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ANA fells 100 trees too close to ancient sites

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Apsara National Authority staffers fell trees at Preah Ko temple in 2020. ANA

ANA fells 100 trees too close to ancient sites

The Apsara National Authority (ANA) will fell and remove more than 100 trees from three important temple sites and some other areas in Prasat Bakong district and Siem Reap town, as they have a high risk of damaging temple grounds and important sites in the Angkor Archaeological Park.

“The ANA’s Department of Forest Management, Cultural Landscape and Environment will remove some trees and prune others to guarantee the safety of tourists and beautify the roads and temple grounds of the Angkor resort and other areas managed by the ANA,” it said in a notice on March 7.

ANA added that its teams began carrying out the work on March 7 and will continue until the work is complete.

Four gum trees needed to be removed or pruned along the fenceline of Prasat Bakong Primary School in Thnal Trang village of Prasat Bakong district’s Bakong commune.

Five toothbrush trees (Salvadora persica) and one dead tetrameles needed to be removed from the Bayon temple grounds, while 33 others required pruning.

Additional trees would be removed on the road west of Takeo Gate, the eastern Mebon Temple and some villages in Siem Reap town, it added.

Chou Radina, deputy director of the ANA’s forestry management department, said the trees surrounding the temples served an important purpose as they prevented the wind from affecting the temples and also cooled the environment. Despite these advantages, there were certain risks which needed to be managed, he added.

“Trees are a lot like humans in many ways. The older they are, the weaker they become. They have damaged temples in the past because they have died and collapsed onto the structures. We always make the maximum effort to save any trees we can – usually by pruning – but in some cases we have no option but to remove them,” he said.

Radina added that the ANA also operates a plant nursery, and in an average year plants more than 100,000 saplings.

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