Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Bunong complain of logging at Phnom Preah mountain

Bunong complain of logging at Phnom Preah mountain

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
A group of 30 indigenous people investigate around 100ha of protected forest at the foot of the Phnom Preah mountain that had been allegedly illegally logged. Photo supplied

Bunong complain of logging at Phnom Preah mountain

The Bunong ethnic community in Mondulkiri province’s Me Pai village, Pou Chrei commune, in Pech Chreada district alleged that an estimated 100ha of protected forest at the foot of the Phnom Preah mountain had been illegally logged with help from local authorities.

Sreunh Sinuon, a resident of the village, said a group of 30 indigenous people were prompted to investigate the site after they were alerted by nearby villagers that local authorities and land brokers had allegedly conspired to log the site over four months.

He said when the group arrived, they found that small and large trees on some 100ha out of 120ha had been cleared.

“We don’t know what they want to use the land for. They just logged trees, but have not bulldozed the land yet,” he said, adding that local communities relied heavily on the forest for their livelihoods and traditional lifestyle.

However, village chief Toy Cheunh, who was among the 30 to act on the tip, refuted claims that authorities had colluded to clear the site. He said some villagers had cleared a small portion of the forest at the foot of the mountain for farming.

“Don’t believe [the claims] because the area has been protected for a long time. The foot of the mountain is behind villagers’ homes, so they just fell some trees for farming. There is no land grab on the mountain because we protect it,” he said.

Pou Chrei commune chief Keunh Ratha shared Cheunh’s views that local villagers had cleared some portions to expand their land for farming. He said he had heard rumours that an oknha had sought permission to build an eco-tourism site on the mountain.

“Residents of Me Pai village cut trees for farming, not to sell . . . I heard that there is an oknha who wants [to build an eco-tourism site], but the ones who felled the trees are not oknha. They are ordinary villagers.

Pech Chreada district governor Meul Soeun said he was not aware of any oknha attempting to build an eco-tourism site on the mountain.

Mondulkiri Department of Environment director Keo Sopheak also said he was unaware of forest clearing on Phnom Preah mountain. He said officials would certainly crack down on the case and send it to court for further action if it had indeed occurred.

“When we are unable to catch loggers red-handed, we note them as unidentified suspects and file a case with the court for further action,” he said.

MOST VIEWED

  • Volunteer scheme to foster ‘virtuous’ humanitarian spirit

    A senior education official said volunteer work contributes to solidarity and promotes a virtuous humanitarian spirit among the youth and communities. Serei Chumneas, undersecretary of state at the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport, made the comment during the opening of a training programme called “

  • Chinese firms unveil preliminary results on metro, monorail for capital

    Minister of Public Works and Transport Sun Chanthol and representatives from China Road and Bridge Corp (CRBC) and its parent company, the state-owned China Communications Construction Co Ltd (CCCC), met on June 24 for talks on results of the firms’ preliminary study on a potential metro

  • ACLEDA, WU to enable global money transfers

    Cambodia's largest commercial bank by total assets ACLEDA Bank Plc and global money transfer firm Western Union (WU) have partnered to offer customers cross-border money transfers to 200 countries via “ACLEDA mobile” app. In Channy, president and group managing director of ACLEDA, said the June 22 agreement

  • Walmart plans to diversify stock of Cambodia goods

    Walmart Inc, the world’s biggest retailer, on June 22 reiterated recent plans to scale up and greatly diversify its purchases of Cambodian products, according to the labour ministry. This came during a virtual working meeting between Minister of Labour and Vocational Training Ith Samheng and

  • Cambodia detects new Covid cases after 52 days: PM

    After 52 days of zero new Covid-19 cases, Cambodia has now detected new infections, according to Prime Minister Hun Sen. In his special audio address to the nation late on June 28, Hun Sen said the new cases were detected on people who had undergone PCR tests

  • Cotton club growing in Battambang

    The global market for “vegan leather” – materials that act as alternatives to traditional leather that can be synthesised from cork, apple peels, cactus, recycled plastic, grape pomace and pineapple leaves, among other things, and supposedly require no chemicals or water to produce – is expected to