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King begs: Plant trees

King Norodom Sihamoni decries illegal logging at a convention marking National Forest Day.

KING Norodom Sihamoni has called on Cambodians to stop logging illegally and start planting trees to prevent Cambodia's forests from disappearing.

"If you continue to pull down our forests, you will continue to kill yourselves and your communities and your nation," he said Thursday
"Please, all illegal loggers stop logging the forest and stop producing saffron oil because it a drug. Please move to tree planting and farming to protect our natural forest resources," he said.

The monarch's plea came at a convention to celebrate National Forest Day in Krakor district, Pursat province.

He prayed that Forest Day would remind all Cambodian civil servants, armed forces and citizens to "love the forest" and protect and conserve Cambodia's natural resources.

"If everyone plants one tree, we can produce millions of trees per year," he said.

Govt defends 'crackdown'
Minister of Agriculture Chan Sarun said that in the pursuit to crack down on illegal logging, the government had uncovered 266 cases of "forest and wildlife crime" in the first half of 2009.

But Yeam Ly, president of the Association of Protection Development for Cambodian Environment said: "The government may plant 1,000 trees per year, but some high-ranking officials work with illegal loggers to log more than 10,000 trees per year."

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