Branded as the second Indo-China War, the Vietnam War (1961-1975) brought to light a new environmental issue: ecocide - a widespread disrespect and destruction of nature and the environment. According to Westing, "Altogether, the damage to the environment was so intense and widespread that it gave rise to the term ecocide." As a result, South Vietnam's environment suffered mass destruction of its forests, ecosystem and soil. .
Using a highly toxic herbicide known as Agent Orange, The United States depleted a huge amount of South Vietnam's forest. "More than five million acres of forests were sprayed at least once and at least ten percent of the trees died in a single spray."(Dwernychuk) Therefore more than five hundred thousand acres of forest was destroyed after one blast of the herbicide leaving the land exposed to high heat and torrential rain. Overall, Vietnam incurred damage to over ninety million acres of forests (www.worldwatch.org) including that which died after a single spray. Some progress has been made into restoring the damage done, however even with the persistent efforts at reforestation by the native Vietnamese; these forests will take hundreds of years to grow back, especially the rare hardwood timber found only in certain parts of Vietnam's forest.
In addition to the destruction of the forests, the ecosystem also suffered horrendously. Animals that used the forest as their habitat and for food were no longer able to live there due to the destruction of their homes and food source. "After being sprayed with defoliants, the trees dropped their leaves remaining bare; a disaster not only to the tropical forest but also the great reservoir of biodiversity it holds." Sarah DeWeerdt. Without a home or food, the various species of animals, microbes and even plants migrated or died respectively, bordering extinction. "The destruction of the habitats by the war, threatened the extinction of many species that were already rare, and pushed others into the rare column.