Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - ASEAN loses a third of mangroves in last 40 years

ASEAN loses a third of mangroves in last 40 years

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
There are more than 46,529ha of mangrove forests in Koh Kong province. Photo supplied

ASEAN loses a third of mangroves in last 40 years

The ASEAN region lost about 33 per cent of its mangrove forests between 1980 and 2020, a decrease of more than 63,000sq km, said the ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity (ACB).

Nations that comprise ASEAN have just around 43,000sq km of mangrove forests remaining.

The ACB statement was released on Sunday and coincided with the International Day for the Conservation of the Mangrove Ecosystem. The intent is to remind the public of the importance of mangrove forests and the value of dealing with mangrove deforestation.

ASEAN accounts for 42 per cent of the world’s total mangrove forests which provide critical breeding habitats for about 75 per cent of fish species caught in the oceans.

Apart from supporting the world’s food systems, mangroves are the planet’s protectors against the catastrophic consequences of climate change. They can store 10 times as much carbon as terrestrial ecosystems and specialised root systems make them natural buffer zones in coastal areas.

Mangroves also minimise the impact of strong ocean waves and winds and help reduce erosion and siltation that impact coastal communities.

Fishery Administration director-general Eng Chea San could not be reached for comment on Sunday but he previously said that Cambodia has a total area of 58,800ha of mangrove forest. More than 1,000ha are in Kep, 1,966ha in Kampot, 9,352ha in Preah Sihanouk province and 46,529ha in Koh Kong province.

Senior marine biologist at Wild Earth Allies (WEA) Leng Phalla, said Cambodia’s mangrove forests have been declining due to logging. But in recent years, government officials, civil society organisations and communities have worked together to replant mangrove forests, especially in Kampot province.

“Because of government promotion, people are now aware that mangrove forests are important for their descendants and their livelihood. They earn income from the mangrove forest by catching shrimp, crab and fish and can earn at least 30,000 to 40,000 riel ($7 to $10) per day,” Phalla said.

Kampot provincial Fisheries Administration official Sar Sorin said there are nine communities in the mangrove forest in Kampot province.

They have been given the right by the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries to manage resources like the mangrove forest, seagrass and corals in their respective areas.

Sorin said the mangrove forest is protected and conserved through the erection of poles, and the replanting of mangrove trees.

He said mangrove reforestation activities have been ongoing since 1995. From 2008 to 2020, nearly 400,000 mangrove trees have been planted in areas that do not yet have mangrove trees.

“Various factors contribute to the decrease in the number of mangrove forests, including housing development and climate change,” Sorin said.

MOST VIEWED

  • Cambodia maintains 'Kun Khmer' stance despite Thailand’s boycott threat

    Cambodia has taken the position that it will use the term "Kun Khmer" to refer to the sport of kickboxing at the upcoming Southeast Asian (SEA) Games, and has removed the term Muay from all references to the sport. Despite strong reactions from the Thai

  • Chinese group tours return to Cambodia starting Feb 6

    Cambodia is among 20 countries selected by Beijing for a pilot programme allowing travel agencies to provide international group tours as well as flight and hotel packages to Chinese citizens, following a three-year ban. As the days tick down until the programme kicks off on February 6,

  • Capital-Poipet express rail project making headway

    The preliminary results of a feasibility study to upgrade the Phnom Penh-Poipet railway into Cambodia’s first express railway indicate that the project would cost more than $4 billion and would take around four years to complete. The study was carried out by China Road and

  • Thai boxers to join SEA Games’ Kun Khmer event

    The Cambodian SEA Games Organising Committee (CAMSOC) – together with the Kun Khmer International Federation (KKIF) and Khmer Boxing Federation – have achieved a “great success” by including Kun Khmer in the upcoming biennial multi-sports event on its home soil for the first time, said a senior

  • Bullets to bracelets: Siem Reap man makes waste from war wearable

    Jewellery is often made from valuable gemstones like emeralds or diamonds and precious metals like gold or silver, or valueless things like animal horns. But a man in Siem Reap has approached the manufacture of delicate pieces from a different angle. His unique form of

  • 61% of 2022 imports came from just 3 markets

    The three largest exporters to Cambodia – mainland China, Vietnam and Thailand – accounted for 60.94 per cent of the Kingdom’s total merchandise imports last year, at $18.245 billion, which was up 11.99 per cent over 2021, according to the General Department of Customs and Excise. Cambodia’s total imports