of 6,000 hectares of forest and he has to implement this task with just one old motorbike which can carry him only on flat roads. Meanwhile, he has to walk through the forests, eat and sleep in the forest and face high risks from mosquitoes and insects.
Meanwhile, native people have many skills to hide themselves from forest rangers. And they are very poor, but it is very difficult to persuade them to stop chopping trees.