Despite some efforts, forests continue to decrease

Cambodia’s woodlands are seeing continued deforestation, despite a plan by the government to curb illegal logging, environmental groups say.

Authorities say they have a plan to protect the forest, but non-governmental groups say the problem persists, including through an increase in land concessions, and massive illegal logging by the military.

Cambodia has an official strategy to protect the forests over the next 18 years, including land management practices and tighter governmental controls over still exiting forests. Experts say as little as 30 percent of the country’s forest cover remains, while logging continues to be a problem. Read more of this post

Fallout from deforestation

In a 2010 report to the international Convention on Biological Diversity, Cambodia’s Ministry of the Environment presented a portrait of national biodiversity to make any taxonomist drool: 123 mammal species, 88 reptile species, 545 bird species, and more than 2,000 species of vascular plants. Further study has the potential to significantly increase these numbers.  

But as the impressive extent of Cambodian biodiversity slowly comes to light, it is also coming under increasing threat.   

Over the past decade, land concessions and luxury timber harvesting have reduced primary forest cover by 13,000 hectares, or 3.42 percent each year in Cambodia, according to a report released early this month by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation and the International Tropical Timber Organisation.  Read more of this post

Opposition asks Hun Sen to protect Prey Lang forest

The Sam Rainsy Party has sent a request to Prime Minister Hun Sen requesting that he cancel economic land concessions in Prey Lang forest, in the east of the country, where thousands are villagers say their livelihoods are under threat.

Nine SRP parliamentarians singled out more than 6,000 hectares in a concession to a Vietnamese company, CRCK, among others, and suggested the forest be listed as a Unesco World Heritage site.

Hun Sen approved a 70-year lease to CRCK in September 2009, clearing the way for a contract between the company and Ministry of Agriculture for the clearance of forest for a rubber plantation. Read more of this post

Risks, Rewards as Economic Corridor develops

Cambodia is building up its rural infrastructure in an effort to link itself to its neighbors, under an “economic corridor” project aided by the Asian Development Bank.

Proponents of the southern economic corridor, part of the Greater Mekong Subregion project, say it will bring benefits to villagers like those in Kampong Thom district’s Sambo Prey Kuk temple, in Prasat Sambo district. Read more of this post

Land concession inside a protected forest granted to company

An economic land concession spanning 1,400 hectares has been granted inside Kampong Speu’s protected Phnom Oral forest to an unspecified company by Prime Minister Hun Sen.

A sub-decree signed by the premier on May 24 and received by The Post on Tuesday reclassifies the land, which lies within the Phnom Oral Wildlife Sanctuary in Oral district’s Trapaing Chor commune and Thpong district’s Omlaing commune, for agro-industrial development. Read more of this post

Cambodia, UNDP and Global Environment Facility join hands in new Forest Conservation Project

Cambodia’s Forestry Administration, UNDP and Global Environment Facility on Monday jointly launched a new project worth over US$3.8 million to help preserve forests and biodiversity in four provinces: Kampong Speu, Kampong Chhnang, Pursat and Battambang.  Read more of this post

Forest conservation program in the Cardamom region

The Forestry Administration yesterday launched a new US$3.8 million project to conserve forests in four provinces in the Cardamom region through sustainable community forestry. Read more of this post