Think Biotech (Cambodia)Co Ltd plans to plant more than 30 million trees on about 30,000ha by the end of 2023 after being granted the right to do so by the government to meet the rising demand for timber in the Kingdom.
Think Biotech executive director Lu Chu Chang who is also president of the Wood Processing Industry Association, said more than 30 million trees will be planted on 34,007ha at the Boeung Char Rehabilitation and Dissemination Stations in Kratie and Stung Treng provinces.
He said once fully grown, the trees will be processed into timber products to meet the needs in the country as construction continues to grow, especially in Preah Sihanouk province and Phnom Penh.
“Think Biotech (Cambodia) Co Ltd has bulldozed 5,000ha. It plans to plant nearly seven million luxury tree saplings in May 2020 on the bulldozed land.
“In 2021 and 2022, the company plans to bulldoze 10,000ha per year and plant a total of 25 million tree saplings,” he said in a report last week.
Lu noted that the tree planting would create jobs for about 100,000 people and that the trees will be fully-grown within five years.
Ministry of Environment spokesman Neth Pheaktra said the project will help reduce forestry crimes and create jobs, improving the livelihoods of villagers living in the area.
“Establishing tree plantations is an effective strategy to stop natural resource crimes and strengthen the conservation of natural resources. Cambodia is rich in natural resources and biodiversity. The forest covers some 50 per cent of the country – the highest rate in Asia,” he said.
Environmental activist Heng Sros accused the company of felling trees in protected areas and warned that the plantation project could be used as a cover to continue illegal logging.
“Planting trees to serve as raw materials to be processed into products is a pretext of the company. The trees cannot be harvested for many years, so the company may enter to log the Prey Lang Forest area,” he said.