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Forest of Lao PDR

Lao PDR consists of 230,800㎢ of land area covered by 155,946㎢ of forest areas, which is 67 percent of the country. The country’s main terrains can be categorized as mountains, plateaus, and plains. These terrains are dominant in the Northern region, Indochina Lao-Viet Nam border, and the Mekong river region respectfully.

There are 282 species of mammals, about 700 species of birds, 468 species of freshwater fishes, at least 166 to more than 200 species of amphibians and reptiles living in Lao PDR. Floral species of Lao consists of 4,850 species of native, introduced, cultivated and naturalized vascular plants.

The pressure for economic development has taken a huge toll on Lao’s forests, minerals, and water resources. Commercial logging and the pressure for land use has deteriorated Lao’s forests quantitatively and qualitatively. The changes in forest cover have resulted in various environmental challenges such as natural disasters, slash and burn agriculture, uncontrolled fires, and illegal logging, etc.

While implementing a policy of poverty eradication, the government of Lao PDR has also put emphasis on sustainable forest management, forest protection, and reforestation with the involvement of local communities. These reforms of community-based forest management concentrate on forest production and the economic benefits yielded. Also, in efforts to address deforestation issues, the Lao government has initiated policy initiatives including annual logging quotas.

The FS2020 is a government guide on sustainable forest management and with a goal to recover 60 percent of the country’s forest area. The 5-year plan aims to develop planning and management capacities in Lao’s forestry sector. However, Lao’s limited human and financial resources make implementation of sustainable forest development difficult. Thus, the Lao government is continuously attempting to conserve the country’s limited resources through the revision of forestry laws and policies.