The government on January 22 issued sub-decrees to establish two natural heritage sites in the eastern portion of Kampot province, in a bid to protect their ecosystems, the beauty of their natural landscapes and other natural values.
Released to the media on January 26, the sub-decrees designate 83.44ha across Dang Tong and Banteay Meas districts as “Phnom Totong-Phnom Touch Natural Heritage Area” and 25ha in Banteay Meas’ Touk Meas Khang Lech commune as “Phnom Preah Kuhear Luong”, or “Luong cave” for short.
The two edicts stress the significance of the “natural heritage site” designation, which serves to safeguard ecosystems for the benefit of current and future generations, as well as to restrict access to biodiversity and natural and cultural resources.
The two sites were given the recognition to promote the participation of local communities and the general public in the management, protection and conservation of biodiversity, natural resources and cultural heritage in the area.
The status will “protect the beauty, natural landscape and natural value of these areas to serve for entertainment, sightseeing, education, scientific research and belief purposes, provided that they do not pose a threat to the natural environment and local cultures”, said one of the sub-decrees.
The Ministry of Environment has the authority to organise and manage these two natural heritage sites in collaboration with relevant ministries, institutions, Kampot provincial administration, and the Armed Forces to ensure environmental protection, biodiversity conservation and the sustainable use of natural resources in accordance with the valid provisions of the law.
The two natural heritage sites are the first protected areas to be established this year, noted Ministry spokesman Neth Pheaktra, adding that the government designated nine such sites last year – all in Battambang and Banteay Meanchey provinces.
“Tallying up these two, our total number of natural protected areas comes in at 70, covering a total land area of more than seven million hectares,” he said.