The Ministry of Environment – in cooperation with the Kampong Chhnang Provincial Administration – planted 24,000 mixed trees to rehabilitate the flooded forests of Zone 3 of the Tonle Sap Lake area. The April 25 planting took place in Thnal Chheuteal village of Kampong Leng district’s Phlov Touk commune.
The ministry said the planting was carried out in the presence of ministry secretary of state Sokhon Rithikun. Representatives of the provincial administration and the armed forces participated, along with local authorities and members of the public.
Provincial deputy governor Born Sophy said this was the second time that reforestation has been carried out in the 114sq km multipurpose area of Zone 3.
Rithikun stated that the government was mindful of preventing encroachment or the clearing of flooded forest land and had recaptured it from many offenders. The planting would inspire people to love the forest and would also contribute to the prevention of climate change, he added.
“The tree planting ceremony reflects the awakening of our entire community in the face of deforestation,” he said.
“The participation of the public also showed the spirit of ownership in taking responsibility for the management of natural resources and the destiny of the motherland for the next generation. It is good to go green and important to maintain fresh water sources,” he added.
The ministry said a January 14 replanting had begun the reforestation of 20ha – the equivalent of 8,000 trees.
Sam Chankea, a provincial coordinator for rights group ADHOC, supported the replanting of seedlings in the Tonle Sap Lake area. He said the saplings should be suitable to the area. Protection was also needed to ensure the resurgence of the flooded forests.
“If we take bamboo or other trees from outside to plant in the flooded forest, it’s possible it will grow, but it will not grow as well as seedlings which are native to the area. If we protect the forest, the forest will survive. It will soon grow back, but we must be more serious in protecting it,” he said.
In Battambang province, deputy governor Soeum Bunrith said on April 25 that after replanting trees, the provincial authorities have been taking care to ensure the land is not occupied so that the forests can grow back.
“If we protect the flooded forests for two years – and if there is no encroachment – it will grow back on its own. What we have planted so far is a symbol for protecting the border of Zone 3,” he said.
In Kampong Thom province, governor Nguon Ratana on April 25 met with members of the public and announced the start of systematic land registration for part of Zone 2. The government has granted the land to the people who live there and rely on it for their livelihoods.
The government will allocate land to 9,114 families in Stoung district’s Msa Krang commune, according to provincial administration.