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Govt to replant coastal forests

THE Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries plans to replant about 200 hectares of coastal forest on beaches and other lowland areas, officials said Wednesday.

Nao Thuok, director of the Fisheries Administration at the ministry, said that since early July, his department has planted more than 20 hectares of mangroves and other trees that can grow with their trunks submerged in water. So far, the ministry has focused replanting efforts in 12 provinces on the coast and around Tonle Sap lake, planning to complete the project next year.

"In the beach areas, we planted mangrove trees in order to maintain natural shelters used by sea creatures," Nao Thuok said. "In inland areas, we planted [other] varieties of trees ... to protect the natural shelter of freshwater creatures."

Replanting coastal forests is essential to maintaining biodiversity, Nao Thuok said, particularly because so many of Cambodia's forests have been torn up or logged recently.

Others within the maritime community applauded the ministry's reforestation efforts. Kong Chhoy, a fisherman from Kampot province's Boeung Touk commune, said that in addition to helping fishermen by preserving marine life, the ministry's reforestation project is important for other reasons as well.

"Mangrove forests not only provide shelter for sea creatures - they are also used by birds and other animals, and they could be attractive for tourists as well," he said.



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