Vietnam's forests will vanish by the year 2000 at the current rate of exploitation, and pollution has already reached "the danger point," according to the Vietnam News Agency, which suggested that rising industrial pollution, soil erosion and destruction of wildlife is creating a grim environmental picture.
Forest cover had shrunk from 43.8% of the country in 1945 to 23.6% in 1984, when 19.3 million acres of forest remained, the agency said. Average annual forest loss was given as 395,360 acres, although much of what is described as forest already consists of merely "stunted vegetation."
"At this rate, there could be no more forest in Vietnam by the year 2000," the agency said. Reportedly faced with extinction are rare timber species and animals such as the one-horned rhinoceros, gaur and peafowl. Some species have already disappeared.