As part of the celebration of Arbour Day, the National Authority for Preah Vihear (NAPV), in collaboration with local residents, planted 500 tree saplings at the Koh Ker temple complex. This initiative was designed to greenify the area’s roads and rejuvenate forest ecosystems.

On July 9, the NAPV stated that this collective endeavour involved officials, forestry conservation agents, sanitation workers, tour guides and conservation security guards. Additionally, tourist and heritage police officers, village chiefs and local villagers also took part, planting a diverse array of 10 different tree species.

“We planted the tree saplings along the roads to enhance their aesthetic appeal and revive forestry ecosystems. This initiative also aimed to cultivate a sense of responsibility and love for the environment and forest conservation among the participants,” it said.

Arbour Day was first established through a royal decree issued on August 8, 1952, by the late King Father Norodom Sihanouk. This year marks the 71st anniversary of this ecologically significant day.

NAPV director-general Kong Puthika told The Post on July 9 that the body annually collaborates with relevant stakeholders, particularly local residents, to plant saplings in observance of this day. The NAPV also undertakes replanting efforts in conservation areas under its management.

“We have been undertaking these activities consistently. On July 7, we planted some tree saplings to commemorate the 15th anniversary of the Preah Vihear Temple’s inscription on the UNESCO World Heritage list, and on July 9, we did the same at the Koh Ker temple complex,” he added.

In the past 15 years, the NAPV has managed to restore and conserve more than 50ha of forest cover in degraded areas, planting more than 82,000 saplings of 26 species. Additionally, the NAPV has established 41 plant nurseries, hosting a total of nearly 100,000 seedlings.

The Koh Ker temple complex, in Srayong commune’s Srayong Chheung village of Preah Vihear province’s Kulen district, is approximately 49km from the provincial town and 72km from Siem Reap province. In June alone, the site welcomed over 3,300 tourists, as per a monthly report from the NAPV.