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China provides $5.5M for timber and sapling centre

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Zhao Shucong (left) and Veng Sakhon on Monday. Photo supplied

China provides $5.5M for timber and sapling centre

China has provided a $5.5 million grant to the Institute of Forest and Wildlife Research and Development for a centre to grow 100 species of timber and plant saplings.

An official said the centre aims to preserve luxurious timber such as kranhoung (Dalbergia cochinchinensis) which has been illegally logged to near-extinction in many areas.

Sokh Heng, the director of the institute, which is under the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, told The Post on Tuesday that the centre would be the first of its kind and will be contained in a two-storey building equipped with various technologies.

The building is slated to begin construction in January next year on the institute’s compound along Phnom Penh’s Hanoi Street. The saplings are set to be grown in 2021 in installments until 2028, he said.

The saplings include luxurious timber, first, second and third grade wood and traditional herbal plants, flowers and bamboo trees, and will be bred for one year at the centre before being transferred to a 100ha tree sampling preservation plantation in Siem Reap province’s Sotr Nikum district for two or three more years, said Heng.

“We’re considering the future. We may be able to lose crucial saplings and seeds such as kranhoung. In natural forests, they are nearly extinct and good sources for saplings have been completely felled.

“We can preserve good kranhoung and find good parent trees. Hence, we have initiated this scheme to grow them at a [designated] place,” said Heng.

The announcement of the grant came on Monday during a discussion about forestry at the ministry between Minister of Agriculture,

Forestry and Fisheries Veng Sakhon and Zhao Shucong, board chair of the Asia-Pacific Network for Sustainable Forest Management and Rehabilitation (APFNet), which is based in Beijing, China.

In a Facebook post, the ministry said Sakhon thanked the Chinese government for its continued support of the Kingdom’s forestry development projects.

Having collaborated with the ministry since 2008, APFNet has contributed some $7.8 million to four forestry restoration and management projects, the post added.

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