The ninth annual conference of the Association for Tropical Biology and Conservation’s Asia-Pacific chapter commenced in Phnom Penh yesterday, assembling a host of academics, conservation workers and policymakers to address local and global challenges facing biodiversity in tropical Asia.
“Increasing pressures from a growing population and rapid economic development, coupled with mismanagement in developing countries, have resulted in tropical forests being overexploited and deforested,” Forestry Administration Deputy Director Ung Samath told attendees.
Two academics – William Laurance and Kaoru Kitajima – also delivered talks.
Laurance’s presentation focused on the effects road development has on tropical forests. He stated that the “infrastructure tsunami” currently swallowing the developing world is fuelling deforestation directly, while also contributing to secondary impacts such as flooding.
Kitajima also touched on deforestation in Kampong Thom province, noting that despite monitoring stations set up to fight illegal logging, deforestation remains a huge issue.