Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Felling illegal: villagers

Felling illegal: villagers

Felling illegal: villagers

A private agro-industrial company has come under fire from villagers in Ratanakkiri province who say it has illegally felled resin-producing trees that are their main source of income.

Villagers from Lumphat district inspect a resin-producing tree that was felled in Ratanakkiri province earlier this year.
Villagers from Lumphat district inspect a resin-producing tree that was felled in Ratanakkiri province earlier this year. PHOTO SUPPLIED

More than 1,000 trees in the Lumphat Wildlife Sanctuary in Ratanakkiri’s Lumphat district are under threat, the villagers said, after allegedly catching loggers working for Daun Penh Agrico Co Ltd felling several trees yesterday.

Dam Lean, 55, a local ethnic Lao villager, said a citizen patrol in the forest yesterday disturbed 19 men felling the trees.

“The men claimed they were cutting resin trees for a company and the Lumphat Wildlife Sanctuary allowed them to log there,” he said.

Sovann Bunthai, a provincial representative of rights group Adhoc who visited the sanctuary yesterday, said the company responsible was likely to be Daun Penh Agrico, which was granted an 8,825-hectare economic land concession (ELC) in the sanctuary in 2011.

Despite the company being granted the ELC, Forestry Law prohibits the felling of resin trees due to their importance to forest communities.

“The granting of [this] land concession is seriously affecting the Lao ethnic minority,” Bunthai said.

Thun Sarath, a spokesman for the Forestry Administration, said the resin trees should be protected by law.

“It is not allowed to cut the resin trees, even though it is inside the economic land concession. Such a tree is big, so that it produces resin for our people,” he said. “So why do we cut it and just plant rubber?”

Lean said that the villagers had been drawing resin from the trees for two decades but that the loggers had managed to pay one villager $200 to let them fell five resin trees.

“Our lives are based on the trees. We are concerned how we will survive when the trees are lost,” he said.

Kong Srun, Lumphat district governor, declined to comment on the legality of Daun Penh Agrico felling resin trees in its ELC, adding that in general it was against the law. “I dare not comment on that,” he said.

People answering two numbers the Post believe to belong to Daun Penh Agrico said it was a “wrong number”.

MOST VIEWED

  • Prince Norodom Ranariddh passes away at 77

    Prince Norodom Ranariddh, the second son of the late King Father Norodom Sihanouk and former First Prime Minister of Cambodia, has passed away in France at the age of 77. “Samdech Krom Preah Norodom Ranariddh has passed away this morning in France just after 9am Paris-time,”

  • General’s gun smuggling ring busted

    The Military Police sent six military officers to court on November 22 to face prosecution for possession of 105 illegal rifles and arms smuggling, while investigators say they are still hunting down additional accomplices. Sao Sokha, deputy commander of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces and commander of

  • Rise in planned flights lifts travel hopes

    Six airlines have applied to resume flights in December, while two others have put in for additional flights and routes, according to State Secretariat of Civil Aviation (SSCA) head Mao Havannall on November 29. These account for 43 new weekly domestic and international flights in December, up 16

  • Cambodia, Thailand to discuss border reopening

    Cambodian authorities from provinces along the Cambodia-Thailand border will meet with Thai counterparts to discuss reopening border checkpoints to facilitate travel, transfer of products and cross-border trade between the two countries. Banteay Meanchey provincial deputy governor Ly Sary said on November 22 that the provincial administration

  • More Cambodians studying in US

    The number of Cambodian students studying at US colleges and universities in 2020-21 increased by 14.3 per cent over the previous year despite the Covid-19 pandemic, according to a recent US government report. The 2021 Open Doors report on International Educational Exchange showed that 848 Cambodian students studied

  • Hun Sen: Manet to be candidate for prime minister

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has reaffirmed that his oldest son Hun Manet will be his successor as Prime Minister if he is elected. Speaking during the inauguration of a new sewage treatment facility in Preah Sihanouk province on December 2, Hun Sen said Manet will be