Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Ethnic group claims forest being illegally cut

Ethnic group claims forest being illegally cut

Ethnic group claims forest being illegally cut

Villagers from the Tumpuon ethnic minority group in Keng San community forest are accusing the local authority and some community members of colluding with timber traders to illegally fell large trees and clear dozens of hectares of forest land in their community.

The forest borders the Lumphat Wildlife Sanctuary in Ratanakiri province’s Lumphat district.

Representatives of the Kham Khin and Tumpuon ethnic minority groups told The Post on Thursday that most of the loggers came from different provinces. They have chainsaws and set up camps in the community forest in O’Krieng area for the past week.

The loggers sell timber to traders who will distribute them to various depots in the northeast provinces before exporting them to Vietnam.

“Recently, they also cleared 30 hectares of community forest with total disregard for the laws,” said Nin, a representative of the minority groups who gave only his first name.

“The loggers and traders are backed by local authorities who collude and permit them to commit forest crimes for personal gains,” he said.

Keng San villager Srout Sambok said the clearing also spread to natural streams and the last remaining area where the Tumpuon ethnic community villagers collect forestry products.

“Our community forest land, which is about 1,000 hectares and the only remaining forest, stretches from O’Krieng to Nam Lear Lake. But it is being cleared. An additional 30 hectares have been cleared recently by outside traders who colluded with local authorities.

“It would not take long before our community forest falls into the hands of traders because of negligence and collusion. We’ve lost trust in Nhok Kuot, the Keng San village chief and head of the Tumpuon ethnic community who often warned us against protesting,” Sambok said.

Kuot admitted Thursday that there are outside villagers logging trees in the protected forest area, but he denied the villagers’ allegations that the authorities’ colluded with the traders.

“It’s the villagers who secretly fell the trees every day to support their families,” Kuot claimed.

Adhoc’s senior land and natural resources officer Pen Bonna said the Keng San community forest is part of the Lumphat Wildlife Sanctuary that is located on 4,000 hectares.

MOST VIEWED

  • Research key to Kanitha’s rep for expertise

    Sok Kanitha is used to weighing in on controversial issues using a confident approach that signals expertise and authority, and a recent video she made was no exception. Her “Episode 342: The History of NATO” video went live on January 16, 2023 and immediately shot to 30,000 likes and 3,500

  • 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

  • Knockout! Kun Khmer replaces ‘Muay’ for Phnom Penh Games

    Cambodia has decided to officially remove the word Muay from the programme of the 32nd Southeast Asian (SEA) Games 2023 in May. “Kun Khmer” will instead be used to represent the Southeast Asian sport of kickboxing, in accordance with the wishes of the Cambodian people. Vath

  • Artificial insemination takes herd from 7 to 700

    Some farms breed local cows or even import bulls from a broad for the purpose of breeding heavier livestock for meat production. One Tbong Khnum farmer has found a more efficient way. Hout Leang employs artificial insemination to fertilise local cows. Thanks to imported “straws”

  • New int’l airport nearly half complete as travel industry returns to life

    Construction of a new airport that is slated to serve the capital has passed the 43 per cent completion mark, raising prospects for a proper recovery in the civil aviation and tourism sectors as international travellers return to the Kingdom in increasingly large numbers. The figure

  • 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,