Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Forest activists decry illegal logging

Forest activists decry illegal logging

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Logs are found in Prey Lang recently. Supplied

Forest activists decry illegal logging

Prey Lang forest activists in Kampong Thom province on Wednesday claimed that illegal logging is continuing unabated, no thanks to local authorities and powerful individuals whom they allege are aiding the perpetrators.

While acknowledging that forest clearing still exists in the area, forestry officials claimed the illegal activities are on a small scale.

The Prey Lang forest is home to at least 27 endangered animals and 20 endangered plant species. But it suffers badly from illegal logging.

Prey Lang activist Sok Plaok said his team including rangers and military police officers found evidence of clearing while patrolling the forest on October 13-15.

“We know that illegal logging is increasing. We found tractors and other equipment. There were hundreds of tractors."

“When we slept near the road, we saw a long line of trucks smuggling timber. They took away the wood and left the stumps. What remains now are shreds of timber that have no value,” he said.

Plaok claimed the authorities have turned a blind eye as the illicit activities took place not far from the forestry administration office.

Provincial Forestry Administration head Bun Sothy said he had not received any report about forest clearing in Prey Lang. He said the area is under the jurisdiction of the provincial environment department.

“I work for the forestry administration, which oversees different areas,” he said, referring reporters to provincial environment department officials.

Department director Tob Kakada could not be reached for comment on Wednesday.

Environment Ministry spokesperson Neth Pheaktra said officials met with Prey Lang activists on October 3 to receive their report on illegal logging in the forest.

“We acknowledge that forest crimes still exist, but they were within limits. It’s not on a massive scale but involves only minor offenders."

“We’ll take more action to reduce the offence. The community’s participation will help strengthen [the laws.] We encourage them to do so,” he said.

Prey Lang spans four provinces including Preah Vihear, Kampong Thom, Kratie and Stung Treng. It was designated a protected wildlife sanctuary by sub-decree signed by Prime Minister Hun Sen in March 2016.

MOST VIEWED

  • Chinese ‘prank’ threat video is no joke for Cambodia

    ‘Preah Sihanouk province, in the next three years, whether safe or chaotic, will be under my control,” declared a Chinese man in a white T-shirt, as another 19 men stood behind him shirtless, in a video that went viral on social media last month. After the

  • Woman detained for murder of hairdresser over unpaid $1K debt

    A woman has been held in connection with the murder of a 40-year-old widow. The victim’s daughter claims the motive was the suspect’s unpaid four million riel ($1,000) debt to her mother. The 17-year-old girl, Pich Sievmey, said her mother, Koem Yaneang, a hairdresser

  • ABA reports $71.8M net profit

    ABA Bank, a member of the National Bank of Canada group, recorded a net profit of $71.8 million last year, up 55 per cent from $46.2 million in 2017, its annual report released on Monday stated. A rise in the bank’s loan portfolio and the expansion of stated

  • ‘Life goes on’ if Cambodia loses Everything But Arms

    Cambodia's business sector is exploring ways to mitigate any fallout from a possible loss of access to the EU’s Everything But Arms (EBA) agreement as talks continue before the 28-member bloc makes a final decision. The EU monitoring process is set to conclude in