Concerns have been raised over the clearing of mangrove forests along Bak Khlong beach in Koh Kong province’s Mondul Seima district as land prices in the area increase.
Bak Khlong commune chief Eav Kosorl told The Post on Monday that land titles existed for areas along the beach and mangrove forests, so people had a right to sell or clear the land if they own it.
“Land in the area was given to people by former commune chiefs. So if they have the titles, people in those areas can clear or sell it,” he said.
Kosorl said that at Bak Khlong only the forest at the Boeung Krachang tourist site is protected.
“In the case of clearing the mangrove forests, it has been people’s land for a long time, before I became commune chief,” he said.
Taing Sony, a resident of Bak Khlong commune, said Koh Kong province is in the process of being developed. Investors have started to show interest in the land there, while the flow of Chinese companies and Chinese nationals seeking places to rent in which to reside or do business has increased.
“This has attracted real estate agents to work to increase the price of land based on the economic development in this area. Property agencies don’t care much about the law or the preservation of natural resources,” he said.
He said mangrove areas have been cleared to create land to sell at a profit. “There must be preservation as well as development. [We can’t] allow all the mangrove forests to entirely disappear,” he said.