Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Cambodia loses 50,000ha of forest cover, watchdog claims

Cambodia loses 50,000ha of forest cover, watchdog claims

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Freshly felled trees found in Prey Lang last year. Global Initiative

Cambodia loses 50,000ha of forest cover, watchdog claims

Cambodia had lost more than 50,000ha of forest cover in Prey Lang and Preah Rokar-Chheb wildlife sanctuaries over an 18-year period, according to an environmental watchdog.

In its issued 40-page report, Rings of illegality in Prey Lang Wildlife Sanctuary, released on March 31, the Global Against Transnational Organised Crime claimed that Cambodia’s so-called protected areas have been severely damaged, despite supposedly being safeguarded under the law.

Cambodia, the report said, has suffered some of the highest rates of deforestation than any other country since the 1970s. The rate has also been significantly increasing in recent decades.

The report also cited another report, The Global Forest Watch, which has estimated that between 2001 and 2018, the country had lost 557,000ha of forest cover in protected areas, representing 11.7 per cent lose of coverage.

Forest cover loss was discovered by a study and investigation on deforestation in Prey Lang and Prey Preah Roka wildlife sanctuaries in the country’s north. They also researched some companies including Think Biotech Co, Ltd and Angkor Plywood; Sam Oeun Sovann Co, Ltd; PNT Co, Ltd; and Thy Nga Development Co, Ltd.

“Some protected areas have been almost completely deforested. The areas are mostly outside the royal decree areas. However, this loss is detrimental to the conservation of biodiversity, economy and society for the forest-dependent indigenous peoples,” the report stated.

Ministry of Environment spokesman Neth Pheaktra said on April 1 that the ministry had no need to comment on a third-party report.

But he said: “The environment ministry continues to strengthen law enforcement and implement action plans in collaboration with partner organisations and protected area communities to protect and conserve Cambodia’s natural resources, forests and wildlife.”

Pheaktra said in February that some NGOs had organised malicious campaigns and issued subversive statements against the government regarding natural resource management and conservation.

“It is an insult on park ranger’s sacrifice and communities in protected areas who are protecting natural resources,” Neth Pheaktra said, acknowledging that natural resource crimes still happen, even in Prey Lang Wildlife Sanctuary, but on a small scale.

Preah Vihear provincial Department of Environment director Song Chan Socheat also declined to comment.

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