Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Forestry crimes on the rise

Forestry crimes on the rise

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Forest rangers in Prey Lang in May. Rangers have logged 27,588 patrols for this year, up from 24,048 the previous year. Photo supplied

Forestry crimes on the rise

The Ministry of Environment on December 28 issued a report detailing crackdowns on illegal activities in protected natural areas and biodiversity conservation corridors.

According to the report, forest rangers responded to 8,917 cases of natural resource crimes over the past 12 months, an increase of 3,442 cases, or 63 per cent, over last year’s 5,475 reported incidents.

Rangers had logged 27,588 patrols for the year, up from 24,048 the previous year, but the number of cases sent to courts for prosecution had declined from 631 to 605.

Ministry spokesman Neth Pheaktra told The Post that, this year, rangers and officials had patrolled 68 protected natural areas covering 7.3 million hectares, representing a significant increase of patrol coverage.

“This highlights efforts by rangers and relevant partners to conserve our country’s natural resources, especially by removing snares from these protected sites to help save wild animals. We see that the number of snares removed has increased, and we have rescued many animals as well,” he said.

The report recorded 4,004 confiscated chainsaws, up from 3,494 last year, and 43,270 animal traps had been removed, up from 39,382.

Pheaktra added that during the patrols, rangers had also cooperated with communities in and around protected areas to stop violations by raising awareness and educating local residents.

“Given the degree to which we have cracked down, it means that we have helped stop many natural resource crimes like poaching and illegal land occupation,” he said.

Pheaktra described most cases as pertaining to unlawful encroachment on forests and harvesting of natural resources, particularly poaching timber and wild animals.

“Large-scale natural resource crimes no longer exist – there are only small-scale crimes. We must continue our efforts to eliminate these natural resource crimes in the future,” he said.

Chea Hean, director of the environmental watchdog ACNCIPO, observed that incidences of such crimes were increasing in Kampong Speu, Pursat, Koh Kong and Preah Sihanouk provinces where people were encroaching on state forest land and clearing it for private ownership.

“This type of crime has increased because law enforcement by national and sub-national level officials has not been effective. Some local officials have colluded with offenders so natural resource crimes like forest land encroachment and logging have continued to happen,” he said.

Forest conservation activist Kroeung Tola in Mondulkiri province said the prevalence of timber poaching activities was attributable to the economic damage imposed by responses to the Covid-19 pandemic.

“We see that the forest crimes have not decreased – rather, they are on the rise. These crimes are occurring now because traders have come to buy timber, and as people lack jobs and owe money to banks, they have resorted to illegal logging,” he said.

MOST VIEWED

  • Omicron patients can stay home: PM

    The Ministry of Health has issued a directive on the treatment of people who have tested positive for the highly transmissible Omicron coronavirus variant, following a suggestion from Prime Minister Hun Sen on the night of January 21. The directive permits home quarantine for those who

  • The effects of the USD interest rate hike on Cambodian economy

    Experts weigh in on the effect of a potential interest rate expansion by the US Federal Reserve on a highly dollarised Cambodia Anticipation of the US Federal Reserve’s interest rate hike in March is putting developing economies on edge, a recent blog post by

  • Cambodia’s first ever anime festival kicks off Jan 22 at capital’s F3 centre

    Phnom Penh's first ever Anime Festival will bring together fans, artists, shops and other local businesses with ties to the Japanese animation style for cosplay competitions, online games, pop-up shops and more on January 22, with Friends Futures Factory (F3) hosting. F3 is a project that

  • Demining rat ‘hero’ Magawa dead at 8

    A landmine-hunting rat that was awarded a gold medal for heroism for clearing ordnance from the Cambodian countryside has died, his charity said on January 11. Magawa, a giant African pouched rat originally from Tanzania, helped clear mines from about 225,000sqm of land – the equivalent of 42

  • Hun Sen gets 4th Covid shot, urges compatriots to follow

    Prime Minister Hun Sen and his wife Bun Rany on January 14 received their fourth dose of Covid-19 vaccine and called on compatriots to follow suit as the Omicron coronavirus variant continues to spread in the community. This marks the launch of Cambodia's fourth-dose vaccination campaign,

  • Fourth dose Covid booster drive jabs 43K in two days

    In the first two days of the fourth-dose Covid-19 vaccination campaign, more than 43,000 people volunteered to get the jabs, while over 4.6 million people have received a third shot. Health ministry spokeswoman Or Vandine said that fourth-dose vaccinations, which began on January 14 exclusively with the Pfizer