The Ministry of Environment, in collaboration with Kep Provincial Administration and Vital Premium Water, is planting 3,000 mangrove trees to mark the July 26 International Day for the Conservation of Mangrove Ecosystem in Thmey Village Fishing Community in Prey Thom district.

Ministry secretary of state and spokesman Neth Pheaktra said on July 25 that the planting of mangroves trees would protect ecosystems and increase marine biodiversity. They also helped to prevent climate change and adverse weather conditions.

“We are planting alongside the Kep community to spread the message that we must all take care of and cultivate the mangrove forests of Cambodia,” he said.

Provincial environment department director Im Panharith said the decision to use the Thmey Village Fishing Community as the location for planting mangrove trees was made because it has favourable terrain. The land is muddy, which is perfect for the trees to flourish. Environmental officials have already planted 5,000 trees there, with good results.

“Mangrove forests require specific conditions. Not only do they need salt water, but also plenty of rainwater so there is fresh water flowing in. If the area has a stream, it is even more suitable for saplings,” he said.

He added that as an environmental official, he is very active in conserving the forests. His staff have worked with the Forestry Administration to protect the mangroves and plant more trees. About 5,000 trees were already planted at this location, ahead of the July 26 planned activities.

Panharith said that despite continuous planting operations, there is more than 20ha which required regeneration. If any concerned citizens want to help to re-propagate the area, his officials are ready and waiting to cooperate to help at any time.

“Some 3,000 plants will cover just 1ha of mangrove, so we will need to carry out many more planting activities to safeguard the land,” he said.

He added that environmental officials regularly inspect the existing mangrove forests in the community to prevent deforestation. Even the birds and other biodiversity in the area are protected by his officials, he added.

“There are no large-scale encroachments taking place here, but nonetheless, a small amount of mangrove trees are cut down by residents. People use them to build animal enclosures or for other household tasks,” he said.