Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Dith Tina offered his support for another new project by the South Korea-based Asian Forest Cooperation Organisation (AFoCO) focusing on nature park in Siem Reap.

According to the provincial Forestry Administration (FA) cantonment, the project will start in April.

During his meeting with AFoCO executive director Park Chongho at the ministry headquarters in Phnom Penh on March 14, Tina instructed relevant officials to cooperate with the inter-governmental organisation to develop the 30ha nature park, to be located in Khun Ream commune’s Trapeang Thma village of Banteay Srei district.

The ministry said following the meeting that Tina advised the officials to take responsibility for the work of the project relating to reforestation and carbon storage as necessary, and to manage and prevent forest fires.

Mong Bunlim, director of the FA’s Siem Reap cantonment, said the 30ha nature park would be set up on the grounds of the kranhoung (Dalbergia cochinchinensis) plantation, which covers 1,888ha.

“When we create this garden, it won't affect the existing trees. Where there is space, we will make the garden in that place and plant any tree species that can withstand weather and topography there,” he said.

Gardening in collaboration with the AFoCO will not affect the forest cover or the forest ecosystem, he added, noting that the garden could be the largest ever in Cambodia and help increase the number of visitors to this area.

“We are very happy to get it because there is no province where there is such an international park. I do thank the minister and AFoCO for encouraging this work so that visitors can visit Angkor and then the plantations, including that beautiful park,” Bunlim said.

The Siem Reap cantonment said that on March 13, a forest fire broke out in the Kranhoung plantation at the western border point next to the red gravel road in Trapeang Thma village. The fire burned about 50 ha.

Bunlim said the fire did not seriously affect the plantation. “This fire did not affect a memorial garden where tourists plant trees or where visitors planted trees along the roads,” he said.