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Conservation duties swap ministries

Conservation duties swap ministries

A sub-decree signed by the prime minister was issued on Thursday officially transferring responsibility for 13 protected forest areas, along with five other forests in the process of being listed as protected, from the Ministry of Agriculture, which oversees the Forestry Administration, to the Ministry of Environment.

The edict is part of an ongoing process designed to streamline management of Cambodia’s dwindling forests.

However, Agriculture Ministry officials said they had little knowledge of the project.

“I don’t know [about that],” said the Forestry Administration’s director of forest management and community forests, Meas Makara, when contacted last night, echoing a similar response from ministry spokesman Eng Sophalleth.

Multiple Environment Ministry officials were not reachable.

Among the five forests in the process of becoming listed as protected is Prey Lang, which straddles several provinces in the northeast of the country, where forest protection activists have found themselves under attack from illegal loggers in recent months.

In late March, forest activist Phon Sopheak was attacked with an axe while on a five-day patrol of the forest.

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