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Lake’s forest wetland area rehab project takes root on 63K hectares

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Kampong Chhnang authorities plant trees at the border of Zone 3 around Tonle Sap Lake in Kampong Leng district in April. FACEBOOK

Lake’s forest wetland area rehab project takes root on 63K hectares

A spokesman for the Fisheries Administration (FiA) said more than 63,000ha of flooded forests have been rehabilitated in the area around the Tonle Sap Lake this year with a high survival rate for the saplings. The land was reclaimed from farmers and traders who had illegally encroached on it.

FiA spokesman Ung Try told The Post on November 9 that that with proper care, the flooded forest saplings of species such as palm trees and bamboo that were planted at the border of Zone 3 around Tonle Sap Lake in the beginning of this year were doing well despite some damage from flooding.

“The flooded forest saplings, including palm trees and bamboo that we planted on the 63,000ha earlier this year have a high survival rate and have grown by about 60-70 per cent in size,” he said.

According to Try, more than 100,000 saplings were planted that were resilient and able to adapt to floods and droughts in Zone 3, which is an area around the perimeter of the lake protected and conserved by sub-decree.

In addition to these saplings, more than 380,000 palm seeds, 364,000 palm saplings and more than 150,000 bamboo trees were planted on the border of Zone 3 as a fence to prevent individuals or traders from invading again in the future.

He said the FiA would continue to cooperate with relevant institutions, such as local authorities and communities in maintaining and replacing any dead saplings.

Chuong Sophea, director of the FiA’s Battambang provincial cantonment, told The Post that the estimated survival rate of those saplings was almost 100 per cent because they were big enough to adapt to the seasonal floods. But most of palm seedlings have not grown much yet, because the place where most of the palm seedlings were buried had now been allocated to people for cultivation by the government.

“Almost all of the flooded forest saplings we planted are growing, except those on the land that Prime Minister [Hun Sen] had decided to allocate to people,” he said.

According to Sophea, the flooded forests can easily regrow and regenerate with enough protection and conservation from all stakeholders, especially the local communities.

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