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Ministry asks Japan to help map out forests

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Hansen/UMD/Google/USGS/NASA

Ministry asks Japan to help map out forests

The Ministry of Environment is asking Japan for help mapping Cambodia’s forests using satellite imagery, one week after it vehemently refuted a report of such imagery showing accelerating forest loss in the Kingdom.

Minister of Environment spokesman Sao Sopheap could not be reached yesterday and the ministry’s general director of natural resources, Chea Sam Ang, declined to comment.

However, Sam Ang told local media at a Tuesday event for REDD+, the United Nations’ forest loss and emissions reduction programme, that Japan will help pay for data from US satellites.

“The examination of forest cover with satellites will help Cambodia to obtain clear [forest] data,” Sam Ang told Apsara News Network.

Last week, researchers from the University of Maryland, using NASA satellite imagery, said that Cambodian forests were cleared 30 percent faster in 2016 than in 2015 despite a yearlong crackdown on illegal logging.

The Ministry of Environment strongly refuted the study, claiming that its own experts found less than 1 percent forest cover loss annually.

In an email yesterday, JICA officer Nishikawa Masashi declined to elaborate on where JICA would purchase the data from, how much it would cost or whether he found the University of Maryland data to be accurate.

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