But every day, even in the cold of the northern winter, he stands by the front door of his house to gaze at the forest with pride and happiness. The trees were all planted by him and his family over 50 years, and his life has been dedicated to growing and protecting them. Cao belongs to the Dao ethnic group, and lives in Tan Dan Commune in Ha Long Town of Quang Ninh Province, home to the world-famous bay. Trieu Tai Cao at his home in Ha Long in Quang Ninh Province. Photo by VnExpress/Minh Cuong. The Dao used to be nomadic, felling forests to meet their temporary land needs for cattle and crops before moving on. It was not until 1968 that they started to settle. By then Cao had started thinking about growing trees. He began to look around for seedlings of valuable timber trees such as ironwood, shorea and apitong. Between 1970 and 1980 he and his family planted those and other trees on 32 hectares (80 acres). They faced a lot of challenges in protecting the forest initially because there were no regulations for transferring forest lands to local residents, meaning his family had no authority… Read full this story
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